Duane Masher goes missing in California; car found abandoned

Duane Stuart Masher from Coto De Caza has been missing since August 15, 2017.  His family was not able to locate him since August 10.  On August 15, the California Highway Patrol located his 2004 Cadillac at the Redwoods River Resort in Leggett, Calif.  The car had been there or four days.  The investigation found that Duane never checked in to the resort.

Kathy Kaikey posted,

“Thank you for that. We don’t know much (he’s my son’s dad). The police are not much help it seems, tho they did send dogs out a couple of days ago, with no successful find of anything. Duane’s brother flew out from Kansas and got his abandoned car and has driven it within an hour from our house. Jared (Duane’s son) and I will go retrieve it this evening. This is all so bazaar. Duane has a degree in aeronautical engineering. He’s not stupid. This just isn’t like him to do anything remotely like this. He’s never done anything like this. We’re all very worried.”

Duane’s son, Jared posted:

“Friends,

First, I want to thank you all for your overwhelming support. I’ve received several encouraging messages from many of you as well as tips on how to better disseminate this information. I truly love each and every one of you. I don’t know what I’d do without your friendship.

Many have asked what happened and where we currently stand. Here is what we know so far:

On Wednesday August 9th, my dad called me in regards to a dispute he was having with his landlord and his neighbor. He thought people were trying to get him and were going to come after him. I thought he was acting immature and irrationally. I told him as such and that I thought he should grow up. Those were the last words I said to my father.

On Monday August 14th, my grandmother, in Kansas, asked me if I’d heard from my dad as she had been unable to get in touch with him since Thursday the 10th. I called his phone but it went straight to voicemail. I also sent him an email requesting that he contact someone just to let us know he is okay. The morning of the 15th, I called him again. Same outcome. As I couldn’t get in touch with him, I thought it best to offer an incentive. I emailed him and told him I was going to involve law enforcement if I didn’t hear from him by noon on the 16th. He is suspect of the government and that was sure to prompt a response. I began researching timeframes for reporting an adult missing, but couldn’t really come up with much. I decided to ask a friend of mine that works with Orange County Law Enforcement and informed her of the situation. She stated that she knew, roughly, where my dad lived, had access to the community (it’s gated), and could swing by as it’s only 5 minutes from her home. 30 or so minutes later, she called me from his apartment. His door was open and the place was a mess. She stated that his diplomas, trophies from his childhood, surfboard, and skis were still at the apartment as well as his television and his computer. After hearing this, I decided it best to go down to his apartment myself. My friend was able to get me into the community and I entered his apartment. Upon reaching his front door, I noticed a request from the California Highway Patrol asking my dad to call them regarding his vehicle. I entered his apartment and noticed the ‘Home’ button of an iPhone on the kitchen counter. I looked around and found the remainder of the phone, completely shattered, in a box a couple feet away. His computer had been opened; his hard drives had been removed, and were found, melted, in an aluminum pan in the oven. He had cooked them. I called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and advised them of what I found. They immediately sent 2 deputies out to my location, informed me to exit the apartment, and not to touch anything. The dispatcher also confirmed that CHP had found my dad’s car and were trying to contact him in order to move it. The deputies arrived, the scene was assessed, and a missing person’s report was filed.

According to the homicide detective that has been assigned to the case, my dad’s car was found at Redwoods River Resort in Leggett, Ca. The owner of the resort contacted CHP about the vehicle on Sunday the 13th after he had scoured the resort trying to locate the vehicle owner as it was impeding their horse-shoe pit, but as a missing person’s report had yet to be filed, CHP simply sent a notice to my dad to try to have him move it. His vehicle was parked in a secluded location near a dirt road and contained his most treasured possessions. The police found his CPAP machines, his thyroid and blood pressure medications, my aunt’s ashes, personal and business contacts, his clothing, and other sentimental items that he wouldn’t normally just leave in a vehicle on the side of a road. They also found his car keys in the car. The owner of the resort has searched the resort property with no luck. On Friday the 18th, members of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department conducted a full-fledged man-hunt with search and rescue dogs but were unable to turn anything up.

Last Friday, the 18th, my uncle flew to the Bay Area and drove to the resort. With law enforcement’s blessing, he took possession of my dad’s car and drove the 12 hours down to Los Angeles where he gave me possession of the vehicle late last night. I have yet to have an opportunity to go through it.

I was contacted this morning by a deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department that thought he may have found my father but that turned out to be false. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has done an amazing job liaising with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and passing along information, but ultimately he is still missing. We are working on tracing him through his bank records, but this is proving difficult as the banks won’t release activity, or even confirm if he is a client, without a subpoena or warrant. Unfortunately, there isn’t currently enough evidence for law enforcement to request a court order.

My father does not have a history of mental illness. He was not on drugs. He is an aeronautical engineer and he is a bit of a loner, but he has never had suicidal tendencies or emotional problems that I’ve ever been aware of.”

Kathy also said, “This is just not like him to do this and we are all very worried. We don’t know why he left or if he even left of his own accord. He was not into the drug scene, so there’s some hope there. However, he’s not an outdoorsman and we are very concerned about his safety in this very natural part of the state. Please continue to pray that he will be found. He has family that love him and want him home.”

If you have any information on his whereabouts, please call the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. at (714) 647-7000.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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