A rock band bass player-turned-computer whiz vanishes after telling a 911 operator he was going to commit suicide.
On February 12, 1995, a Los Angeles, California, 911 operator received a phone call from a man who said that he was going to kill himself. Then he hung up. Right after making the 911 call, he disappeared, and his wife and the police are still trying to understand why.
His name was Philip Taylor Kramer. Philip, known to his friends as Taylor, was the bass player for the rock band Iron Butterfly during the 1970s. By the 1990’s, Taylor had settled down with his wife and two children. Taylor was also a math and computer whiz who had founded his own high-tech multi-media company in 1990. According to Jennifer Kramer, Taylor’s wife, in the weeks leading up to his disappearance, he had been working around the clock on a new breakthrough project:
“He said, ‘It’s very simple. It’s been here the whole time. It’s so simple that no one has discovered it.’ And he said, ‘Imagine, Jennifer, a computer and a camera being able to find a missing child in a sea of thousands of people by just showing the computer a small piece of that child’s face, and then finding that child in a fraction of a second.’”
According to Jennifer, Taylor’s behavior grew more and more bizarre:
“The day before he disappeared, we went on a hike to the top of the hill by our house and we looked across and you can see the whole valley where we live. And there’s a cross up on the hill that belongs to one of the colleges nearby. And he turned around and he pointed to the cross and he said, ‘Look, honey, our house is right in the path of this cross.’ He started to see sacredness in everything.”
The day after the hike, Taylor left home around 9:00 A.M. He planned to pick up friends who were flying into town. Taylor went to the airport as scheduled, but left before his friends arrived. From his car, he made a series of phone calls. One of the calls was to Iron Butterfly drummer, Ron Bushy:
“His voice sounded stressed and scared, like maybe he’d even been crying. I don’t know. But apparently, he also called Jennifer and a lot of other people.”
During Taylor’s call to Jennifer, he told her that he would not be able to meet his friends at the airport. Jennifer also said that he told her he would always be with her:
“I said, ‘Taylor, where are you? Where are you going? What are you doing?’ And I started to get scared and I thought something was wrong with him.”
Jennifer also said Taylor told her he’d meet his friends at their hotel that afternoon:
“Really calmly and lovingly, like he normally talks to me, he said, ‘When I see you, honey, I have a big surprise for you.’ But I knew in my gut that Taylor wasn’t going to be at the hotel. I just knew that he wouldn’t be there.”
In May of 1999, four years after Taylor’s disappearance, two hikers exploring Decker Canyon near Malibu Beach discovered the rusted shell of his van. Taylor’s remains were inside. The cause of death was a blunt force trauma, but authorities can’t determine whether his death was a suicide, an accident, or a homicide.