Vigil held for missing Claiborne County student

HARROGATE (WATE) – People gathered Tuesday night at Lincoln Memorial University to keep hope alive and raise awareness for a missing student.

It’s been 12 days since Veronica Casciato, 48, was last seen. Claiborne County deputies say she disappeared on April 6. Her daughter said she was on her way to Asheville, North Carolina, for a concert, but never turned up. She was last seen around noon that day leaving LMU’s Harrogate campus.

Veronica Machen Casciato (Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office)

Friends and classmates all want the same thing: to bring Casciato home.

“It came out of nowhere. It’s not like her at all,” said Rachel Washam.

Previous story: Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office searches for missing woman

She’s one of 11 students in the social work program at LMU, a tight knit group missing their friend. The group planned the vigil, held in LMU’s campus chapel to raise awareness. They hope someone will hear them and help.

“To honor Veronica and pray for her safe return back to, not only our campus, but to her family and friends who have been looking for her for almost two weeks now,” said Dean of Students Mary Ann Searle.

Casciato’s classmates say she was kind, sometimes reserved, and responsible. When she didn’t come to class last Friday, they knew something was wrong.

“She probably would’ve been one of the first people there. We knew something was wrong immediately,” said friend Shelby Sandefur.

The group said prayers in the chapel, held a candlelight walk around the quad and said they just want to know she is safe.

“We’ve all just been so torn up about it because we just keep wondering if there was something we could’ve done,” said Washam.

A vigil is planned for 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A friend organizing the event says it’s not like Casciato to just disappear.

Deputies believe she may be driving a white 2010 Toyota Corolla with an LMU decal on the rear window and a Sevier County license plate with number 1D6-GR8.

Anyone with information is asked to call (423) 626-3385.

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