When Matthew Kraft heard that Christopher Tully, his former high school technology teacher was missing, he did what his mentor taught him: he made a website.
Kraft, 28, who studied under Tully at Middle Bucks Institute of Technology in Warwick, Bucks County in the early 2000s, launched HelpFindTully.com about three days after his friend vanished.
Tully, 40, a father of three who taught at MBIT for 12 years, was last seen Tuesday jumping out of his parent’s car along the City Avenue bridge near Ridge Avenue and Lincoln Drive near East Falls.
Tully’s parents were taking him to get help for depression when he jumped out of the car. Police said Tully suffered from bipolar disorder and was off his medication.
The website, which has only been up for two days, has registered close to 10,000 pageviews.
“A couple of us were joking because Chris would have loved this stuff,” Kraft said. “This is the most successful launch we’ve ever had. This many hits in this short amount of time is incredible.”
On Facebook, Tully’s family encouraged friends to spread out flyers and expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support.
Tully’s brother-in-law, Kristofer Speak, wrote on the page: “Please keep my sister and his 3 boys in your prayers as they pray he is brought home safely!”
“The police had cadaver dogs out earlier and found no sign of Chris,” Speak added, “so we are staying positive that Chris still alive.”
Kraft said it was Tully’s influence that drove him to become a developer. He now serves as a senior web developer for an agency in New Jersey. Their relationship grew from college and the two worked on side projects together.
“He was my mentor, business partner, friend, teacher,” Kraft said.
But throughout their more than 10-year relationship, he said he never noticed Tully was battling mental illness.
“Really over the past six months is when we started to hear about it,” Kraft said. “I don’t know how long he’s had anything or anything along those lines whatsoever.”
“He always had an incredible work ethic, he was always, go, go, go,” Kraft said. “So that could have been the more manic side and maybe we just didn’t see the other side.”
Kraft said these actions are “a complete 180 from” the father, husband, teacher, and man he called his friend.
“The man lived for that stuff and for him to just run from that and completely abandon both of those and especially not check in; it’s so out of character for him,” said Kraft. “That’s what really tells us that he just wasn’t in a good frame of mind.”
Last year Tully was named an outstanding technical education teacher by the Pennsylvania Association for Career and Technical Education.
Tully, who lives on the 2600 block of South 16th Street in South Philadelphia, was a fixture on the popular ’80s dance show “Dance Party USA.”
Chris and his brother Eddie, who moonlights as a DJ, were both well-known for their appearances on the show that was filmed in the city.
Police said Tully’s credit cards and cell phone have not been used since he disappeared.
Kraft said the one question lingering over many heads — whether or not Tully would hurt himself — can’t be entertained for too long.
“In a depressive state that’s always a possibility,” Kraft said. “I think it’s something everyone has possibly thought of and put right in the back of their mind and just try not to think about it.”