fb-pixel Skip to main content

Boston University grad student missing in NYC

Zac Camhi, a Boston University student, went missing last Sunday in New York City. His friends say he was wearing these clothes when he was last seen.Alicia Maloney

New York City police and a band of family and friends are searching for a Boston University graduate student who has bipolar disorder and went missing in the city Sept. 18, officials said.

Police and university officials confirmed that Zachery Camhi, a music student, has not been heard from in days.

“A student here was reported missing. ... Police have been following up on this for a week,” university spokesman Colin Riley said. “We’re very concerned and we’re hoping for a positive outcome”

Alicia Maloney, Camhi’s friend and former roommate at Boston University, said he was last seen leaving his hotel near midtown at 5 a.m. Sunday.


“He’s one of my best friends. We lived together for four years,” Maloney said. She graduated in 2011 and said Camhi graduated in 2013.

Camhi was traveling to New York with a friend to pick up his double bass, a very large instrument, from a friend’s house, Maloney said. He had participated in a musical competition in New York the weekend before and wasn’t able to bring the instrument back to Boston.

Maloney said Camhi has bipolar disorder and has gone missing before, but never for this long. Camhi’s father, Scott Camhi, confirmed he has had episodes in the past.

“His first episode was just before he got his bachelor’s degree. Since ‘13, it’s been on and off. He gets fidgety and says he needs to walk,” he said. Camhi believes that’s what Zac is doing now, but said he’s made it as far as a flight to Indianapolis — with no resources — in the past.

“He can take on a different personality — he’s gone by ‘Jack Camino’ in the past — and he speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese.”

His father said Camhi was an accomplished musician in his native Indianapolis, and loves the city of Boston.


“Zac was always a superstar here, a brilliant musician,” Camhi said. “He won the state concerto concert and made the judges cry. He’s just so smart and so funny.”

“We’re preparing to come up there. We feel helpless and hopeless.”

Maloney said a group of Camhi’s friends were working with police early in the week, filing missing person reports and trying to organize information. Maloney flew in from Houston to help.

The friends have been using social media — they set up a “Help Find Zac” page on Facebook — to try to gather more information about his potential whereabouts, Maloney said, and several people described a man similar to Camhi in Bryant Park this week.

“We started there yesterday and spent all day talking to people in the area, handing out fliers,” Maloney said. “The people we talked to described behavior that seems very similar to what Zac might be doing, someone in a very disoriented state. We’re hoping he’s still in midtown because that’s not far from where their hotel is.”

Anyone who sees Camhi is asked to call 911. To reach the friends who are searching for him, e-mail helpfindzac@gmail.com.

Dylan McGuinness can be reached at dylan.mcguinness@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DylMcGuinness.