MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) – The search for a missing Middlebury College student has been suspended because of bad weather, officials said Wednesday as a winter storm pounded Vermont with snow and freezing rain.

Nicholas Garza, 19, a freshman from Albuquerque, N.M., hasn’t been seen since Feb. 5, when he left a campus party.

Searchers braved bitter cold and foot-deep snow Tuesday in the hunt for some clues as to Garza’s whereabouts, using poles to poke into the snow and search dogs, to no avail.

On Wednesday, snowy conditions and the prospect of more snow prompted the decision to suspend the search, according to Middlebury police Chief Tom Hanley.

“It would’ve been pointless to be out walking in a snowstorm,” said Hanley.

“An exhaustive search of the Middlebury campus – involving the Middlebury Police Department, the Vermont State Police and Middlebury’s own Department of Public Safety and Facilities Services Office – has so far turned up no sign of Nick,” said college President Ronald Liebowitz, in an e-mail message sent to students and posted on the college’s Web site.

The search will resume Saturday and the investigation into his disappearance is continuing, he said.

AP-ES-02-13-08 1657EST

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