Family hoping for new clues in November 2023 disappearance of Rochester Institute of Technology student Matthew Grant

UPDATE: On December 12, 2023, three weeks after he disappeared, Matthew Grant was found safe. According to a Facebook post written by one of Matthew’s family members, his vehicle was “found by an officer” and “the officer called in the plate number and realized it belonged to a missing person and acted immediately.”

The post goes on to say that Matthew’s family is grateful to the community for all of their help during their time of crisis. 

In announcing that Matthew had been found, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Rochester, New York, thanked “all of the deputies and investigators who worked so tenaciously in coordinating with multiple agencies, following up leads, using technology, and working with the family to locate Matthew.”

No additional information has been released at this time.


“We’re at such a loss,” Mark Grant told Dateline. “We just absolutely don’t know.”

Mark’s son, Matthew Grant, has been missing for three weeks. The 22-year-old was last seen on November 20, 2023, near Syracuse, New York. 

Mark told Dateline that their family is from Onaway, Michigan. “It’s a very rural, small town,” Mark said. “A lot of forest industry there.”

“He loves the scenic views, the sunsets, the nature, the trails,” Mark said of his son. “We love to fish and hunt.”

Matthew is the oldest of Mark and his wife Nancy’s two children. “Both of my children are adopted,” Mark said. “We greatly appreciate the gifts — the gifts we were given by having those kids in our lifetime,” he said, tearfully.

The Grant family.
The Grant family.Mark Grant

Dateline spoke with Matthew’s younger sister, Maggie. “He just cares about every person’s feelings,” Maggie said of her brother. “I’ve always tried to be like, ‘Matthew, you need to care about yours sometimes.’ But he’s very empathetic in that part — just such a positive person. You don’t ever see him being negative.”

Mark told Dateline that Matthew is also very intelligent. “[He was] reading full chapter books in kindergarten. Finished calculus in the eighth grade,” he said. 

Matthew is also gifted at wrestling. “Matthew has wrestled since he was little. I actually was the high school coach there for my career there. And he traveled the country wrestling Olympic-style,” Mark told Dateline. “When he crossed paths with the coach from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) and they were talking academics and he was explaining his board scores… the coach said, ‘This would be a great place for you.’”

Matthew Grant
Matthew GrantThe Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

After graduating high school in 2020, Matthew decided to attend RIT. He is majoring in Engineering.

Maggie, who’s a senior in high school, told Dateline Matthew had been enjoying college life. She said their family went to visit him at school in October. “He was showing us around campus and everything,” she said. “He was seeming to really enjoy his classes.”

Maggie told Dateline that she and her brother are very close. “We usually FaceTime at least once a week,” she said. “And we’re both adopted, so we’ve always been close in that sense — and being able to relate to each other.”

Maggie and Matthew
Maggie and MatthewMark Grant

She said she last spoke to Matthew on November 16. “I’m actually doing a video production project right now, so we talked for about two hours and I was showing him the videos I was making,” she recalled. “I was talking to him about wrestling. It just seemed like — there was nothing off-putting about it. And I’m a pretty good… I can tell when something’s up.”

On November 19, the day before he disappeared, Matthew called his parents, concerned. Mark told Dateline that his son’s wallet had been stolen. “He was worried because we just bought his ticket to fly home for Christmas, and he would need his ID,” Mark said. “So, we said, ‘Well, we’ll get that handled. Don’t worry about that.’ So everything seemed fine.”

Mark said he spoke to his son again the next day. “I sent him a message — a screenshot of a picture of his credit report and said, ‘Does this make sense?’ And he said, ‘Yes. Those are my student loans. Everything else is good.’” Mark told Dateline that he wanted to make sure no one had taken out a line of credit in Matthew’s name. “And I said, ‘OK. We’ll talk later.’”

But later never came. That was the last time Mark heard from his son.

Mark said he got a concerning text the next day, from one of Matthew’s roommates. “I got a message from one of his roommates asking me if I heard from him,” Mark explained. “I replied right away and said, ‘No. Why?’ And he said, ‘He left last night to meet someone and didn’t come home.’”

Mark remembered being immediately alarmed. “I replied back and said, ‘Call right now and report him missing,’” he said. “Within an hour, I was in the truck on my way.”

