A young man withdraws hundreds of dollars with his ATM card, then vanishes.
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:
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:
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:
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 By this time, Matt’s paycheck had cleared, so $400 was withdrawn from his account.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.
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:
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:
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:
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.