Matthew Chase Whitmer

Above Images: Whitmer, circa 2007

  • Missing Since 11/15/2007
  • Missing From Pinole, California
  • Classification Lost/Injured Missing
  • Height and Weight 6'1, 160 pounds
  • Medical Conditions Whitmer has a history of suicide attempts and psychiatric hospitalizations, beginning when he was twelve years old. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a mood disorder with psychotic features, and he may hear voices as a result of his condition. He wasn't taking any psychotropic medications at the time of his disappearance, however.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Whitmer's nickname is Mattie. He can speak some Japanese as well as English.

Details of Disappearance

Whitmer was last seen playing video games at his home in Pinole, California at 1:30 a.m. on November 15, 2007. Authorities believe he jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge. His gold 1996 Toyota Camry was found in the parking lot near the bridge walkway, with his wallet and identification inside the car and wet clothes in the trunk. Two witnesses saw a young Caucasian man jumping into the water at 6:25 a.m. Whitmer had looked up directions to the bridge on his computer, and also checked online to see whether there were any barriers in place. The last contact with him was a text message he sent to a friend at 6:23 a.m., saying "Peace out." The Coast Guard was summoned and began searching within five minutes of the jump, but his body was never found.

Whitmer's mother stated she first realized her son had problems when he attempted suicide at the age of twelve and had to be hospitalized for two weeks. After he was stabilized and placed on medication, he was enrolled first in a special education program at his old school, then in the Marchus School, a school for emotionally disturbed children. He spent part of his high school years on homebound instruction, then re-enrolled in a mainstream classroom for his senior year.

Throughout his school years, Whitmer remained active in sports, and at age sixteen he made a three-week trip to Ireland, England and Wales with People to People, a cultural exchange program. He met all the requirements for high school graduation by tenth grade, but elected to stay in high school and take college courses at night. At the time of his disappearance, he had discontinued his medication and was studying to become a massage therapist. He was very open with his family about the feelings he had as a result of his mental illness, and had spoken of suicide before.

Since his presumed death, Whitmer's mother has advocated for the construction of a barricade on the Golden Gate Bridge to prevent suicides.

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 30, 2011; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.