Warning: The story gives details of suicide that may be uncomfortable to some readers.
Former child star, Matthew Mindler, was reported missing from Millersville University a few days before his body was discovered five miles away from campus.
On August 24, the 19-year-old college student was last seen in his university dorm before CCTV footage captured him leaving the building at around 8 pm. Soon after he walked out of the dorm, he stopped answering calls from his family.
The next day, the first-year student did not turn up for class and had not returned to the dorm either. Soon, people on campus started growing concerned, and his family raised the alarm by getting the police involved, according to E!
A team of 40 people searched for Matthew and found his deceased body on Saturday, August 28, in a wooded area near the university campus. Eric Bieber with the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office revealed that Matthew died by suicide, as reported by NBC News.
“It is with a grieving heart that I let you know of the death of 19-year-old Matthew Mindler from Hellertown, Pennsylvania, a first-year student at Millersville University,” Millersville University wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Our thoughts of comfort and peace are with his friends and family during this difficult time.”
Following the incident, Matthew’s mother, Monica Mindler, told TMZ that her son struggled with severe anxiety for years.
As a child, Matthew found himself in the spotlight and starred next to Paul Rudd in the 2011 film, Our Idiot Brother. He also appeared in a 2009 episode of As the World Turns, which was his first onscreen role.
For years, the former child star has struggled with “crippling anxiety,” his mother said. However, in the days leading up to his death, Matthew sounded fine and was keeping busy with his new college life. He had only moved to Millersville University on August 19, and he spoke to his mother in a way that seemed like he was enjoying his first week in college.
Monica would constantly stay in touch with Matthew, and he told her that he was making friends and had plans to start a campus computer/programming club. Matthew also said that he was looking forward to a job interview with the IT department. All of this made Monica think that her son was doing fine in college.
In the very last conversation Monica had with her son over text, she told him that she was planning to pick him up by the end of the week so that he could spend the weekend relaxing at home. The next day, Matthew did not respond to any of her messages.
When she still hadn’t heard back from him the next day, Monica drove to the campus, and soon, law enforcement officials began searching for him.
Within a few days, loved ones heard the devastating news of Matthew’s deceased body being found close to the campus. Officials did not disclose the cause of his death but ruled the manner as a suicide.
Monica said after his body was found, “We appreciate the support, concern, and outpouring of prayers from Millersville University, the students, and the community. My heart is crushed and my mind cannot yet fathom this reality.”
If you or someone you know shows signs of suicidal thoughts, please reach out to 1-800-273-8255 (NCPL) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.