Man Vanishes After CCTV Footage Shows Him Entering Apartment But Never Leaving
Police in San Francisco have launched a search for a 50-year-old man who vanished after entering his Mission District apartment.
CCTV footage taken from the hallway of the apartment building on January 8 showed Chris Woitel entering the front door and making his way to his apartment while holding a bottle of wine.
Woitel’s family said they spoke to the computer programmer the following day, but they have not heard from him since and there is no footage of him leaving the building.
See the video of Woitel below:
The 50-year-old is known to frequent the Emeryville area and the town of Sonora in the Sierra Foothills, but his sister, Lara Haben, told KPIX 5 News that there is no trace of him being elsewhere.
She noted that it is out of character for Woitel to disappear, saying, ‘There’s been no activity. He’s not been in his apartment. There’s no activity on his bank [account]. We’re very anxious to find him.’
The concerned family filed a missing person report with San Francisco Police on January 13, and investigators found the apartment empty, with no sign of foul play and the chain on the front door still engaged.
The family also hired a private investigator to do some digging of their own. The investigator concluded that an acquaintance of Woitel was involved in the disappearance, though his family continue to wonder about his whereabouts.
Woitel’s two sisters and a brother flew to San Francisco from Chicago to help with the search, and on Friday, February 12, they spent the afternoon handing out missing persons posters near his building.
Kathy Flynn, Woitel’s other sister, said the ordeal has been ‘horrible’, adding, ‘It’s hard to sleep. It’s hard to think. It’s hard to focus on anything else. We miss him so much.’
Mission Local reports that Woitel’s final communication with the family involved a message to his niece, reading, ‘Please tell Lara to check her messages. It’s urgent’. Haben said she tried to call him back but received no answer.
The family members also noted that Woitel was acting ‘strange and paranoid’ in the days leading to his disappearance, reportedly writing unusual posts on Facebook, obsessing over the January 6 Capitol riots in DC, asking for money to replace a lost phone and talking about an escape to the mountains.
Woitel’s friends, who own property in the mountains, told Woitel’s family they had not seen him.
His brother, Frank Woitel, commented, ‘There isn’t a day goes by at this point without wondering, ‘What happened? Where is he?”
Police confirmed to KPIX that they are actively investigating the situation, but they have not revealed whether they have interviewed anyone or developed a person of interest.
The family have said that they are prepared for the worst but are hoping for the best. Flynn admitted that she is ‘fearful that something could’ve happened’, while Haben said they ‘just need him to come home’.
Woitel is described as being a 5’10” tall white male with brown hair, brown eyes, and weighing about 200 pounds. San Francisco Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit are asking for the public’s help in locating him, encouraging anyone who sees Woitel to contact their local law enforcement agency.
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