A young man withdraws hundreds of dollars with his ATM card, then vanishes.

Matthew Chase

1st composite of a possible suspect


On June 8, 1988, in Los Angeles, 22-year-old Matthew Chase returned from dinner with his roommate, Teresa Dahl.  That night, Chase remembered that he needed to deposit his pay check.  Teresa lent Matt her car and asked if he could pick up some cat food on the way home:

“It should have taken Matt approximately 10, 15 minutes to run the errand.  The bank was about two blocks from our home and normally he walked.  And that particular evening, he’d taken my car so at the most 15 minutes would be sufficient.”

2nd composite of a possible suspect

But by the next morning, Matt still had not come home.  Teresa and their other roommate, Steve, called the bank, pretending to be Matt.  They wanted to find out if he had used his bank card the night before.  The bank said he had—several times.  Steve and Teresa then called the police.  Scott Burkhart of the Los Angeles Police Department was the lead investigator on the case:

“A light came on, indicating that this is not going to be a normal, run of the mill case.  It’s going to be something that requires some in-depth investigation.  And it may not turn out to be a good case, as we call them.  When we reviewed the bank records, it indicated that he made a successful deposit of a paycheck, received cash back, and then returned to the same branch approximately 30 minutes later, and attempted to withdraw $280 which he knows is over the amount of cash he can receive per day.  The theory there would be that either he was being forced to attempt to withdraw these amounts, or he was signaling to the bank, to the computer for help.” 

Was Matt coerced to make withdrawals?

That same night, two more attempts were made to withdraw cash.  The first was for $200. It was refused because of insufficient funds.  Then, a minute later, $100 was requested.  Since Matt’s paycheck had not yet been posted, this amount was also refused.  Only eleven minutes later, the card was used at another branch in a different neighborhood.  Again, the withdrawals were unsuccessful.  But according to Burkhart, this time a hidden camera took pictures and showed a strange man standing over Matt’s right shoulder:

“According to these surveillance cameras at the branch, the person standing next to Matt was somewhat shorter, somewhat stockier, and overall, he shouldn’t have been in the photograph.  No one is going to let someone stand that close to him while they use an ATM machine where they can see the PIN number.”

Police suspect that Matt may have been abducted by the man in the photograph while he was making his first transactions. Then, in an attempt to call for help, they speculate Matt may have deliberately entered erroneous amounts, hoping to attract attention.  Over the next day and a half, there were five more withdrawal attempts.  By this time, Matt’s paycheck had cleared, so $400 was withdrawn from his account.  Finally, the card was confiscated by the machine.  But when the card was dusted for prints, none were found.  Police believed that either the card was wiped clean or that Matt’s abductor used gloves.

Did the bandana belong to Matt’s abductor?

Upon hearing of their son’s disappearance, Matt’s mother and father came down from Oregon to search for their son and for the car he drove to the bank that night.  According to Matt’s father Frank Chase, they were initially hopeful:

“At first… I think, that we were going to stumble onto the car somewhere in the near proximity of where they live.   I believe, after a couple, three nights of doing this we became very frustrated.”

Police had no immediate answers.  An attack might have left Matt injured, abducted or even worse.  Undeterred, Matt’s roommate, Steve Dahl, began distributing his picture at a local rescue mission:

“I talked to several of the people there, and a couple of the volunteers that worked at the midnight mission said, when I showed them, just his drivers license, because I’d run out of posters, said, Oh yes, we have seen him.  He’s been in here several times eating… They started to describe him to me and they said, he’s very tall and thin, isn’t he, and very lanky?  And I said, yes, exactly.  And for them to get that from one of those tiny pictures from a driver’s license, is really miraculous.  And we thought well, wow, they really have seen him and we thought we were just so close to finding him at that point.”

On June 27th, almost three weeks after Matt’s disappearance, the car he had been driving was finally found.  According to Scott Burkhart, the abandoned car was in a close proximity to where he had vanished:

“When they found that car, they ran the license plates… and it indicated that it is associated with a missing person, and I wanted the vehicle held for latent fingerprints.  They dusted it for fingerprints, looked at it for other evidence of a crime, and the car was completely void of fingerprints.”

Police found only one clue in the car—a blue bandana.  The bandana did not belong to either Matt or Teresa.  Investigators believe that the blue bandana may have belonged to Matt’s abductor.


Three months after he disappeared, the remains of Matt Chase were discovered in a ravine in nearby Pasadena.  The cause of death was a gunshot wound.

In 2018, the LAPD cleared Matthew’s case. A member of Matthew’s family said that they feel confident that Matthew’s killer was David “Bear” Meza, who died the day after Matthew disappeared. Although there is still the possibility that Meza had accomplices, the family is grateful for some closure.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Robert Stack and season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. A.H.


    According to this FB group for Matthew, police have ruled David ‘Bear’ Meza as the killer. The LAPD have cleared the case. Important update you may want to add, but we should NOTE that they aren’t ruling out other accomplices:


  2. chris

    Maybe affiliated with MS-13 clique-Centrales Locos Salvatruchos (CLS).


