Real Name: Matthew Marshall Chase
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: June 8, 1988
Date of Birth: April 10, 1966
Weight: 150 pounds
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. He has a small tattoo of a dollar sign behind his right ear.
Details: Twenty-two-year-old Matthew "Matt" Chase had been friends with siblings Teresa and Steve Dahl since childhood. The three moved from their hometown of Medford, Oregon, to Los Angeles, California. At 11:45 pm on the night of June 8, 1988, Matt and Teresa returned home from dinner when Matt realized that he had to deposit his paycheck. Teresa lent Matt her car and asked if he could pick up some cat food on the way home. That night, when he left their house, Matt took only his bank card with him. He left his wallet at home. Teresa believed that it would take just fifteen minutes for Matt to complete this errand; however, he never returned home.
The next morning, when Matt still had not returned, Teresa and Steve called the police. They then called the bank. Steve pretended to be Matt in order to determine if any transactions had been made on the account. The bank confirmed that several transactions had attempted to be made. When the Dahls told this to the police, they knew that something bad had probably happened to Matt.
Authorities reviewed Matt's bank records and determined that he had successfully deposited his paycheck and received cash back. Matt apparently returned to the same bank thirty minutes later and attempted to withdraw $280.00 even though that amount was over the limit he had set up. Authorities theorized that Matt was trying to signal for help. Matt attempted to withdraw cash two more times that night. Each time he asked to withdraw $200.00, and each time it was denied due to insufficient funds. One minute later, $100.00 was requested, but this was also denied because Matt's paycheck had not yet been cleared.
Eleven minutes later, the card was used again at a different branch in a different neighborhood. Again, the withdrawal was unsuccessful. This time, a hidden camera took photographs of Matt while he used the ATM. The photographs revealed something disturbing: an unidentified individual standing very close to him, hovering over Matt's shoulder. Authorities suspect that Matt was abducted shortly after his first transaction by the man in the photograph. It is believed that he deliberately entered erroneous amounts in order to attract attention and signal for help.
Over the next day and a half, there were five more withdrawal attempts. By this time, Matt's paycheck had cleared, so $400.00 was paid out from his account. Finally, the card was confiscated from the machine after the Dahls placed a freeze on the card. They hoped that the police could obtain fingerprints from the card; however, no fingerprints were found. It is believed that the card was either wiped clean or the abductor used gloves.
Matt's parents came down from Oregon to search for their son. They were hoping to find any trace of him or his car, which was also missing. Authorities suspected that Matt may have been injured in a mugging and was walking the streets with amnesia. The Dahls distributed Matt's picture at a local homeless shelter. Some of the volunteers recognized Matt from just his driver's license picture; they believed that Matt had stayed at the shelter before. They even accurately described Matt's physical description. This gave Matt's friends and family hope that he was still alive.
On June 27, almost three weeks after Matt's disappearance, his car, a red two-door 1983 Volkswagen GTI, was found abandoned close to where he vanished. The car was examined, but no usable fingerprints were found. However, they did find a blue bandana that did not belong to Matt or Teresa. Authorities believe that it was left by the abductor.
Matt's family and friends hope that he is still alive and safe; however, no trace of him has been found.
Suspects: No suspects have been named in this case. A blue bandana found in Matt's car suggests he may have fallen victim to gang members. The bandana has the following letters written on it: ES PBS CLS. Two composites have been made of the abductor. The abductor was described as somewhat shorter and somewhat stockier than Matt.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 21, 1988 episode. According to TV Guide, it was originally scheduled to air on the November 23, 1988 episode, but it was postponed.
Results: Solved. On September 17, 1988, three months after Matt's disappearance, his remains were discovered in a ravine in nearby Pasadena. However, the body was not identified as Matt's until March 29, 1989; the identification was delayed due to the difficulty of tracking Matt's dental records. The cause of death was a gunshot wound. Authorities believe that he was killed shortly after his disappearance.
The case has since been "cleared" by police. They believe that Matt's killer was a twenty-year-old suspected gang member named David "Bear" Meza. Ironically, he was shot and killed on a street corner in the Rampart area on June 10, 1988, just two days after Matt vanished. It is believed that Meza was killed by other gang members. When interviewed by police, Meza's girlfriend identified him as the man seen in the surveillance photographs. Other circumstantial evidence also linked him to the crime. Although the possibility of accomplices can't be dismissed, the case is considered closed since the main perpetrator is deceased.
- Matthew Chase at Unsolved.com
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- Justice For Matthew Marshall Chase Facebook Group
- Justice for Matthew Update
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Matthew Chase
- Matthew Chase at Find a Grave