He had initially thought it was a good idea but should have never done it. He never thought about the terrible consequences that lay ahead because of the decision he made.
The authorities were searching for him for months after his disappearance. There was fear that he had been abducted or something worse had happened. He was finally found but what he had to say turned out to be far worse than they could have thought.
Wade Steffey was 19 years old, a freshman at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, when this all took place. He had an engineering talent and was granted a full academic scholarship for his studies. Everyone thought that he had a bright future ahead of him.
He had been taken up with frenzied excitement about his first year of university. He didn’t know then that something would happen to him after being there for just a few months.
A Fun Night
It was a Saturday night when Wade Steffey went to a frat party being held in one of the student dorms his friends lived in. The music was pumping, and everyone was having a fun time drinking.
Taken up with the fun and cheer, nobody would’ve thought the night wouldn’t have a happy ending. They would all be baffled and terrified.
The later it got, the more people started returning to their dorms. Wade had been the last to leave, according to the party’s hosts. Some university dorms were farther along than others, requiring students to call for taxis.
His room wasn’t too far, so Wade decided to walk back. His friends had said their goodbyes, satisfied that he was in a good enough condition to make the trip. Little did they know they would regret their judgment.
Caught On Camera
The investigation revealed that Wade wasn’t in the best condition as his friends had decided. He was seen staggering, obviously intoxicated, through CCTV footage, around the campus.
When it was found out what happened to him while on his walk, the footage became more sinister and a grim sight.
A Cold Night
Wade realized he’d left his jacket behind at his friends’ dorm. The CCTV images captured him braving cold November night wearing only a T-shirt.
His friends had later confirmed that Wade’s jacket had been left behind and found the next morning. If he had just left it for the next day, he would still be okay.
Wade made a life-changing decision without knowing – he turned back to retrieve his jacket from his friend’s dorms. On his way, he became hindered.
The university policy ensured that all dorms were closed after midnight to those who didn’t live there. Wade had left the keys in his jacket and had no way of retrieving them or getting into his own dorm. What was he supposed to do?
He could have easily called his friends, but unbeknownst to him, he had lost his phone while wandering the campus. It had been found days later.
He thought he’d forgotten his phone in his jacket, still stuck in his friends’ dorm. Wade realized he could not call for help and started walking around, searching for an open door.
A Different Door
It was a while before he found something. There was a building with a side door that seemed to be used irregularly. It seemed to lead to a lower building level like the basement.
The entryway was encased in metal bars, acting as a barrier to deter the university residents. Wade wasn’t deterred.
Made It Inside
Wade climbed over the metal bars and dropped in front of the door. He found that it was open after pushing it and walked in, thinking he’d be able to get his jacket and phone.
He had no idea what was waiting for him around the corner. He disappeared without a trace.
Gone Off The Face Of The Earth
For the next two months, Wade was nowhere to be found. His friends saw his jacket in the dorms the morning after his disappearance. They tried to call him, but no one picked up the phone. The following week, his phone was found in one alley on campus.
Soon enough, the police stepped in. The first thing they did was check the footage on the CCTV cameras set up around the campus. After pondering the footage from that night, they came to an unnerving conclusion.
The footage didn’t answer the question of what had become of Wade. He could be seen wandering about through the campus’ main pathways, but at some point, he got out of the cameras’ field of view to never be seen again.
Everyone feared the worst. It took two months for someone to find out that Wade’s fate had been even grimmer than even the most dreadful speculations.
On Monday morning, a maintenance worker was walking by the same door Wade had opened and crossed two months before. He reported hearing a “pinging” sound coming from the other side.
He knew what that room was: it was the dormitory’s electrical vault. It contained some huge transformers destined to convert the high voltage they receive from the main electrical power grid into lower voltage, usable electricity for the dorms. But he noticed something new about the room: some strange smell invaded its atmosphere.
Wade Was There
It didn’t take him long to find out where that smell came from: Wade Steffey’s body was lying between two transformers. Immediately, he called the authorities.
Just a few hours later, a team of detectives and a coroner had examined the body. They determined that Wade stepped in there and, in his stupor, thought he would get to the rooms by walking between the transformers. He made it for a few meters, but something terrible happened.
A Tragic Ending
“Wade apparently gained access and, in trying to find his way around the room, was accidentally electrocuted,” Deputy Coroner Martin Avolt said. “Because of the voltage involved, he would have lost his life instantly.”
But that door should have been closed. So even after Wade’s disappearance was solved, there was still one question in the air: who opened it and why?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.