Details of Disappearance Jose was last seen in Panama City, Florida on March 3, 2014. He was a mechanical engineering major at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and had traveled to Florida with twenty-two other students for a Spring Break trip. He and some friends rented a house on Front Beach Road.
He disappeared at 7:00 p.m. on March 3, four days into the trip, and has never been heard from again. His friends reported his disappearance to the police at 11:00 the next morning, after they found some of his clothes at the beach. The clothes had not apparently been there when cleanup crews cleaned the beach at 6:00 a.m. that day. Authorities found some more of his clothing and his cellular phone in or near a trash bin behind the rental house. His wallet, laptop computer and suitcase were left inside his bedroom in the rental house.
Investigators speculated Jose had drowned while swimming in the ocean under the influence of drugs. Jose's friends told them he had taken LSD and made strange remarks before his disappearance about wanting to hurt himself, but his family said he was looking forward to graduation and getting a job, and wasn't suicidal. They also stated drug use was uncharacteristic of him. The water in the area was also still cold at that time of year and very few people were swimming.
According to Jose's family, by the time they arrived in Florida on March 5, sixteen of the students Jose went there with had already packed their things and returned home. Those sixteen were never questioned by police. Of the six who remained, two of them refused to speak to the family and one of those even hired a lawyer. The other four provided different stories as to what had happened to him.
Jose is a native of New York and graduated from Shaker High School there. He disappeared during his last semester at Rice University and would have graduated with a straight-A average. His case remains unsolved.
- Bay County Sheriff's Department
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 19, 2021; picture added.