For the family and friends of a missing Weston man who for nearly two weeks fought to tamp down their fears with optimism, Tuesday's grim news landed hard: Ryan Uhre is dead.
"We asked that Ryan come home, and we believe that he is home, home with God," Michael Uhre, the father of the 23-year-old legislative intern and former Florida State University student, said Tuesday outside the family home. "He is safe with God."
Ryan Uhre's body was found early Tuesday in an empty downtown Tallahassee building just yards from where he was last known to have been on Feb. 2, Super Bowl Sunday, according to police. He was reported missing five days later.
There was no evidence of foul play, and an autopsy will be conducted, according to Tallahassee police spokesman Dave Northway. The death is being investigated as a homicide, as part of procedure.
"We would hate to miss something because we assume it was just an accident," Northway said.
Found with the body were Ryan Uhre's wallet, his ID, watch and cellphone, his father said. There was "a certain amount of cash in pocket," he said, and "I believe his phone was broken."
Michael Uhre said he did not know the cause of his son's death, but he expected to learn more from police on Wednesday.
"Ryan was in a very good place as far as we knew," said Uhre. "He wanted to come home and get his car, he had arranged for his own apartment, he had a job lined up he wanted to do."
Uhre said that police had "a person of interest that they just wanted to speak to, a passer-by. I don't know if he had anything to do with today's discovery."
Investigators began recanvassing the area early Tuesday after previously unseen surveillance camera video showed Uhre walking nearby, police said.
Investigators checked the building after noticing an open second-floor window that had been boarded shut, said Northway. Uhre's body was found near that window, Northway said.
The news of Uhre's death quickly drew television news trucks to the family home on a cul-de-sac in Weston's Country Isles.
Among the first to go inside the home Tuesday was the family pastor, the Rev. Edmond Prendergast, of St. Bonaventure Catholic Church.
"Everybody just liked Ryan," he said, calling him a popular kid who had everything going for him.
"Every parent has hopes and dreams for a child," he said. "It's the ultimate pain."
He said the family needed time to absorb the news.
"They're just coping as a family together spending time and dealing with the memory of someone who was very special, very beautiful to them," he said.
The search for Uhre galvanized his family and friends, who handed out fliers bearing his photo in Tallahassee and South Florida. They created a Facebook page, Find Ryan Uhre, that attracted more than 8,000 likes.
The focus of the hunt shifted to Broward County early last week after Michael Uhre said his son's cellphone seemed to have been briefly turned on in the Pompano Beach area on Feb. 6.
Uhre said he had also received a tip that Ryan was seen Feb. 7 at Rosie's Bar & Grill in Wilton Manors.