Jeffrey John Zoltowski

Zoltowski, circa 1993; Age-progressions to an unknown age

  • Missing Since 03/31/1993
  • Missing From Molokai, Hawaii
  • Classification Lost/Injured Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 03/19/1970 (54)
  • Age 23 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'0, 160 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description White shorts and a purple tie-dyed t-shirt.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Zoltowski has a birthmark on his outer right anklebone, about the size of a nickel or quarter. He has a slight scar under his left eye. Zoltowksi may have a mustache, beard or a goatee. His nickname is Jeff. He is left-handed and he has previously fractured his left ankle and left hand.

Details of Disappearance

Zoltowski was last seen hiking in the Wailau Valley on the island of Molokai in Hawaii on March 31, 1993. He flagged down a helicopter from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) that day. Zoltowski's feet were blistered and bleeding and he said he was too tired to make the fourteen-mile hike back to civilization. He asked for a ride in the helicopter.

The pilot and ranger aboard the helicopter refused to fly Zoltowski out of the area because this was not a life-threatening situation. They said he could charter a plane for $650, but Zoltowski could not afford it. The ranger did bring Zoltowski's sixty-pound backpack to the DLNR's service yard on Molokai. Zoltowski kept only his tent, putting his compass, first aid kit and maps inside the pack.

He never reclaimed his possessions and has never been seen again. His backpack remained in the yard for forty-one days before Zoltowski was reported as a missing person.

After his disappearance, a Hawaiian man stated a white man had been attacked and killed by a shark in the waters off Wailau, and that he had buried the body. There was speculation that the man was Zoltowski. However, authorities went to Wailau twice to dig at the location the person said he'd buried the body, and they found nothing.

Zoltowski may have been sighted near a homeless shelter in the vicinity of Nimitz Highway and Sumner Street in Honolulu, Hawaii, near K-Mart, on July 28, 2001, eight years after his disappearance.

A woman reported that the man who resembled Zoltowski called himself Sam or Samuel and panhandled for money from vehicles stopped in traffic. He had heavy facial scarring, he limped, and his speech was slurred, indications that he may have suffered a severe head injury in the past.

It has not been confirmed that the individual was in fact Zoltowski. Investigators looked for the unidentified man couldn't find him. The area where he was seen is near a homeless shelter run by the Insitute for Human Services, but no one at the shelter recognized Zoltowski's picture.

Zoltowski had traveled to Hawaii in January 1993 to explore, hike and determine what he wanted to do with his life. He is a graduate of Livonia Stevenson High School and was a student at Wayne State University in Michigan at the time of his disappearance. He had a vegetarian diet and refused to wear leather.

He intended to spend four months in Hawaii, and by the time of his disappearance had been in the state for 49 days. During this time he called home 31 times. His loved ones describe him as a compassionate, caring individual who did volunteer work. He was close to both his parents, who were divorced. His mother died after his disappearance, but his father is alive and searching for him.

Zoltowski's case remains unsolved.

Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 19, 2024; details of disappearance updated.