But cameras on either side of the bridge never caught him leaving the span that night.

Meanwhile, Brown called Regina and said, "Something's wrong."

She called Roswell. No answer.

"If you're in danger or you feel some kind of way, just get in the car and come home," she said in a message.

She knew that if he was upset, he would comfort himself by running. "Let's give him an hour to come back," she told his friends.

That period came and went. Regina called the police. They checked his house four times that night and each time, his belongings remained unmoved. He did not show up for his job interview in the morning.

Family and friends headed for Philadelphia. They spent the weekend posting fliers and meeting with authorities. Roswell's teammate, Louis Parisi, had kids searching Fairmount Park by flashlight.

The truth set in for Regina on Saturday night. By Sunday, she told everyone, "Look, I just want to find his body." No, no, no, they replied, but she knew her boy had most likely jumped off that bridge.

"Realistically," she said, "he was gone before we even knew there was anything wrong."

Monday morning, Aug. 22, police found Roswell's body on the New Jersey bank of the Delaware River.

Friends struggled to reconcile their hopeful search for Roswell with the reality that he'd never reappear, grinning, in their midst. Regina felt she had stepped into someone else's life, one of those sorrowful people you see on the "Today" show.

At Thanksgiving, instead of going to her mother's house for dinner, she took a train to Pittsburgh and checked into a Best Western, where she ate pizza and watched television. That random choice seemed more comforting than the familiar, she said.

Even now, she describes her thoughts about Roswell as "schizophrenic." A warm memory might bubble up in the morning and make her laugh. But come afternoon, she might hear a song or see something on television that catapults her to a dark place.

When Temple officials broached the possibility of Regina accepting his diploma, she was conflicted. She finally decided that Roswell's story needed a happy chapter.

"I've come a long way just to be able to do this," she said of the impending graduation celebration. "I've learned way more than I would have liked to, trust me."

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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