CA CA - Peter McColl, 16, Berkeley, 28 Aug 1995

Discussion in '1990's Missing' started by SadieJane, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. SadieJane

    SadieJane New Member

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    http://charleyproject.org/cases/m/mccoll_peter.html
    Missing Since: August 28, 1995 from Berkeley, California
    Classification: Endangered Missing
    Date Of Birth: July 30, 1979
    Age: 16 years old
    Height and Weight: 6'0, 160 pounds
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown hair, blue eyes. McColl has slight scarring near the tip of his right pinky finger. He is extremely nearsighted; he has 20/400 vision. He was wearing his contact lenses with him at the time of his disappearance and did not carry his eyeglasses. McColl may wear his hair tied back in a ponytail. He may have a moustache, beard or a goatee. McColl's nickname is Rainbow. He may have a tattoo of a skull on his upper left arm.
    Clothing Description: A light gray t-shirt with "Berkeley Crew" imprinted on the front, a light gray sweatshirt with "US Rowing" imprinted on the front, black jeans and Dr. Marten boots.
    McColl was last seen departing from his family's residence near The Alameda in Berkeley, California at approximately 11:00 a.m. on August 28, 1995. He told his brother that he planned to walk to the bus stop and take a bus to Cody's Bookstore near Salon Avenue and Telegraph Avenue. McColl never returned home and has not been heard from again. His wallet was discovered after his disappearance, but his identification cards were missing.



    The driver of the AC Transit bus 43, near the corner of Redwood Road and 35th Street in Berkeley, claims McColl asked him directions to Montclair, California on the day of his disappearance. He appeared to have a prearranged meeting with an unidentified teenaged boy whom the bus driver also saw. The boy was 16 to 18 years old with blond hair, well-dressed, accented speech. The boy has never been identified and the bus driver's sighting about McColl has not been confirmed. A cab driver claims he drove a young man fitting McColl's description, and a teenaged girl with red-streaked hair, to the airport to catch a Southwest Airlines flight shortly after McColl disappeared. This sighting has not been confirmed either and inquiries at the airline have not turned up any relevant information.

    It is unclear if McColl left of his accord. He may have traveled to Oregon, Florida, Louisiana or Washington. McColl is a guitar player and served as a rower on the Berkeley High School crew team. He enjoyed hiking along the trails of Tilden Park. An extensive search of the area produced no clues as to McColl's whereabouts. He was an honors student in 1995. He disappeared only a week before the start of his junior year. McColl's family members said that he did not place any unusual phone calls prior to his disappearance. It is uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. McColl was not carrying any additional clothing or money when he vanished. His case remains unsolved.
    Thoughts on this case? Runaway? Sucked into a cult? Peter has always reminded me of a guy I was friends with in high school (not that they're the same person-- just similiar) and I wonder if he's out there playing guitar somewhere.
     
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  3. augustday

    augustday Sibling of missing person

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    Hi SadieJane, I am so glad that you are interested in this case. Peter is my little brother and we have had no leads for a long time. The leads we did have were weak, and have not produced any answers. There are some inconsistencies in the description of Peter and circumstances of his disappearance that you described- that I'd like to clarify:

    His wallet was discovered after his disappearance, but his identification cards were missing.

    His ID was not missing. In fact, his driver's license arrived in the mail two weeks after he disappeared.

    My Dad and I interviewed the bus driver (the 43 bus) who claimed to have seen Peter. The driver said he saw Peter get on the bus on Solano avenue, where he asked for directions to get to Montclair and, asked the time (so he was not wearing a watch). He said Peter got off the 43 in downtown Berkeley to get on another bus to transfer to Montclair (the 51). The bus driver then said he saw Peter in Montclair later that day, while the bus driver was on a lunch break. He said Peter was with a clean cut, caucasian boy with an English accent, and that Peter approached the bus driver to ask for "change" which he did not give him. The coincidence of this astounds me and I have wondered if the bus driver made that part up, hoping for a reward (especially since my Dad has an Australian accent). The bus driver later met with a police sketch artist to make a sketch of the companion who was supposedly with Peter when he saw him in Montclair. There is absolutely no reason I can think of why Peter would go to Montclair unless there was a pre-arranged meeting. There is nothing of interest there and it is obvious he had not taken the bus there before. He had no friends there or other connections.

