Details of Disappearance
Mickey disappeared from San Marcos, California on November 27, 2009. He took his parents' Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV without permission on November 25 and went camping with friends at Anza Borrego State Park off Split Mountain Road. He left the campsite at 3:00 p.m. on November 27, presumably to go home, but never arrived and has never been heard from again.
The next day, the SUV was found damaged and stuck in the sand in a remote area of the park, eight miles from the nearest paved road. A photo of it is posted with this case summary. The keys were in the ignition, but the SUV wasn't in drivable condition; in addition to its being stuck in the sand, the front bumper and side mirror had been torn off and one of the front wheels was bent.
Many of Mickey's personal belongings, including his wallet, clothes, cellular phone charger and school identification card, were inside the vehicle, and the vehicle's spare tire cover and a blanket were found on a rocky trail less than two miles away.
After Mickey left home on November 25, his family reported the Jeep as stolen but didn't report him as a missing person, because they'd assumed he was fine and would return home in a few days. They cut off service to his cellular phone as punishment, and planned to ground him when he came home.
They didn't report him missing until after the Jeep was located. They also reactivated his phone, which disappeared along with Mickey, but he never used it again.
Investigators believe Mickey left of his own accord. The week before he disappeared, he stole his stepfather's motorcycle and went to a state park in Riverside County, California. After the motorcycle ran out of gas, Mickey walked away and met with a park ranger, then claimed he had been kidnapped and escaped. This triggered a helicopter search for the kidnappers.
Mickey later admitted he'd run away and then made up the kidnap story. He did not have a driver's license, but this was the third or fourth time he'd taken a vehicle from his parents without their consent. His family grounded him as punishment and made an appointment for him to see a psychiatrist, but he disappeared again before he could keep the appointment.
Mickey's mother stated he didn't use drugs and alcohol and didn't have any problems in the family other than the repeated vehicle thefts. She stated they were planning to give the Jeep to him once he got his driver's license.
He was involved with Future Farmers of America and took ROTC courses at school, and he enjoys working with small engines. He formerly lived in Arkansas. Mickey's stepfather is in the military and was on duty overseas at the time of Mickey's disappearance, but he came home on compassionate leave afterwards.
Although authorities stated they have found no evidence of foul play in his disappearance and said they thought he ran away, possibly to the San Diego, California area, Mickey's family fears for his safety and they believe he may not be missing voluntarily. In December 2022, hikers found some of Mickey's clothing, including his sneakers and shorts, in the area where he was last seen at. The items were tattered and sun-bleached, and appeared to have been exposed to the elements for a long time.
He was a student at San Marcos High School in 2009, and his grades had recently slipped; he had been grounded before his disappearance for bringing home a bad report card. His case remains unsolved.