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Family: Missing NJ College Student’s Purse, Cell Phone Found Near GWB

Paige Aiello (credit: Family handout via Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Paige Aiello (credit: Family handout via Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for a missing College of New Jersey student after her purse, identification and cell phone were found near the George Washington Bridge.

Paige Aiello was reported missing after a passer-by called her parents to say she found Aiello’s belongings on the south walkway of the bridge Tuesday evening, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said.

The college senior, who commutes to school from her home in Hillsborough, was last seen by her father Christopher Aiello around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

About two hours later, the prosecutor’s office said Aiello’s mother noticed her car had been taken without her permission.

“She wasn’t answering her phone,” Christopher Aiello told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “Came home and found out she had taken the car.”

Authorities said the car was found at a parking garage near a train station in a New Brunswick several hours later. However, the keys to the car were found with Aiello’s purse and other belongings near the George Washington Bridge.

NYPD Harbor units scanned the waters of the Hudson River, but did not find anything.

Christopher Aiello said he had been briefed by the Port Authority Police Thursday afternoon that no witnesses had reported seeing anyone jumping from the bridge.

“There’s live feeds on the bridge, but they do not record anything so that was a little troubling when we heard that today,” he told WCBS 880′s Wayne Cabot.

Aiello’s father said his daughter is a high achiever and is the captain of the school’s women’s tennis team.

“She has been all-conference and has been accepted into approximately nine law schools for next year,” he said. “It’s maybe just too much.”

“She had hit almost like a wall where she felt she was not maybe either worthy of all this or she just couldn’t handle it. So the message that at least I’ve been saying all day is not only do we have to be watching our children that are not doing well and getting in trouble but we have to see and watch the kids that are the over-achievers. They have a self-imposed stress,” Aiello told Cabot. “She did express stress.”

Thursday is Aiello’s 22nd birthday.

“That is the other thing. Is that a meaningful date from a standpoint in her mind? I don’t know. She’s been gone since Tuesday, two days prior to her birthday,” Aiello told Cabot.

Her father said he just wants her to come home.

“I feel helpless at this point,” he said. “We miss her incredibly. We need to get her back. We need to be able to see her again.”

An alert was sent out to students at the college, but investigators said so far, there are no signs of foul play, CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reported.

The Hillsborough Police Department, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the NYPD, Port Authority police and NJ TRANSIT police are all assisting in the investigation.

The college said it was told Wednesday that Aiello was missing.

Anyone with information about Paige Aiello’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Hillsborough Township Police Department at 908-369-4323, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office at 908-575-3300 or the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS(8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net.