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Chait was a student at Columbia University in the New York City borough of Manhattan in 1972. He was employed at Mama Joy's Delicatessen on Broadway and 113th Street in Manhattan. Chait resided in Furnald Hall on the Columbia University campus. He was last seen on March 13, 1972 as he departed his dormitory room. Chait had spent the day there lying in bed and listening to music. He gave no indication to his roommate that he planned to be out for an extended period of time. He left all of his personal belongings behind, including his books, passport, and uncashed paychecks. Chait has never been heard from again.
Chait is described as a serious, complex, studious youth who may have been depressed at the time of his disappearance. Chait's mother stated her son was moody prior to his disappearance and believed he was letting everyone down; she believes he may have committed suicide, but hopes he is still alive. She stated he was a good student and very proud of getting accepted into Columbia, but became depressed and changed his major after he got a poor grade in an engineering course. His hobbies in 1972 included listening to classical music, relay running for the Columbia track team, and studying architecture and paintings; Chait was a member of the N.Y. Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. He regularly donated blood to the Red Cross and was also a member of the Sierra Club, an organization dedicated to protecting the environment.
For twenty-five years following his disappearance, Chait's mother received several phone calls which she believes were from him. She would answer the phone and the caller would refuse to speak. She assumed the caller was Chait and spoke into the phone, telling him she loved him and asking him to come home. After several seconds the caller would hang up. The calls stopped coming in 1997 and it has never been verified that the caller was Chait.
Chait left behind his parents and a younger brother and sister. His father died in 2002, but the rest of his family is alive and they still hope he will be found. His sister established a track scholarship at Columbia in Chait's name. His case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.