Last year on Mother’s Day, Nayla Kidd, a Columbia University student, made a video so sweet it made her mother cry.
This Mother’s Day, La Creis Kidd didn’t hear from her only daughter.
She has been trying to get in touch with her since late April, said Alesha Wood, a close friend of the family, but since it was the end of the semester she thought her daughter must be busy getting ready for finals.
Nayla Kidd, a computer engineering major who volunteered as a class representative in the School of Engineering Student Council, was last seen at a hall on the New York City campus on May 5.
On Friday, Columbia’s Department of Public Safety released a flier asking people to watch for the 19-year-old sophomore, who has not been in touch with friends or family for days.
Columbia University issued a statement: “Our community is deeply concerned whenever a student is missing. The University is in contact with Nayla Kidd’s family and is cooperating with the New York Police Department. We are working together to locate Nayla and urge anyone with any information that would be helpful to contact Columbia Public Safety at 212-854-5555or the NYPD 26th Precinct Detective Squad at 212-678-1351.”
“It’s really, really hard,” Wood said.
When she didn’t show up for finals, they knew something was wrong. The two of them are very serious about academics — the mother has a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in toxicology from MIT — so friends and family knew Nayla Kidd wouldn’t miss an exam.
“Nayla had published scientific research,” Wood said. “Her grades are very important to her — to have her not show up to her finals is very troubling. That is not like Nayla — she loves to go to school.”
And when Mother’s Day came and went without a message for La Creis Kidd, an associate professor at the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine, everyone really became alarmed, Wood said. “Her daughter is very gracious when it comes to gifts and communicating her love to her. They have a really close bond, almost like a sister-type relationship,” Wood said.
Nayla Kidd ran track and did horseback riding in high school, Wood said. She loves to dance — she taught a popular belly-dancing class at Columbia — and to DJ. She is a good listener, sympathetic, laid-back and friendly, Wood said. “She’s loving and sweet-spirited.”
Family and friends created a Facebook page to help find her.
Wood said they haven’t heard any indications of recent problems from friends or family. When La Creis Kidd first told her she hadn’t heard from her daughter in a while, she was crying, Wood said. “I was comforting her, letting her know, ‘She’ll call you, she’ll call you.’
“To see it has gotten to this point is very, very hard for all of us.”
This post has been updated to reflect police report that Kidd was last seen on May 5.