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  1. #301
    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Mysterious California disappearance: Tracing the last steps of Mike VanZandt



    Mike VanZandt, 36, vanished March 5, 2016. Two years later, his family is still searching for answers. No one knows what happened to the father of three and Air Force veteran. (Courtesy Photo)By MICHAEL HIXON | mhixon@scng.com | The Beach Reporter
    PUBLISHED: May 7, 2018 at 11:42 am | UPDATED: May 7, 2018 at 12:38 pm


    Mike VanZandt, 36, was having a good time with friends on Hermosa Beach’s Pier Plaza when he vanished into the damp evening on March 5, 2016. Two years later, his family is still searching for answers. No one knows what happened to the father of three and Air Force veteran.

    Mike VanZandt, 36, vanished into the damp evening on March 5, 2016. Two years later, his family is still searching for answers. No one knows what happened to the father of three and Air Force veteran. (Courtesy Photo)


    Soon after his brother’s disappearance, Tyler VanZandt moved to Redondo Beach so he could help with the search. And, for the first time this week, their mother and her husband visited the beach city to trace Mike’s last steps, trying to make peace with their loss.
    “It’s as stagnant as a case as you can have,” said Tyler.

    The family hopes when Mike’s story is aired on the Investigation Discovery Channel documentary show “Disappeared” on May 20, it could produce a new lead and perhaps a resolution to their pain.
    “It’s not easy,” said Robyn Gretz about reliving her son’s disappearance. “But if someone says ‘Hey, I remember that guy’ … it’s worth a shot.”

    It was a rainy Saturday evening in March 2016 when Mike — who lived 80 miles away in the Mojave Desert city of Lancaster — met friends at The Underground in Hermosa Beach to watch a UFC fight.
    “There are videos of him watching the fight, pictures of him having a good time,” Tyler said. “They were going to stay down the road at one of the motels, certainly a planned evening.”

    After the fight, Mike and some friends went out to Pier Plaza and got into a line for the restaurant American Junkie. While Mike was next door at Roberts Liquor, looking for a bathroom, his friends decided to try a different bar. But when they called to let him know where they had gone, they found that his phone was dead.
    “I think the number showed they called him 20 some times that evening trying to get in touch with him,” Tyler said.

    For the next couple hours, Mike is seen on cameras meandering about Pier Plaza looking in bars for his friends. He returns to Roberts Liquor where he purchased something to drink, then headed toward the beach. At 11:27 p.m., the camera at the beachfront hangout The Mermaid captured him walking northwest through its parking lot. Then he vanished. According to Tyler, there is no evidence of Mike heading either toward the ocean or north towards Manhattan Beach.
    On the next morning, Mike hadn’t returned to the hotel and his car was still parked in the same spot. His worried friends called jails and hospitals. On Monday, Mike didn’t show up for work at Edwards Air Force Base, where he trained security forces. One of his colleagues and a friend whom he was out with that night filed a missing-persons report.

    “When adults go missing there is not much of a panic because it happens so frequently,” Tyler said. “There’s a lot of bad that happens out there, so I understand there’s not a huge reaction to somebody going missing in a place like this.”
    Tyler, who was living in Baltimore at the time, knew something was terribly wrong when he got the call his brother was missing. Mike was supposed to take his son to surgery Monday morning. He wouldn’t have missed that.
    But Tyler didn’t tell his parents about Mike’s disappearance right away.

    “I didn’t want everyone to be alarmed,” Tyler said. “We were still trying to figure out what was going on.”
    Tyler booked a flight to L.A. that Tuesday morning. He was soon followed by his brother Charles. At the time, Mike was amicably separating from his wife, Krishain VanZandt, the mother of Mike’s children. She joined the two brothers and was “absolutely distraught” according to Tyler.

    Immediately in Hermosa Beach, Tyler met with Police Detective Joshua Droz. It was Tuesday morning; Mike had been missing since Saturday. Droz told them the case was the police department’s No. 1 priority, but the family was antsy.
    “No fault necessarily of theirs, but more of the process itself, the lack of urgency, there wasn’t enough going on at least in the family’s eyes at that point. Again, not any fault of theirs,” Tyler said.
    Several things hampered the investigation: lack of witnesses, lack of camera evidence, and the fact that it rained that Saturday. A search dog was brought in weeks after his disappearance, but lost Mike’s scent near Roberts Liquor.

    Detective Droz said in a recent interview that nothing points to suicide or foul play in Mike’s case.
    “We never found any of his property,” Droz said. “We checked his cell phone records. There were no updated phone calls. Once he was off camera, we have a downtown surveillance system. I think it was 11:27 p.m. we last see him walking towards the beach and we never see him on the camera system again. We exhausted all the leads … there’s nothing.”
    Right now everything is a “big guess,” according to Droz, who said an accident seems most likely; maybe he got hit by a wave or possibly accidentally fell off the pier.

