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 HelpFindDerek.com 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.