Missing ESPN employee from NJ found in Idaho

August 5, 2010 3:49:31 AM PDT
A missing New Jersey man, who works at ESPN, was located in Idaho on Wednesday night.Chris Coles had been missing for about a week when police in Idaho pulled over his car on Wednesday.

"Chris was found by the Kootenai County Sheriff's office in Idaho. He's well and unhurt," his mother, Shirley Hailstock said. "He did nothing criminally wrong. He was pulled over for a routine traffic check and they found him in the system. The sheriff's word for how he was is jovial. He's heading to Seattle, and is on a trip throughout the country."

She had not heard from her son since July 27.

Coles is an IT Specialist at ESPN and was in town for business before going back to Bristol, Connecticut, later that morning. Chris and his mom hugged and kissed and that was it. He never made it to Connecticut or his job.

At first, she feared the worst.

"When I saw that the car was heading away from Connecticut, I thought maybe he was carjacked," said Hailstock, before he was found. "But then no one has used his credit card or made any calls on his phone."

So Shirley didn't know what to think. Maybe he needed some time to himself and just needed to get away? His friends say that's not like the Chris that they know.

"I'm scared. This just isn't like him," friend Jill Hayeck said.

Jill played volleyball at Rider University while Chris was a star on the diving team. He's 6'5", 170 pounds and the first call Jill would make if she needed help.

They spoke a few days before Chris went missing.

"He just said how is your summer going? I said, best is yet to come. He said me too. He was going on vacation... It was like normal," Hayeck said.

Police tracked Chris' EZ Pass and cell phone. His EZ Pass showed his car crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge and went through Baltimore late Tuesday morning, the 27th.

Police tracked his cell phone to towers near the Tennessee/Missouri border.

"I look at the bill on my account and you can see activity," his mom said. "I look at the activity and you can see someone is using that phone."

Someone was accessing the internet with the phone, but making no calls, authorities said.