    The other important detail is that the bus driver said Peter was talking with a girl with red-streaked hair when he was on the 43, just before he got off. The girl was confirmed to be Nichole Zotti, another high school student from Berkeley High, who knew Peter, but not well. She also was missing that day, for a few days, but her parents tracked her down in Southern California. There was no connection made between her disappearance that day and Peter's. However, another odd coincidence.

    Besides these sightings the day of his disappearance, we have had very little to go on. No contact from Peter whatsoever.

    Peter was a loving brother and son, responsible, smart, strong, mature in many ways. He was not at odds with my parents, and there was no argument or apparent strain between them beyond that of normal teen age independence. The idea that he would run away and NEVER contact us again is inconceivable to me. This has been so painful for the family, and there is never closure.

    I WELCOME any and every body's help in taking up this cold case, thinking outside the box, looking at every angle. I'm so glad to have found this forum. I have more details I could provide about his disappearance if you have questions.

    Thanks
    Rebecca McColl
     
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  4. SadieJane

    SadieJane New Member

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    Hi, Rebecca. Thank you so much for posting about your brother. I can't imagine how hard this has been for you and your family. From his pictures, Peter seems like a great young man, and I know his disappearance has left a huge hole in your lives.

    Question: Is this part of his case summary a misstatement? Was there such a cab driver, and were you able to speak to him?
    Did Nichole confirm that Peter was on the bus that day? Did she give any information as to what they talked about, or what his state of mind was?

    Where was his wallet found, and who returned it to you? Was it fingerprinted by police?

    Why was it believed that Peter might have traveled to Oregon, Florida, Louisiana or Washington? Did he have friends or family in those areas?

    Did Peter have access to a computer at the time he disappeared? Did he frequent any particular sites or forums where he could have met someone from his area and agreed to meet up with them?

    Thank you again for posting! I hope the posters here will be able to help you make progress in finding Peter.
     
  5. augustday

    augustday Sibling of missing person

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    Hi SadieJane, There was indeed a cab driver who called in after seeing Peter's missing poster (within a few days of him disappearing), saying he think he took him and a girl to the airport in a cab. The police took the call I believe. At that time, the police were not running around interviewing people like they do on TV, there was little support from them, the detective on the case assumed Peter had run away and was spending a lot of time reading through his personal letters and diaries and not a lot of time out on the streets with us looking. It was frustrating. It was me, my mom and my dad, who did the hard sleuthing. When we heard about the tip from the cab driver, my parents called all the airlines at Oakland airport to see if Peter had gotten on a plane, but there was no trail or sign of him, so that tip was dropped as a mis-identity. Now what caught my eye was that in the news story it said that the man was with a girl with red streaked hair.

    The bus driver that I tracked down (again no police help), by calling all the ATC bus drivers until we figured out what route Peter would be on, did confirm that he saw Peter. My Dad and I met him at the ATC headquarters on his lunch break and sat down with that driver for an hour. He did say Peter was talking with a girl before he got off the bus to transfer to the 51 in downtown berkeley. She stayed on the bus after Peter got off to transfer to Montclair. Somehow we figured out that this girl was Nichole Zotti, who also went missing that day. And Nichole had red streaked hair... Again, the cab driver or the bus driver could have subconsciously read about that detail and put it into their own stories, or, somehow it is connected. Or, the cab driver say Nichole but the man she was with going to the airport was not Peter (the most likely).

    My mom talked with Nichole Zotti's mother on the phone, and it turned out that Nichole did go to southern california with a boy, drugs were involved (an acid trip?) and then she showed up three days later. Nichole I believe gave a statement about seeing Peter on the bus that morning but that was the extent of her contact with him. She said he got off the bus and she stayed on. They only knew each other because they went to the same school, and it was a brief interchange. I've always been curious about this though, and wish I could talk to Nichole again.

    The idea that Peter could be in certain states like Florida or Oregon, is pretty irrelevant I think. That part of earlier missing posters came from sightings from a truck driver who claimed he saw Peter in Florida. The FBI got involved and confirmed that he did NOT see Peter after interviewing the truck driver and showing him a detailed video of Peter. His nickname was not Rainbow, either, as some posters on the web say. This was another tip from a street kid in Seattle who said he spent time with Peter. We interviewed him extensively, and we think he made it up, too many things just don't add up at all about that story. We thought Peter may be with the gypsy like commune called the "Rainbows" for a while, and my parents have broadcast his poster throughout that community and at events for years, but again with very weak leads that lead now where.

