Details of Disappearance Moreau was last seen in Portland, Oregon on January 23, 1990. He did promotional work for Larry Hurwitz, the owner of the Starry Night rock club, at the time of his disappearance. On the night of his disappearance, Moreau was summoned to meet with Hurwitz. He has never been heard from again.
His 1981 Datsun was later found at the long-term parking lot of the Portland International Airport, but there was no evidence he had taken a plane anywhere. When police searched Moreau's apartment, they found checkbooks, credit cards and cash left behind. He also left $230 in his bank account.
Moreau's parents believed Hurwitz was involved in their son's disappearance. In March 1990 they climbed the fire escape of the Starry Night and went inside to confront Hurwitz, but he simply denied having anything to do with his employee's disappearance and offered to let them attend a concert for free.
When questioned by authorities, Hurwitz said Moreau used illegal drugs and had gotten involved in a counterfeit ticket scam. He said Moreau had left of his accord when Hurwitz confronted him about the counterfeiting. Police declared Moreau's case a probable homicide a year after he went missing, and Hurwitz was named as a suspect in his case.
In 2000, Hurwitz pleaded no contest to killing Moreau. Evidence leading to the murder charges was uncovered in 1997, when Hurwitz came under investigation for tax evasion. George Castagnola, a former stagehand at the Starry Night, was charged with Moreau's murder in 1998; later that year, Hurwitz, who was incarcerated for tax evasion, was also charged.
Castagnola pleaded guilty to the killing and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He testified against Hurwitz. Castagnola said he had dug the grave in advance and had driven Moreau's car to the airport after Moreau was strangled with a garotte.
Investigators believe Hurwitz committed the murder to cover up his involvement in the counterfeit ticket scam. He pleaded no contest to aggravated murder and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but at sentencing he denied having killed Moreau. He agreed to help authorities find Moreau's body, which he said was wrapped in garbage bags and buried in a rural wooded area Skamania County on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
Several searches were conducted based on Hurwitz's statements and nothing was located, but prosecutors agreed he had made a good-faith effort to lead them to Moreau's remains. Moreau's family sued Hurwitz for wrongful death after he was sentenced, in part because he continued to deny responsibility for Moreau's death.
In December 2001, Hurwitz finally admitted he had killed Moreau and agreed to pay $3 million to his family. He was released from prison in 2008, after serving two-thirds of his sentence. Since his release, he has returned to the Portland area and has been arrested for driving under the influence and for drug charges. Castagnola has also been released from prison and has moved to Hawaii.
Moreau grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was an Eagle Scout and graduated high school with a straight-A average. He traveled to Oregon in 1986 to study philosophy at Reed College. He had an A-minus grade point average, but in 1988 he took a leave of absence from school and pursued a career in music promotion. His loved ones stated he looked up to Hurwitz as a mentor.
Foul play is suspected in Moreau's case due to the circumstances involved.
- Portland Police Department
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 20, 2019; date of birth added, details of disappearance updated.