Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Kurt McFall

Real Name: Kurt Thomas McFall
Case: Suspicious Death
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: September 8, 1984


Details: On Saturday, September 8, 1984, seventeen-year-old Kurt McFall left his home in Concord, California, and headed to nearby San Francisco where he planned to spend the night and return home the next evening. However, he never returned, and on Monday, September 10, his bruised body was found on an isolated beach at San Francisco Bay. His father Tom suspected foul play and believed that a cult was involved in his death. However, authorities are uncertain if the death was an accident or a murder.
Tom received an anonymous phone call the day after Kurt vanished; the caller claimed that Kurt tried to escape from a cult and feared for his life. After he received the phone call, Tom searched Kurt's room. He found several suspicious items, including: a knife made from a deer's hoof, a necklace of stone and feathers, and drawings of witchcraft and violent fantasies. This led Tom to believe that his son was living a "double life".
For years, Kurt had been interested in the game "Dungeons and Dragons" and a year before his death he joined the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, in which members participated in various events related to medieval times. They often dressed in costumes from the time period. Once a week, they wore their costumes and practiced jousting and sword fighting in the parking lot of an Oakland subway station. Hilary Powers, President of SCA, stated that Kurt enjoyed his time in the in SCA, but she did not believe the organization had anything to do with his death.
As Kurt became increasingly interested in medieval rituals, he joined a second group that introduced him to Pagan religion. One of Kurt's friends feared this group and contacted Tom. He was concerned for Kurt and his own safety. In the months prior to his death, the friend noticed that Kurt's attitude towards others changed drastically. He believed that Kurt had adopted Paganism as his religion. The SCA and the second group that introduced Kurt to Paganism were thought to be cult-like groups.
Gabriel Carrillo was the leader of the second group that Kurt had become involved with. In the group, Carrillo used the ancient Welsh name "Caradoc". He claimed that Kurt enjoyed being in the group and thrived in it. However, Kurt's friend believed that he was becoming "addicted" to the group. Carrillo stated that he had no control over the group members and that they were free to leave whenever they wanted to.
On September 8, Kurt went to San Francisco to stay with Carrillo at his apartment. That evening, the two had dinner and went to a movie. At around midnight, Kurt went swimming at Ocean Beach, a few blocks from Carrillo's apartment. They then went back to the apartment. According to Carrillo, Kurt was restless and unable to sleep. At around 3am, he left the apartment, claiming that he was headed back to Ocean Beach.
The next evening, Kurt's car was found at a nearby golf course in a state of disarray. Kurt's license was on the floor, his keys were on the seat and a single $20 bill was in the glove compartment. The suit of armor that he had made for the SCA group was missing from the trunk. Random beer bottles were found in the car, but Tom stated his son did not drink. Furthermore, the autopsy stated that there was no drugs or alcohol in his system. Tom believed that the scene was staged.
At 10:15am the next day, Kurt's body was recovered at the cliffs below where his car was found. The beach was two miles from Carrillo's apartment. There was no serious external trauma, although he had no shoes, socks, or shirt. His back and shoulders had cuts and abrasions. Strangely, his belt was missing its buckle. The Coast Guard believed that he may have fallen from the cliffs to his death. The coroner ruled that he had died from multiple traumatic injuries and sever blood loss, but it was not known how those injuries occurred.
It was assumed that Kurt died from a fall, but it is not known if the fall was accidental or the result of someone who pushed him over the cliff on purpose. Tom met with the coroner who said that he believed the death was a homicide, but did not have enough evidence to say so in court. The San Francisco Police Department disagreed with the coroner since they found no evidence that suggested Kurt's death was a homicide.
The case still remains open. Kurt's family and friends believe that Kurt stumbled on something in one of the organizations that he was involved with, and that he was murdered as a result.
Suspects: Gabriel Carrillo was the last person to see Kurt alive. Tom and others suspect that Carrillo and the cult were involved in Kurt's death. However, Carrillo denies this. He believes that Tom needed someone to blame for his son's death.
Two months after Kurt's death, a woman contacted police, claiming that she feared for her life. The woman claimed to have been involved in a "coven" and named two people who were threatening her. These same two people were allegedly named by Kurt in a letter one month before his death. He allegedly stated in the letter that the two were "evil beyond belief". However, it is not known if the two individuals have been connected to Kurt's death.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on Special #5 from February 5, 1988.
  • It was also featured on "The Trail Went Cold" podcast.
  • David Labrava of "Sons of Anarchy" fame appears as a member of the cult wearing a black and white checkered shirt and sitting in the chant circle scene.
  • Fearing for his safety, Kurt's friend was interviewed in silhouette.

Results: Unsolved. On January 1, 2007, Carrillo passed away at the age of fifty-eight.