Mark arrived in Rochester from Michigan and immediately began investigating on his own. He told Dateline that he wanted to find out who his son planned to meet the night before. “He was going to meet with a girl that he had gone on one or two dates with,” Mark said Matthew’s roommates told him. “But by the time that we got there, she had already been interviewed by the sheriff’s department, and she said that they had not made any plans to meet.”

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Matthew’s disappearance. Dateline spoke with Public Information Officer Brendan Hurley. He confirmed that Matthew left his home around 10 p.m. on November 20.

Matthew Grant on November 20, 2023.
Matthew Grant on November 20, 2023.Mark Grant

He said that Matthew was then captured on security footage just before midnight at a gas station. “From what we could see in the video, he walks around the gas station for a few minutes. He doesn’t seem to be in danger of any shape or form,” Officer Hurley said. “Then he leaves.” Mark Grant told Dateline the gas station was a Love’s Travel Stop in Seneca County.

Shortly after that, Matthew’s vehicle, a 2014 gray Jeep Cherokee, could be tracked to exit 36 by I-81 off of 1-90. His EZ pass was last recorded taking the Watertown-Binghamton exit on the New York State Thruway near Syracuse. “That’s the last we have of him,” Hurley said.

“We had investigators go out and search up and down the thruway looking at local businesses,” the officer continued. “We’re working with law enforcement partners in the area around Syracuse and the Adirondacks.” Hurley told Dateline that Matthew had recently Googled search trails near the Adirondacks. “Maybe he was headed that way, but we don’t have anything,” he said. “There’s no license plate hits. There’s no sightings of his vehicle anywhere out there. So we’re searching.”

Matthew's dark charcoal gray Jeep Cherokee with Michigan license plate ESR8141.
Matthew’s dark charcoal gray Jeep Cherokee with Michigan license plate ESR8141.The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Hurley told Dateline that foul play has not been ruled out in Matthew’s disappearance. “I always tell people that law enforcement can’t rule anything out until we prove it’s not true,” he said. “So anything that can help us — and any tips — is fantastic.”

Mark Grant told Dateline he isn’t sure why his son would be near Syracuse — a little over an hour from his off-campus house in Henrietta. “We have no idea. We asked his roommates, they have no idea why,” he said.

When Dateline spoke to Mark, he was in Syracuse — trying to track down his son. “I just can’t imagine if he’s here — where he’s staying,” he said. “I keep going back to that, but I just don’t understand.”

Matthew left his phone at his house. Mark said it’s made tracking him down even more difficult. “It appears as though he unintentionally left his phone in his room… but it could also be intentional. We don’t really know,” he said.

Mark told Dateline he doesn’t know his son to suffer from any mental health issues. “He was pretty sound, pretty stable, pretty focused forward. He certainly learned about both victories and defeats through his course of wrestling and his, just, deeper understanding of how things worked,” Mark said. “That failure is a part of life. Don’t worry about it. Learn from it, move on. And he was always very good at that.”

Matthew and his mother, Nancy.
Matthew and his mother, Nancy. Mark Grant

Maggie told Dateline that her brother had recently broken up with his girlfriend but seemed to be coping fine. “I’m pretty good at knowing if I need to talk to him about something and make sure he’s doing OK, because mental health is huge to us,” she said. “He would open up to me. But there was no signs that I could see that would be a red flag.”

Maggie told Dateline that she just wants her brother to come home. “Trying to imagine life without him is unbearable. It’s already been hard enough during this time, but thinking ahead into the future — like graduation, marriages,” she said. “I just can’t see myself doing it without my brother.”

The Grants have been comforted by the community in their hometown of Onaway, Michigan. “The outpour of love and support and meals that have been brought to my mom and I,” Maggie said. “I knew this community was tight… but I guess it takes something like this for you to realize there’s a lot of people that actually care for you.”

Mark told Dateline that he has a message for his son: “Just borrow a phone, go to a police station, call — wherever you are, I’ll be there. If you just want to come back to go home to Michigan, it’s OK. Nothing else matters. Not one thing. It’s just time to come home,” he said, tearfully.

Matthew Grant
Matthew GrantMark Grant

Matthew’s loved ones run the “Find Matthew Grant” Facebook page — dedicated to getting answers in his disappearance.

Matthew is 5’9”, 160 lbs., with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen wearing a green jacket and blue jeans and driving a 2014 dark charcoal gray Jeep Cherokee with Michigan license plate ESR8141.

Anyone with information about Matthew’s disappearance is asked to call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at (585) 753-4178.