Michael Darnell Bell Jr.

Bell, circa 2011

  • Missing Since 09/17/2011
  • Missing From Mendota, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race Black
  • Date of Birth 01/26/1986 (33)
  • Age 25 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'0, 190 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A white shirt, black pants, white sneakers and a dark-colored backpack.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American male. Black hair, brown eyes. Bell has the following tattoos: his nickname "Mike" on one arm, his last name "Bell" on the other arm along with a list of his father's accomplishments, and the names "Ashawnta" and "Shekinah" on the tops of his wrists. His ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Bell was last seen in Mendota, California on September 17, 2011. At approximately 3:15 a.m., the car he was driving, his mother's blue 2002 Toyota Camry, ran out of gas on Interstate 5 near Russell Avenue, about four hours north of Los Angeles. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer dropped him off at a Chevron gas station in the 46300 block of west Panoche Road near Mendota. He has never been heard from again.

Bell was supposed to take a trip to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, but he never arrived and didn't answer his family's repeated calls to his cellular phone. His loved ones checked his apartment in Los Angeles and found his phone and personal belongings there, and food in the microwave.

Bell and his mother's car were missing. His relatives reported him missing on September 22. The police found located his car abandoned where he'd left it when it ran out of gas.

Investigators aren't sure where Bell was going when he ran out of gas on the interstate, but he told the CHP officer he'd left a religious service he didn't like. He had gotten interested in the Church of Scientology and was studying it and reading about it, but as far as his family knows he wasn't attending any church regularly.

His loved ones stated it was uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning, and they describe him as good-hearted, giving and outgoing. He was starting a non-profit organization to establish group homes for homeless children, and planned to meet with others on the board of the organization during his upcoming visit to Cleveland.

Bell attended Michigan State University, where he played football. He left behind a young son. Both Fresno County and Los Angeles police are investigating Bell's case; it remains unsolved the circumstances of his disappearance are unclear.

Investigating Agency

  • Los Angeles Police Department 213-996-1800
  • Fresno County Sheriff's Office 559-488-3111

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 16, 2017; picture added, name, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.