Nearly five months have passed since a young man from east San Diego vanished without a trace and investigators are pressing on, searching for clues to his mysterious disappearance.
The El Cajon Police Department (ECPD)said Friday that its Crimes of Violence Unit is continuing to look for leads to help find Elijah Bear Diaz, 20, an El Cajon resident missing since last summer.
According to investigators, Diaz was last seen on Aug. 29, 2015, at around 10 p.m. That night, Diaz’s mother, Lelanie Thompson, dropped him off at his home on Joey Avenue in the East County.
That was the last time she saw him.
The next day, at around 4 p.m., Diaz’s mother stopped by his home to bring him dinner. He was nowhere to be found. Immediately, she reported him missing.
As the investigation unfolded, detectives with the ECPD discovered that Diaz’s cell phone had been turned off since Aug. 30, 2015.
Detectives also found that Diaz’s 50-inch television was missing from his bedroom, along with his bed sheets and the contents of a safe he kept in his room.
With each passing day – 145 days now, to be exact – Diaz’s family has grown more concerned. Family members and friends have had zero contact with Diaz since he disappeared.
Investigators said the young man also has not used any social media to contact loved ones since he was reported missing. There has also been no activity on Diaz’s bank account.
“At this time, police do not know if Elijah Bear Diaz is voluntarily missing or if he has been a victim of foul play,” authorities said in a press release Friday.
Diaz is Native American and a member of the Barona Indian Tribe. He is diabetic and, at the time he vanished, was using crutches to move around due to an injury to his left foot, investigators said. A backpack containing his diabetes medicine was also gone from his room.
For now, his case remains unsolved.
A billboard about his case is on display on southbound State Route 67 at Mapleview Street in Lakeside as detectives keep searching for information on Diaz’s whereabouts. A banner that reads "Bring Bear Home" is also on display outside Diaz's home.
His family planned to speak with reporters Friday morning and give the latest updates on the search for their loved one.
“He was picked up. Somebody has knowledge of where he is, what happened that night,” Thompson told NBC 7 on Friday.
“They may be talking to the public; they may be talking to their friends. Somebody overheard something. I would like you to contact Crime Stoppers and let them in on the tips you may know,” Diaz’s mother pleaded.
Another search for Diaz around El Cajon is planned for Saturday, with the aid of police K-9s.
Anyone with information on Diaz should contact the ECPD’s Crimes of Violence Unit at (619) 441-5530 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipster can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information on this case.
His family has also created a website with updates on Diaz’s case, Bring Bear Home.
Following Diaz’s disappearance last year, his family hired a private investigator who believed his case was highly suspicious. At one point, Diaz’s family, friends and even volunteers went door-to-door around El Cajon trying to remind the public that he was still missing.
Diaz’s family has described him as 5-foot-10 and 110 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
“Please continue to spread the word,” the Bring Bear Home website states. “And pray that the truth is revealed.”