    “If he intentionally went for a swim, he probably would have left clothing or a cell phone or whatever on the beach and either a good person would have turned it in or a bad person would have turned it on to try and use it,” Droz said. “That never happened. If there was a crime of violence or something like that, it’s a lot of work to hide a body or cover up a murder and there would have been some kind of evidence. He would have turned up somewhere on land.”
    There was also an investigation by the Air Force and Coast Guard, which led nowhere.

    According to Tyler, Mike liked to swim at night after drinking. But Mike, an advanced scuba diver, would have faced a rainy night and El Nino currents which could have dragged his body out into the ocean, if he in fact drowned.
    His stepfather, Keith Gretz, said his perception of what might have happened has changed since he arrived in Hermosa Beach. His vision was a “small resort town,” not the bustling little city spilling into Los Angeles.
    “This is really impossible to even find anybody because it just goes on forever,” Keith said. “It made me sick, really that anybody could go missing and be so difficult to find.”

    Any disappearance is “unnerving,” according to Joe Danisi, producer, writer and director of the VanZandt episode of “Disappeared.” But Danisi was attracted to Mike’s story because of the circumstances.
    Mike was a seemingly great guy and father, and a veteran who was “unscathed” after two tours in Iraq.

    “Mike was just out with friends and vanished and it could happen to anybody,” Danisi said. “How many times have we said, ‘I’m just going to go over here. I’ll be right back.’”
    “Disappeared” is in its ninth season. Danisi said there has been one resolved case: A viewer recognized one subject who had disappeared, but was now living under a false identity.
    Danisi said he feels people around the country can relate to the VanZandt story.

    “You pray for some resolution so that his loved ones can find peace of mind,” Danisi said. “I wish that for his family. He has three beautiful children and an ex-wife who cares deeply for him and a mother, brothers and friends. This was a guy who was loved, so I hope that the show brings some kind of knowledge which they can find peace.”

    Mike has been called a “great father” and his family is looking out for his three children, who are now 16, 14 and 11. But Tyler said he’s worried about the longterm impact of Mike’s disappearance.
    “It’s not like they don’t know what’s going on, but they’re kids at the same time,” Tyler said. “It’s going to be an evolving path in order for them to be able to deal with it, but they’ve been awesome. It’s going to be tough … financially it’s tough. You have three children. All his finances are locked up five years before you can declare a date of death.”

    Robyn said her grandchildren are “resilient.”
    “We talk about it,” she said. “They talk about their dad. They are fantastic children. They spend most of their summers with us and they have for years. It’s great to be able to spend a weekend with them.”
    When Tyler moved to Redondo Beach in July 2016, he knew it was the only option because he felt “powerless.”

    “There’s not anything else I could have done that I didn’t already do when I was here, but you feel the guilt of being out here and not feeling as if you could do more,” Tyler said. “What else are you supposed to do besides keep your eyes open and keep the story alive, talk to people about it. Be okay talking about it. You can’t make people feel uncomfortable to have the conversation. You got to pull your bootstraps up and be able to have a tough conversation to keep the story alive.”If you have any information about Mike VanZandt or the evening of March 5, 2016, contact Hermosa Beach police Detective Joshua Droz at (310) 318-0334 or jdroz@hermosapolice.org.

    For more information about the show “Disappeared,” visit investigationdiscovery.com.

    The last sighting of Mike VanZandt was on a surveillance video from the parking lot of The Mermaid.
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/...mike-vanzandt/



    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "What's traitors, precious?" -- President Gollum

  2. #302
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    He wasn't on that plane with Lynyrd Skynyrd?

  3. #303
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    This was a weird update to the Deangelo OARS/Golden State case. I only included the first few paragraphs of the story. In this case, Deangelo was trying to physically abduct a 16-year-old girl and take her from her residence when her dad woke up, intervened, and was shot to death and the suspect ran off. I don't think an actual abduction was in his M.O. in any of cases. But this was mid 1970's - so maybe he abandoned this tactic based on this incident and decided to commit crimes within the house itself?

    'Golden State Killer' is charged with 1975 murder of Claude Snelling | Daily Mail Online

    Man accused of being the Golden State Killer is charged with the 1975 murder of a man who saved his 16-year-old daughter from being abducted by a masked man - the killer's earliest known murder

    • rosecutors in Tulare County, California charged Joseph DeAngelo with the 1975 murder of Claude Snelling on Monday
    • The father died protecting his 16-year-old daughter from vicious home invader in what is said to be the Golden State Killer's first known murder
    • DeAngelo, 72, is accused on DNA evidence of being the Golden State Killer
    • Notorious serial killer's career began as the Visalia Ransacker in mid-1970s
    • Now Snelling's murder is added to the 12 murder counts DeAngelo faces

    The man accused of being the Golden State Killer has been charged with the earliest known murder tied to the notorious serial killer's reign of mayhem.

    Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was charged first-degree murder on Monday in the 1975 slaying of Claude Snelling in Visalia, California, prosecutors in Tulare County announced at a televised press conference.

    'With this filing, we have officially linked the Visalia Ransacker and the murder of Claude Snelling to the Golden State Killer,' District Attorney Tim Ward said.