    We never found Peter's wallet. We never found any trace of him after his disappearance.
     
  6. gardenmom

    gardenmom Former Member

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    Hi Rebecca. You mentioned that his ID card was mailed to you two weeks after his disappearance. Who mailed it to you?
    In reading about your brother on Charley Project I noticed some errors that you pointed out. You can contect Meghan Goode that runs that website and ask her to correct the errors. She posts on here too. I think a significant thing is that he does not have his ID cards with him, as we are led to believe. Have you tried to find out if his social security number has been used? If he applied for a job, you should be able to find out. Did he have any ATM or credit cards on him and have they been used? How much money could he have had on him? Did he use drugs?
    Maybe you should try to contact Nichole again. She is an adult now, so she might be willing to discuss this with you. Hopefully she has her life together now and may be helpful. Do you know if Nichole got on that airplane?
    Do you know if Peter ever made it to the book store?
     
  7. HollywoodBound

    HollywoodBound New Member

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    I'm trying to think of some reasons Peter might take a trip to Montclair. I see he was a guitar player living in Berkeley, CA. Was he a Dead Head? I know Jerry Garcia died in August of 1995 in CA which is the same month/year/state Peter went missing. Jerry's death had occured a few weeks before Peter goes missing. The reason I'm asking is because the Grateful Dead have had more than their fair share of missing fans, and I'm wondering if Dead Heads gathered in the weeks following Jerry's death.
    Just throwing stuff out there...
     
  8. augustday

    augustday Sibling of missing person

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    Hi, His driver's license came in the mail from the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. I just think it is strange that if he really was planning to go away that he would leave before he received his driver's license- just seems like something he'd be proud to get, etc. Unless he really did not want to be identified.

    Nothing of his was ever found or fingerprinted by the police after he left. He left with just the clothes on his back. There was cash left in a container on his desk at home. He did not even bring his glasses. He was wearing contacts when he left.

    We questioned people at Cody's book store (where he said he was going when he left) and nobody claimed to have seen him.

    He was just barely 16, just a teen ager. He had an electric guitar that he would fool around on but he was not a professional guitar player by any means. He just liked music, just like any other teen ager. He was not a dead head. He liked listening to Peter Gabriel, Jimmy Hendrix, Sting, the band Yes (it looked like he had been listening to a Yes CD when I searched through his room the day after).

    He was reading books about the library books about the big bang theory and astrophysics, poetry by TS Elliot (a book I had given him recently for his birthday), and a library book of Walt Whitman poetry was face down open by his bed. He had a map of the United States on his wall with push pins in lots of states, he was dreaming about taking a road trip and where he would go. He was also very much into reading the Bible and involved in our family church at the time- the Christadelphians. He was very, very smart. Into math and physics, and philosophy.

    I would like to talk to Nichole and I will try to find her to see if I can. I do remember Nichole said that she knew Peter like to talk to street people on Telegraph avenue and around UC Berkeley, just to engage them and listen. He was the type of guy who listened to a lot of different kinds of people. There were kids that said he helped them through their problems at school. He was a great listener. However no one seemed to know what was going on with him personally. He was very private about his own stuff.

    No trace of social security or ATM cards used. No trace of phone calls made or computer out of the unusual.

    There were two other sightings the day he disappeared- two girls who knew him thought they saw him sitting in the back of the 43 bus at about 4pm later that day, heading down Solano avenue past where he should have gotten off to go to our home. They were sitting at the bus stop when the bus went by.

    Also, a woman in a Goodwill store in downtown Berkeley said she thinks she remembered him buying shirt there. He had been in there before so that is why she recognized him.
     
  9. gardenmom

    gardenmom Former Member

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  10. Stella

    Stella Member

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    Did Peter ever go to or hang out at the Sutro Baths? A lot of people have gone missing around there over the years. Just a thought.
     
  11. californiacarrie

    californiacarrie New Member

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    BUMP. Peter's case is one of those that has always stuck out in my mind - I think mostly because he is close to me in age and sounds like someone I would love to date :)

    There is such a huge underground for runaway teens in San Francisco and often times, many of those teens don't start off as runaways (they are coerced, kidnapped, drugged, pimped, etc).

