Details of Disappearance Cortez was last seen between 12:30 and 1:00 a.m. on April 15, 2000 at the Amfac/JMB Lihue Plantation sugar cane processing plant in Lihue, Hawaii. He worked there at night, oiling and maintaining plantation equipment.
When other employees went looking for him, they found his midnight snack, coffee mug, keys, and street clothes in the break room and his car in the employee parking lot. There was no sign of Cortez himself, however.
Cortez's family speculated that he fell or was pushed into the cane-crushing equipment inside the factory. A shredded green shirt and a mangled rubber work boot in Cortez's size were found in a cane juice extracting machine near the factory the day after his disappearance, but the crime lab couldn't find any blood on the boot.
Because of the way the crushing machines are designed, authorities do not believe a person could fall in by accident. A six-week investigation by the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) concluded he did not fall into the crusher, but his family disagrees with this conclusion.
Cortez is described as a reliable worker, and it's uncharacteristics of him to leave without warning. He has never been heard from again and it's unclear what happened to him.
- Kauai Police Department
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 23, 2012; first name corrected, middle name, clothing/jewelry description and medical conditions added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.