Details of Disappearance
Matthews was last seen in the Fresh Pond area in Pollock Pines, California, near Highway 50, in the lower Sierra Nevada mountains, on June 6, 2014. The area is rugged and inhabited by large wild predators including bears and mountain lions. His family owned a cabin there.
He went for an afternoon hike, leaving his bicycle and other personal belongings behind at the cabin, and never returned. He left carrying only a water bottle, a hunting knife, a compass, his cellular phone and a bag of trail mix; he left all his camping gear behind. The last signal detected from his cellular phone was at 6:30 p.m. that day, near the south fork of the American River.
He has never been heard from again. He's described as an avid outdoorsman and adventurer who knew the area very well, and his parents believe he could have survived for an extended time period in the wilderness, even with the minimal provisions he had.
A few days before Matthews disappeared, someone broke into his family's cabin, ransacked it and stole clothing, jewelry, cameras, tools and other items. The damage and thefts combined added up to approximately $18,000.
The person(s) who committed the crime have not been identified and it's unclear whether the break-in had anything to do with Matthews's later disappearance. In September that year, a fire ravaged the area and burned down several residences, including the Matthews family's cabin.
Matthews has no history of leaving without warning. He was a senior anthropology major at the University of California at Berkeley at the time of his disappearance, and president of the university's Anthropology Undergraduate Association. He also belonged to the school's hip-hop club and rapped under the name MC Thor.
He graduated Etiwanda High School and had previously studied at the University of Northern Iowa and at Chaffey College, a community college in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Foul play is not suspected in Matthews's case; authorities believe he had a mishap while hiking. An extensive search of the area turned up no sign of him and his case remains unsolved.