    I've also often wondered if Peter may have gotten himself involved in the Earth Liberation Front(?) or one of those nutty enviornmental groups who target young kids like Peter to do most of their dirty work (think Daniel Andreas SanDiego - RCALB).

    Rebecca, if you're still around, have you been able to locate Nichole? I wonder if there's any sleuthers here who might be able to help you find her. It really does seem odd to me that they were on the same bus and possibly the same cab and both went missing the same day. It would be good to know more about the events of her day that day (like if she really rode in a cab, and if so with who, and what that person looked like, and how she got involved with whoever it was that took her to socal, etc).

    It really irritates me when the police make assumptions (like a missing teen is always a runaway). Even if they ARE a runaway, shouldn't they still be searched for? Shouldn't someone still attempt to find where they went? Look at that girl who was found the other day - the one who was living with (and probably being abused by) a couple who stated they were saving her from her parents. Just because she was a runaway doesnt mean she wasn't in danger.
     
  12. HollywoodBound

    HollywoodBound New Member

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    Bumping this thread. Any new information on Peter?
     
  13. augustday

    augustday Sibling of missing person

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    I did locate a friend of Nichole's who I am in e-mail correspondence. Apparently Nichole is currently in prison for drug-related offenses... I'm hopeful that someday I can actually connect with her and ask her what she knows or if there is any possible connection between her and my brother...
     
  14. MsRusty

    MsRusty New Member

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    Rebecca, I sent you an email through websleuths. Let me know if you receive it.
     
  15. audrey77

    audrey77 CJ Analyst

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    I wonder if the Brethren (Garbage Eaters) have been ruled out... especially if he was a spiritual and philosophical person...
     
  16. GaryT

    GaryT New Member

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    Rebecca,

    I have followed the case of your missing brother ever since you wrote and told me back in 1995. As I have travelled around the world, I have tried to follow it as much as possible over the net. Not much times goes by without me thinking about you and your family and the heartache you have been through - you are still, after these last 13 years, very much in my thoughts and prayers. For me it seems hard to believe that nothing concrete has come from all your investigations - I only hope that one day you are able, in some form, to get closure.

    Kind regards
    Gary Thorvaldsen
    Wollongong, Australia
     
  17. augustday

    augustday Sibling of missing person

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    The anniversary of his disappearance is this week. A hard time. If anyone has more ideas for possible leads please post. thank you
     
  18. OilPainter

    OilPainter New Member

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    Hi Rebecca. I'm sorry for all the pain you and your family are going through. I'm acquainting myself with this story and really don't have much to add except that I really hope you have some sort of closure in this.

    I'm sure this has been thought of but did Peter have a close friend or confidant? Maybe someone who spoke with him that could fill you in on something previously overlooked. One of those situations where they might not think it was a clue but in reality - a pretty big one.

    You also mentioned journals and personal writings...do anything in them emerge as possible clues? Perhaps giving them to someone else to read who is 'on the outside' of this story might help.

    Any private investigators involved? I know they're expensive but have you ever thought of presenting this case to a CJ professor? Maybe getting a class involved? Twenty five extra pairs of eyes might see something everyone else is missing.

    This makes me very sad. Peter looks like one handsome, great kid. I will continue to think about this and see if I can come up with anything else.

    Take care.
     
  19. birdie74

    birdie74 New Member

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    Rebecca, do you know who the boy was who ran away with Nichole, or anything about him?
     
  20. augustday

    augustday Sibling of missing person

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    Thank you, any angle or out of the box thinking helps... We have so few leads...
     
  21. augustday

    augustday Sibling of missing person

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    Yes, we did look into this idea within the first five years of his disappearance. We got in touch with a parent support group (parents of other kids who had joined and were trying to track them down). They are a very elusive and secretive group, asking people to abandon their families and change their names. So this is a possibility... But we were not able to find Peter at that time... We even met with some parents who had obtained a video tape of three boys with Garbage Eaters on the street (in Seattle), one of which looked like Peter. We had the video professionally analyzed and it was concluded this was NOT him (facial structure, etc). So I think we stopped looking down that road after that. He was a person that like to talk to people about God and the meaning of life, often stopping to talk to people on the street (like Telegraph avenue in Berkeley) and debate ideas. So it could still be a possibility...
     

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