  3. Heather

    After looking at the artist sketches and the atm pictures enhanced; the guy with Matt appears to be 25-30, possibly younger if he was also using drugs. The reflection, is that Matts hand or another person, like a look out on the left. What is written on the windshield of the car?


  4. MSchwartz

    Please follow the Facebook group, Justice for Matthew Marshall Chase @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/375856862809034/


  5. michael

    We really need to get the actual bank surveillance photographs up here since those contained images of the actual perp. The “artist renderings” are worthless. Please contact me for access to the photographs. E-mail is provided.


  6. N

    So the abductors/killers were smart/self-aware enough to wipe down everything including the bank card itself, removing any and all traces of fingerprints, yet they “mistakenly” left behind a bandana in their gang colors, with said gangs’ initials on it? And the gun was – assumingly, since no arrests have been made nor has any new information been released – used only once then never again? Sorry but this is all very fishy and I’m not buying it for a second, sounds like the actual murderer left behind the bandana to make it appear to be a gang-related crime when it more than likely had nothing to do with said gang. The composite doesn’t even appear latino to me, he looks white as heck(although I do concede that it is not the best image).


  7. MIchael

    Several weeks ago, I phoned the Pasadena, CA police department and spoke with Sgt. Gomez and asked him to take another look at this case. He agreed. Since Matt’s body was found in Pasadena, jurisdiction falls there and NOT to Los Angeles. What proves that even further is that when the updated aired, the investigator interviewed was from Pasadena. And by the way, speaking of said investigator, whose name is Lionel Salgado, he is now a convict who pleaded guilty to groping a 14 year old girl. Does that give me confidence he handled the case properly? No, it sure doesn’t.

    For more discussion of this case and rare pictures of Matthew, join my Facebook group “Justice for Matthew Marshall Chase.” I also make an interesting observation in terms of the bank surveillance photographs. The page is in its beginning stages and I hope will expand. I was the one who unveiled a lot of info on another website that was previously unknown, such as where Matt disappeared from that people were wondering for years (7800 Fountain, Hollywood), someone used said info to update the case on the UM wiki.


    • Anonymous

      With respect, he couldn’t have been abducted from 7800 Fountain. That’s a residential area. Are you sure you didn’t mean the nearby Wells Fargo on Sunset? Or a similar nearby bank?


      • Michael

        7800 Fountain is where he lived. The first bank he went to was 2 blocks away, so he disappeared from the vicinity of that area. The segment says he left the house to go to the ATM and Teresa Dahl asks him to pick up some cat food. We know he made it to the ATM, deposited his check, received some cash back and then returned to the same ATM a half hour later. What happened and where during that 30 minutes remains a mystery.


  8. Anonymous

    Hi Unsolved Mysteries,

    Is there a law enforcement we could contact? I wonder if they ever DNA tested the bandana. If they still have it, that could hopefully solve the crime.


  9. Anonymous

    So sad, hope Matt is resting in peace


  10. astrobeing

    Lots of people around Medford knew of Matt Chase. He was in school plays and dared to have “new wave” hair in a very conservative area long before it was cool. His most famous incident was taking a mannequin to the prom — this was shocking behavior for the time and area. Theresa also wasn’t afraid to go against the grain and a lot of kids who hated the town appreciated them. After this a lot of parents were scared when their kids moved to L.A. hoping to become actors and writers.


  11. Dwe1991

    Ok if the police know that this was committed by a gang member of the los playboys. Why had they done ballistic matches from the bullet and other gunshot murders from the time around when the gentleman was suspected to have been shot. Surely if it was a gang member that same gun would have been used in other crimes.


    • Superman

      I was also deeply saddened by Matthews case and the viewing of unsolved mysteries. And those are some awesome observations. Ive also thought abot the ballistics testing theory, however, if the gun was only used once ,and then ditched or dumped somewhere, sadly, it may never be found. However, I think it would be good for authorities to investigate and compare height and weight of individuals of the gang and its known factions that would have been consistent with the individual who, it seems, was shorter and stockier than matthew.


  12. Padraic

    Just watched this one on Amazon. The face in the photograph scared me a bit.


  13. Marie

    This case has always scared me. I hope they solve it.


  14. Dan

    I grew up knowing him. We went to junior high school together and I went to high school with his brother. His parents are great people. I also know steve and Theresa Dahl. It made me sick when this happened. I remembered him at my birthday party and at school at Hedrick. May he be resting in Christ’s gentle arms and may justice be served


    • N

      That is really cool, thank you so much for sharing! He sounds like an awesome dude. So often I feel like many people almost “forget” that these are indeed real people, with families and friends and lovers and lives; they’re no different from us, really. Instead we see them as entertainment or a game of “Clue”… so the more “humanizing” comments are always really neat and this one was no different. Thank you.


