Details of Disappearance Schiendelman was last seen in Tumwater, Washington on May 19, 2016. He has never been heard from again.
He had played football at Tumwater High School. After his graduation in 2014, he attended Washington State University, 300 miles from home, but dropped out after his freshman year and moved back home. He moved in with his grandmother and half-sister and worked multiple jobs, one of them at his great-aunt's five-acre arm.
His family described him as a quiet, sensitive young man, and his loved ones noticed he became more withdrawn after he left college. He cut ties with his high school friends and hadn't made many new friends during his year at Washington State University.
He had been raised by his maternal grandmother, and had no contact with his father's family until shortly before his disappearance, when he reached out of them and had an emotional meeting with some of his paternal relatives. Schiendelman reportedly told them that if his maternal grandmother found out he'd been seeing his paternal relatives, she would be angry.
His grandmother, who had raised him, said he had been smoking a lot of marijuana at the time of his disappearance. There was apparently some tension between Schiendelman and his half-sister's boyfriend; the boyfriend had moved in with the family, and Schiendelman didn't like this. The boyfriend was questioned about Schiendelman's disappearance and said he knew nothing about it. He passed a polygraph.
The last time Schiendelman spoke to his grandmother, on the morning of May 19, he seemed nervous and told her he had had an "epiphany" about himself he needed to work through. She suggested they talk about it later that day. He never spoke to her again.
The next day, wondering where he was, she pinged his cellular phone and it pinged off a tower near his mother's home in Olympia, Washington, so she assumed he was there. In fact, Schiendelman's mother hadn't seen him, and further activity on his phone indicates he went down Interstate 5 heading south, then back north, then south again, then north again, then south again.
A woman reported having seen Schiendelman with two Caucasian men by his car, which was parked on the right shoulder of southbound Interstate 5 near Exit 95. She saw them on the morning of May 20, while she was driving to work. When she passed the location again coming home, the car was still parked in the same spot, but the hood was up.
One of the men was six feet tall, with a very thin build and thin, straight blond hair in a bowl cut. He wore a too-small tank top and too-short jeans. A sketch of this man is posted with this case summary. The other man is described as having shoulder-length blond hair and wearing a flannel shirt and jeans.
Three people called 911 at 2:00 p.m. on May 20 to report a car drifting across the lanes of Interstate 5 between Tumwater and Maytown, near milepost 92. There didn't appear to be anyone driving. It veered across three lanes towards the center lane, hit the concrete barrier and stopped.
A truck driver reported seeing a Caucasian man with brown or red hair jumping out the passenger side of the vehicle and running towards the thick woods on the side of the interstate. The description of the man doesn't match Schiendelman, but the car, a black 1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible with the Washington license plate number AVJ8434, was his. He left his wallet, identification, debit card, $25 in cash, cellular phone, car keys, water bottle, and other belongings inside it, along with a grocery sack full of snacks in the center console.
An extensive search of a two-mile radius of the woods around the spot the car was found, involving helicopters and tracker dogs, turned up no sign of Schiendelman. A week later, however, someone at the Olympia regional airport checked in on his Facebook page.
It's uncharacteristic of Schiendelman to leave without warning and his family is baffled by his disappearance. Police believe he may have been suffering from mental illness. They stated there was no evidence of foul play in his case, but also no evidence that Schiendelman is still alive. His case remains unsolved.
- Thurston County Sheriff's Office
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 1, 2018; details of disappearance updated.