Details of Disappearance Zino was on holiday leave from United States military training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in early 1999. He was last seen aboard a bus in Oakland, California on January 3, 1999. Zino planned to travel to San Francisco, California at the time of his disappearance. It is unclear if he arrived at his destination. Zino has never been heard from again.
Prior to his disappearance, Zino had been a student at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. He was originally a Dean's List student, but dropped out of college to take part in the circus. Later on, he re-enrolled, but did not finish the term and received incompletes in all his classes. He traveled to Israel and spent a few months at a yeshiva, a Jewish religious school, but dropped out and went to live with his grandmother in Tel Aviv, Israel.
While he was in Israel, Zino's behavior changed dramatically. He so alarmed his mother during a telephone conversation that she flew from the United States to Tel Aviv and made him seek psychiatric attention. Zino was prescribed the anti-psychotic medication Risperidal and placed in a religious home for the mentally ill. His condition improved, but then he left the group home and stopped taking his medicine a few months after his mother returned home. A few months after that, Zino and his father also went to the United States. A month after his arrival there, Zino was hospitalized again for his mental illness and prescribed the medication Zyprexa.
Zino joined the United States Army after he got out of the hospital. He did not tell the Army of his psychiatric illness, his hospitalizations or the medication he was taking. He enlisted on November 30, 1998 and last spoke to his family on the telephone a few weeks later. He sounded upbeat at the time of the conversation and said he was going to visit relatives in Oakland. But when his bus arrived in Oakland, Zino saw two other enlisted men off and told them he was going to San Francisco instead. Several weeks later, the Army notified Zino's family that he had never returned to Fort Sill for active duty as scheduled.
Zino's mother hired a private detective to look for her son in 2001. The detective believed Zino was possibly homeless. Prior to his disappearance, Zino had expressed admiration for homeless people and their resourcefulness. Witnesses reported seeing a man resembling Zino living on the streets and in homeless shelters in the Berkeley, California area, but the private detective was never able to locate him.
Oklahoma and California authorities are handling Zino's case. It remains unsolved.
- Lawton, Oklahoma Police Department
- California Department of Justice
- Sacramento Office
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated February 3, 2008; distinguishing characteristics, medical conditions and details of disappearance updated.