    The charge was added to the 12 murder counts that DeAngelo already faces in Sacramento, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, all tied to the Golden State Killer's spree of burglary, rape and murder in the 1970s and 80s.
    Unlike those cases, however, there is no DNA linking DeAngelo to the Visalia Ransacker's burglaries and Snelling's murder, prosecutors said.

  4. #304
    Elite Member Nevan's Avatar
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    I haven't read anything that supports the theory that he was an abductor. In fact, he got more and more creepy by spending hours in his victim's homes, eating their food and ransacking their houses. He was very methodical and organized, often spending weeks to months stalking his next victim. If they have evidence otherwise, I'd like to see it. It just doesn't fit with his MO. Just my humble opinion.

    And psst ... he is known as EAR/ONS (East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker) and as far as I can tell, Michelle McNamara is the one that gave him the Golden State Killer moniker decades after he stopped hunting. I am unsure why, he already had several including the Vasalia Ransacker. I think it just caused unnecessary confusion.
    MohandasKGanja and Waterslide like this.
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  5. #305
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    This is the first I'm reading of the Mike Van Zandt case. First of all Krishain is an odd name. Secondly, you'd think the Air Force would have sent someone looking for him, too. Military people are pretty good at being where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be.


    I know I've said this before, but I really think we need to re-examine the whole "lack of urgency" issue in looking for missing persons. I know that policy is in place because adults are allowed to go missing, and it's common, and it sucks up police time and resources, but I've known the kind of people that you could set a watch by their daily routine and if they didn't show up somewhere at the normal time, they would most certainly be in danger. (I'm not one of those people, and this is how I will go missing one day...but hopefully not.)

    Nevan, do you watch Cayleigh Elise on YouTube? I've posted her videos before, and I might have asked you before, but seriously, I think you'd like her. She goes through point by point on missing person cases and John/Jane Doe cases, and will even mention theories that are sketchy but makes sure to tell you they're sketchy. She doesn't leave a stone unturned. And she also picks cases off the beaten path.
    Nevan likes this.
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  6. #306
    Elite Member Nevan's Avatar
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    No, actually, this is the first time that I've heard that name. I will check her out (I'm getting tired of beauty YTers anyway, lol). I like cold cases. I mean, I ping, ping, ping with any true crime case, but cold cases interest me the most. Thanks for the tip!!
    Waterslide and dksnj like this.
    "No. I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets." -Madeline Martha Mackenzie

    Spirituality is not religion. Religion divides people. Belief in something unites them.

    Don't tell me not to worry ... worrying is what I do best!


  7. #307
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    She's really sweet, too. I don't know how regularly she uploads, but she has an impressive backlog of videos. She should have her own gig on Discovery ID. Also, check out Rob Dyke's crime videos...he and Cayleigh are friends. His are really good, too, and the artwork is always amazing. He does some comedy stuff, too, which can be pretty funny.
    Nevan likes this.
    "AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE."

  8. #308
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    *bump*

    Cayleigh Elise's latest video.

    "AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE."

  9. #309
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    One of the most deserving candidates ever. Will spend the rest of his days wondering when someone is going to come into his "domicile" and kill him.

    Prosecutors to seek death penalty in 'Golden State Killer' case

    Suspected "Golden State Killer" Joseph DeAngelo was arrested in April 2018.

    https://abcnews.go.com/US/prosecutor...ry?id=62312527

    Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against suspected "Golden State Killer" Joseph DeAngelo if he is convicted of the charges against him, they announced in court in Sacramento on Wednesday.
    DeAngelo, now 73, is accused of committing 13 murders, as well as rapes and burglaries, across California in the 1970s and 80s.
    (MORE:'Golden State Killer' suspect allegedly killed his first victim in 1975, while he was a police officer)
    DeAngelo, a former police officer, eluded law enforcement for decades, until he was arrested in Sacramento County in April 2018.


    DeAngelo was the first public arrest through genetic genealogy, a new technique which takes the DNA an unknown killer left behind at a crime scene and identifies a suspect by tracing the family tree through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to public genealogy databases.
    (MORE:'Golden State Killer' victims included couple murdered in their home, a crime scene that helped solve the case)

    Since DeAngelo's arrest, genetic genealogy has helped identify more than 40 suspects in violent crimes.
    DeAngelo's alleged crimes span multiple jurisdictions in the northern, central and southern parts of California, but he will be tried in Sacramento.
    Nevan likes this.

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    I get it, but what's the point. California is never going to execute someone again. The extra cost of a DP trial, the automatic appeals, and his age. Unfortunately for the victims and their families, life in prison for this piece of shit is about ten years, tops.
    gas_chick likes this.

  11. #311
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisNine View Post
    I get it, but what's the point. California is never going to execute someone again. The extra cost of a DP trial, the automatic appeals, and his age. Unfortunately for the victims and their families, life in prison for this piece of shit is about ten years, tops.
    To make him fear for his life every day, like his victims did. To let him know how it feels to lose control over whether you are going to live or die. Plus, if Trump somehow gets reelected, the Supreme Court will probably bring back ling chi.

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