Details of Disappearance
Daniel was reported missing in Running Springs, California on February 8, 2004. He left his school in the vicinity of the 3400 block of Seymour Road at 10:45 a.m., saying he was going to buy a pack of cigarettes, and never returned. He took no belongings or identification with him when he left.
Daniel is originally from Edison, New Jersey. His parents sent him to the Cedu School, a therapeutic boarding school for troubled youths, ten days before he disappeared. They decided to do so after he stopped going to his home high school in his sophomore year in December 2003, following a breakup with his girlfriend. His parents took him to multiple psychiatrists, who thought he suffered from depression. One of them recommended the Cedu School.
Daniel told his parents that he was unhappy at the Cedu School and afraid of the other students, and that he planned to run away. He has a history of running away from his home in New Jersey.
The Cedu School had a private investigator, Keith Raymond, search for Daniel; Raymond had experience finding Cedu students, who frequently ran away. There were possible sightings of Daniel in the Hilltop Community Park in San Diego, California a month after his disappearance; witnesses reported he was panhandling there. Raymond brought scent dogs to the park, and the dogs indicated Daniel's scent was present there, but a search of the area turned up no sign of him.
The Cedu School declared bankruptcy and closed all of its seven campuses in the spring of 2005; its financial insolvency came about in part because of lawsuits filed against them by families unhappy with the way their children were treated at the school. While many people have praised the school for providing valuable help to troubled children, there have also been allegations that Cedu students were abused. Daniel's family was one of those that filed a lawsuit.
Curiously, Daniel is not the only Cedu student to have vanished without a trace; Blake Pursley
disappeared from the Cedu campus in 1994 and John Inman
in 1993. Neither of the boys has been found.
In December 2018, Raymond got a voicemail from an unknown person who spoke about Daniel. The caller said, "Daniel Yuen is fine, Daniel Yuen is still in the same area where you originally searched. He doesn't want to be found, he doesn't want you or his parents looking for him." Raymond then went back to San Diego, to the same park he'd searched before, and showed an age-progression picture of Daniel to employees at the park office. One employee thought she recognized Daniel.
The park employee stated Daniel had been in the park the same day Raymond arrived, and that he had a Caucasian woman and a baby girl with him. When the employee spoke to the man and asked what neighborhood he lived in, he acted nervous and left with the baby. Raymond spoke to more witnesses in the vicinity who recognized the couple and baby described by the park employee.
Daniel's parents have emphasized their son is not in any trouble with them or with the police, and that they only want to verify his well-being. His sister, who was twelve when he disappeared, is also eager for answers in Daniel's case. His disappearance remains unsolved.