ELsewhere – Friends, family frustrated by search for missing U. Florida student

(U-WIRE) GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A week after a group of four friends returned to UF from a spring break trip, they have no more answers than when their search first began, after University of Florida exchange student Brendan Kieran Dobbins didn’t make it to an agreed-upon meeting place in the seaside town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica, on March 4.

After doing what they could to aid search efforts, the foursome returned to Gainesville, Fla. without fanfare on March 15 to avoid questions and publicity, Imogen Wells, classmate and fellow Australian exchange student, said.

“It’s very strange to be back,” Wells wrote in an e-mail. “When we first arrived in America, it was amazing how much the U.S. felt like home.”

However, Wells said the group members have changed their minds about finishing the semester at UF and are returning to Australia this week to be with their families and friends.

Last week, Costa Rican police officially extended their investigation beyond the limits of Tamarindo to a nationwide search and ruled out the possibility of drowning.

Dobbin’s father, Brian, traveled to Costa Rica from Australia on March 10 to help in the search for his son.