  15. Chanita

    Somethings Not Right Here Why Did matt allow That Man To Get So close To Him I Really Do Believe That Matt Was Murdered! And To That Jerk The One Person Who Killed Matt I Hope You Rot In Hell You Stupid Idot!





    • Butch

      This is genuinely the single stupidest comment ever posted to this website. Take comfort knowing that nobody finds this amusing in the least.


    • CC

      It said plainly in the episode that he took his paycheck and his bank card with him when he went to the bank and left his wallet behind.


  17. Yosef

    I just saw this again the other day on a rerun, and reminded me what a scary and terrible world this can be with wicked people. I really wish I actually could help solve this case, but I was only 6 months old on the other side of the country in 1988. I pray that one day the scum responsible for taking his life are brought to justice, in this world and the next. May Matt’s memory be a blessing and may his soul have an elevation. Shalom


  18. Johnny

    The Matthew Chase murder is a cautionary tale for anyone going to ATM late at night. He would still be alive if he waited to the next morning to deposit his check. A sad day for his family and friends when his body was found. Anybody could have been the victim as the perpetrators stalked the ATM. Hope they find these killers. It’s been over 25 years.


  19. What do I do?

    my neighbor looks identical to the second drawing/sketch.


  20. Chris

    I believe a family member had him killed for future financial gain,dads business split in two instead of thirds came to about a $300,000 difference. I use past tense cuz matts father dies suspiciously yet ruled accidental on 8/31/07,plenty of time between the two deaths to avoid an obvious connection.


    • Ryan

      His dad, who was $300,000 in debt, killed him for his $400 paycheck? That’s what you think happened? Really?! Likely not.


  21. Dilemma

    Whoever killed Mathew chase was a member of the Playboy Gang which is pretty big in Los Angeles. The bandana is a huge clue and the playboy click all use the PBS CLS acronyms. Police need to interview PBS member from the time when Matthew Chase was killed and I think they can still bring the killer to justice.



    • v

      exactly was going to post the same thing. probably a lot of people caught that


    • McGee

      I agree with some of the commenters above ,the killers were definitely East Side Play Boy, Chicos Locos sect. There is a good chance that Maty’s killer or killers, is dead or in jail- with this murder occurring 29 years ago. I do think that detectives should reach out to some of the living gang members who be in theirs 40’s or 50’s to figure it out; I am sure that LAPD has these guys names in a database. If the person or persons who commited this murder is dead, they could at least close the case. If by chance all of them are living or free, I am sure some one would be able to point out the killer.


    • Frank

      I grew up in the santa monica/western area of east hollywood and area that was run by MS 13 with White fence to the north, Clanton 14 and La Mirada to the east. What I do know is that unlike the PBS from Pico Union, the east side PBS is cut from the same cloth as the new gangs that grew from the immigration from central america. I was born in El Salvador and was brought here in 1979 so I grew up with these kind of gang members. Here’s the bad part, these new gang members came from worn torn countries where they had not just seen violence they had participated in it. The difference is in this country the cops or soldiers were not going to kill you and so there was less fear of law enforcement. Trust me the cops didnt patrol my neighborhood like they did in Los Feliz, where there were no gangs. Unfortunately Matt most certainly died soon after he was unable to produce money and was disposed of in the way many things are disposed of in our home country. It is burned. The best hopes of finding information would be someone incarcerated, from that gang, who knows something about the case and at his older age is starting to reflect on his life. Or a veterano who has probably moved on from the area but his tattoos still give him away. Of course these are only my opinions and experience but I hope the S.O.B that did this is brought to justice now that he has a family and a reason to live, only then will the punishment be effective. I’ll take dead also, DNA the rag this guy is in the system.


  22. Royy

    The guy who murdered him probably died by now they need to start investigating again


  23. Aly

    This young man appeared to have been murdered by the gang mentioned above. Police would need to investigate that. That plus forensics there has to be something. They saw him as an easy target. It’s sad and unfortunate. But the police needs to put these pieces together. No one deserves to die that way.


  24. Josh R

    I remember when this case was first profiled. It is very sad and very scary. I agree with the above comment “Has this case gotten a fresh look”. With the technology available today, it should. May Matthew Chase rest in peace. My condolences to his family and friends. It is a horrible tragedy that needs to be solved.


  25. Pretty Clear

    It seems pretty obvious that the Latino gang “Los Playboys” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboys_gang) robbed him at the ATM. They killed him, hopefully without raping him first. Really sad.


  26. Rebecca

    So sad for his young man who had his life ahead of him, and for someone take it away. Prayers goes out to his family, this kind of closure is never easy. Rest in peace Matt


  27. slueth k

    I know police have probably checked on the bandana…es playboys in la


  28. drey

    Guy looks like someone I know


  29. Bill

    Has this case gotten a fresh look? No DNA on the bandanna? How about a computer enhanced picture, with one of those updated height weight, full face computer generated pictures/estimates. I’d love to work this case.