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NYPD Tracks MetroCard Purchase Of Missing Virginia College Student

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Cops may have a new lead in the case of a 22-year-old Virginia college student who went missing in Manhattan last month.

Police have tracked Ian Burnet's purchase of a MetroCard to the 145th Street station on the northbound 1 line on Dec. 30, the day he disappeared, according to published reports.

Burnet was staying with friends at a Riverside Drive apartment building. He left around 4 p.m. and hasn't been seen since. His friends in New York say he left all of his personal items including his cell phone inside the apartment.

A website, a Facebook page and a Reddit page have been set up to aid in the search. Burnet's older brother Jamie posted a plea on Reddit asking for help from the public last week.

According to his post, Burnet's last transactions were on Dec. 30 when he purchased the MetroCard and again at a Burger King. He says while Burnet did leave most of his personal belongings behind, the 22-year-old did take his ID and a jacket.

The Reddit page has generated more than 400 comments about the case, offering suggestions and sympathy as well as discussions between Jamie and visitors.

There are also reports that Burnet may have attempted suicide in the past. Jamie seemed to address that in a response to a question posted on Reddit that asked "have you ever thought he DOESN'T want to be found?"

"Yes. There's a very real possibility that he took his own life, and I'm trying not to think about it. He has a history of depression, and there have been scares before. But he didn't leave any last messages behind, which would be extremely uncharacteristic... I'm hoping that's not the case," Jamie wrote. "As for the possibility that he's alive and doesn't want to be found... maybe. But if he's out there alone, with no money, not much street sense, and only one light jacket, then he's in danger no matter what his intention was."

He goes on to say "I'm still going to look for him until I find him, and when I find him I'll hug him and then clobber him for making me cry."

More than 2,000 members have joined the Find Ian Burnet Facebook page. Burnet's parents are also reportedly headed to New York City to help in the search.

If you have any information on where Burnet might be, call police at 212-690-8842.

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