Details of Disappearance
Michael was last seen in Northridge, California at noon on February 13, 1993, just before he drove to south Los Angeles, California with an older acquaintance, Evans York, also known as Hilberto Casildo. Michael was going to buy a .45 pistol. He and York planned to travel to Los Angeles, to "get money" in order to buy three pounds of marijuana for resale.
Michael has never been heard from again. He left behind all his belongings, including his video games and his favorite coat. His parents repeatedly tried to contact him on his car phone and his pager but got no response, which is uncharacteristic of him; due to his state of health, he usually kept in close touch with his family. His parents were on an overseas vacation at the time of his disappearance and his grandmother was staying at the house looking after him.
Two days after his disappearance, Michael's red 1992 Isuzu Rodeo with California license plates was found abandoned on Imperial Highway in the area of Lennox, California. York went to the authorities that same day, saying he and Michael had been kidnapped and held in Van Nuys, California, and he escaped but Michael did not. Several months later, an envelope addressed to Michael was mailed to his home. It contained his driver's license, but no note and no return address.
York was arrested on an unrelated weapons charge shortly after Michael's disappearance. In early March, while he was still in custody, he was charged with Michael's murder. Authorities believe he shot Michael to death in order to steal his car.
York's defense suggested Michael was still alive and had simply run away from home and disappeared. He was acquitted of the murder charge in September 1994. The jury stated afterwards they believed York could have killed Michael but they didn't think there was sufficient evidence to prove it.
Michael was a tenth-grade student at Granada Hills High School at the time of his disappearance. His body has never been located, but foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.