LAist: Strange Details Emerge About The USC Medical Student Who Went Missing Over A Month Ago

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 From Jean Trih at the LAist:

More details about a USC medical student’s disappearance more than a month ago were revealed today in a press conference on campus.

Although 26-year-old Derek Seehausen was reported to be last seen in Echo Park on August 5, there have been a couple of recent potential sightings of the fourth-year medical student—and his family believes he may be in San Diego.

Someone had tipped off LAPD on Sept. 10 that a man who resembled Seehausen was shuffling on Pacific Coast Highway between Solana Beach and Cardiff by the Sea. Private investigator Thomas Martin said that he believed that was him because Seehausen has plantar fasciitis, a painful disorder that affects the heel of a foot. A family spokesperson told NBC San Diego that Seehausen often visited San Diego, had friends out there, and surfed at Mission Beach often.

L.A. County Sheriff’s department deputies reported to the LAPD that they may have spotted Seehausen on a Metro bus on Sept. 5. They had been reviewing surveillance video on the bus looking for a suspect accused of sexually assaulting people on a Los Angeles bus when they spotted a man on the bus that fit Seehausen’s description.

Initially, Seehausen was last seen in Echo Park on August 5. His family has surveillance video from a Vons on Alvarado Street, where Seehausen is seen taking $200 cash out from an ATM there at 10:34 p.m. Martin said Seehausen was later seen returning keys to a friend’s house on the 1000 block of Wilshire Boulevard. Seehausen also made a payment of $2,999 off of his iPhone to a friend he owed money to, though that is not considered a factor in his disappearance. Martin does not suspect foul play. The last sighting of him was at 12:02 a.m. that night heading on foot on the 2000 block of Alvarado Street.

When Seehausen had disappeared, his family initially was afraid that he was suicidal. But they still find the timing of his vanishing bizarre. His mother, Jean Godra, said at the press conference that just a week before her son, who was an avid outdoorsman, disappeared, he posted a happy video on Facebook of him scuba diving. He emailed her soon after, telling her about dates for his spring graduation and his Christmas plans.

“As you can imagine…this is an unimaginable nightmare for our family,” Godra said. “We don’t understand it. It isn’t at all—if you took a thousand people—Derek would be the last person to do this.”

Martin, Godra and Seehausen’s close friend, Shuhan He, described him as an athletic man who was at the top of his class and loved by everyone, including his peers. He said he talked to Seehausen three days before he went missing, and said they were making plans for the next weekend to go to a dinner party and watch a movie. When He got a call from the school administrator on August 8 that Seehausen hadn’t attended class in a couple of days, he found that to be strange since Seehausen was so studious.

“Med school is a difficult place, but he was someone who handled it well,” He said. “This was not something in character for him.”

Seehausen’s family and friends set up a website in hopes of finding him. Martin said that he still believes that Seehausen is still alive and that no law enforcement from the missing persons unit has said he is dead.

Seehausen is 6 feet tall and weighs about 180 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes, and has a burn scar on his right arm. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie, a maroon t-shirt and tan shorts.

Anyone with information on Seehausen’s whereabouts is asked to contact the LAPD Adult Missing Person Unit at (213) 996-1800.


Los Angeles Register: USC med student vanishes

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From Jenna K Chandler of the Los Angeles Register: 

Tara Perry said she watched Derek Seehausen bust dorky dance moves as he flirted with women Aug. 5 at a Hollywood nightclub. Three days later, Erin Meisel said she said “hi” to him in passing at the hospital where they worked.

“He was smiling and having fun,” Perry said. “That‘s what’s saddening to us. I don’t know if there was something else to notice.”

The two women were among the last friends to talk with Seehausen – a top student at the Keck School of Medicine of USC – before he disappeared.

He was last seen on surveillance footage, shortly after midnight Aug. 6, walking by a 76 gas station on the 200 block of Alvarado Street with $200 and his driver’s license. He has been missing now for more than a month.

“It’s just as bizarre to me as it is to you,” said Shuhan He, a friend and classmate.

Some friends speculated that Seehausen wanted to vanish, perhaps stressed by the rigors of medical school and the looming transition into residency.

They said he loved hiking and camping in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. He was fit too – recently placing fifth in his age group for an Iron Man competition at Lake Placid and climbing Half Dome in sandals. It is plausible, they said, that he retreated into the wilderness.

“He’s extraordinary determined,” said his mother, Jean Gadra. “That’s why we’ve said if was planning to do this, he of course did a good job.”

In high school, Seehausen would wash dishes after family meals and remember family members’ birthdays without prompting, she said.

“I cannot imagine him doing this to his family,” she added.

Whatever the reason, private investigator Thomas Martin says he believes that Seehausen is alive.

Seehausen’s family and friends are desperate to find him.

“As you can all imagine, this is an unimaginable nightmare for our family,” Gadra said. “If you knew Derek, he’d be the last person to do this. We love him, and we want him back.”

Gadra said that shortly before he vanished, Seehausen, who grew up in Philadelphia, was making plans with family to celebrate his graduation in the spring. He posted a video of himself to his Facebook page scuba diving in kelp, “hamming it up with a lobster.”

“Derek was full of life … he said he was living the dream in California, and I knew we’d never get him back,” she said.

Asking the public to join their search, she said, “is our best and last hope finding our son.”

Contact the writer: and @jennakchandler on Twitter