Matthew David Pendergrast

Pendergrast, circa 2000

  • Missing Since 12/01/2000
  • Missing From Memphis, Tennessee
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 01/04/1977 (47)
  • Age 23 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6, 110 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A black leather cord necklace with a blue crystal pendant.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Navy blue 1998 Toyota 4Runner SUV with the Georgia license plate number 934-PT (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Pendergrast is right-handed. He has facial dimples. His nicknames are Matt and Mateo.

Details of Disappearance

Pendergrast was a student at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee in 2000; he was within two weeks of graduation. His family resided in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father worked as a plastic surgeon.

He was last seen leaving his residence in Memphis between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. on December 1, 2000. He was driving his navy 1998 Toyota 4Runner with the Georgia license plate number 934-PT at the time.

He was scheduled to attend a Spanish class four blocks from his home that morning. He never arrived and has not been seen again. He apparently called a friend in Atlanta that morning; it was the last time anyone has heard from him.

Pendergrast's SUV was discovered abandoned in Lonoke County, Arkansas at approximately 2:00 p.m. that day. The vehicle was located on a private dirt road off of south Kerr Road near Interstate 40, parked near the edge of Bayou Meta, a swamp often used by area hunters. It was unlocked and his keys were in the ignition.

About 100 yards away were his clothes: blue jeans, a t-shirt, shoes and socks. His wallet, containing his driver's license and other identification, as well as credit cards and $46 in cash, was still in the jeans pocket. There was no sign of Pendergrast near his vehicle. Extensive searches of the surrounding area produced no clues as to his whereabouts.

The police found Pendergrast's journal inside his abandoned vehicle. In it he wrote about "Silver Elves" and seeking immortality, and about "walking into water and becoming one with nature again." It's unclear what he meant in these writings and whether his journal has any bearing on his case.

His family doesn't believe he would have taken his own life, and there's no evidence that he was involved with drugs or any other illegal activity.

Authorities have classified Pendergrast's disappearance as suspicious; at least one investigator believes the scene with his clothing was staged. It's uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Arkansas State Police
  • 800-553-3820
  • Lonoke County Sheriff's Department
  • 501-676-6494
  • 501-843-2611

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated June 14, 2017; details of disappearance updated.