WOODBINE – State Police are asking the public’s help in finding a former Millville High School football star who disappeared last week after climbing into a van in Woodbine.

Khalil Wallace, 19, of Woodbine, was last seen on Sept. 20 when he stopped for chips at the Dollar Plus store on Washington Avenue.

A standout football player for the Rowan University Owls last year, Wallace asked his grandfather to take his bicycle home before willingly climbing into the vehicle, his family said. Friends and family have not heard from him since and are praying for his safe return.

“Due to his age, it seems out of the ordinary. It’s not normal for a 19-year-old,” State Police Det. Chris Eskridge said.

Wallace played wide-receiver for Rowan, where he was named Offensive Rookie of the Week in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Wallace was not attending Rowan this semester, his mother said. She did not want her name used out of fear that those possibly responsible for her son’s disappearance might do harm to her family, she said.

Family members posted fliers around Woodbine, where Wallace lived and had attended elementary school. They also posted them around Millville, where Wallace graduated from high school last year, and in Philadelphia, where he has friends and extended family.

Wallace had an 8-month-old daughter with his former girlfriend. He has never gone so much as a day without talking to his family, his mother said.

She said his cell phone turned up in Philadelphia in the hands of a stranger who allegedly found it there. Wallace did not have an ATM or credit cards, his family said.

He was awaiting trial on drug-distribution charges, police said. State Police arrested Wallace in Woodbine this month. He was released Sept. 2 from the Cape May County jail after posting $50,000 bail. But his family said Wallace was not running from the law.

His disappearance is a mystery, they said. His mother filed a missing-persons report on Sept. 22 after, with growing alarm, she realized none of his friends or family had seen or heard from him since that afternoon outside the Dollar Plus store.

“You can think of a million and one scenarios,” she said. “It’s all I can do to stay faithful and prayerful. We’re praying and waiting.”

Miriam Rivera, who works at Dollar Plus, said she remembers Wallace coming into the store that afternoon. She did not know Wallace very well but had seen him carrying his baby daughter in the store in the past. She said she asked him about the little girl that day. Nothing about his demeanor seemed out of place, she said.

“Woodbine is such a small community. I can’t believe something like this would happen here,” she said.

Police said they have fielded many calls about Wallace’s disappearance in the past week and they are following leads now.

Police conducted a ground and air search of woods around the borough on Tuesday. The family has created a Facebook page, “Missing!!! Khalil Wallace,” urging people to come forward with information.

Anyone with information can call the State Police at 609-861-5698.

Contact Michael Miller: