Police are searching for a Skippack college student who they say vanished in the early-morning hours Friday while driving home from the University of Rhode Island.

Matthew Royer, 21, was last seen on a security camera at a gas station on Route 100 at 2:05 a.m. Friday. He was traveling home from school and had turned in his apartment keys to a real estate agent before leaving Rhode Island for the summer.

Royer's parents were out of town for the weekend, but they rushed home Friday morning when they learned their son had not shown up for work at the Skippack Golf Club.

Over the next day, they traced his steps: At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, he texted his mother, Janet, to say he was leaving his apartment in Narragansett.

Early Friday morning, a cell tower picked up his cellphone on Route 78 in the Lehigh Valley, "which would be his route home," Janet Royer said.

He bought gas and water around 2 a.m. at a Sunoco station on Route 100, Janet Royer said. A security camera showed him drinking water in the car, then heading south on Route 100.

"If anyone has a camera that shoots Route 29 or Route 100," we would hope they would check their film," Janet Royer said. "He drove over five and a half hours to get lost a half-hour from home."

Matthew Royer is a Perkiomen Valley High School graduate and a soccer and tennis player. He has a tight-knit group of friends, many of whom are out searching for him, his mother said.

"I can't imagine what happened to him; it's the worst nightmare," she said.

Matthew Royer was last seen wearing a beige Biltmore baseball cap, a dark-green golf shirt, khaki shorts, and flip flops. He stands 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs 160 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes.

He was driving a silver 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt with Pennsylvania license plate GZR-9059.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call state police at 610-584-1250.