Missing Man's Remains Found in Southern Calif. Desert

Nikolaos Christidis, 76, went missing from his Oceanside home on July 22

The remains of a man missing from his Oceanside home since July 22 were found in a Southern California desert Saturday near the site where his abandoned car was discovered, officials confirmed.

The remains – identified by officials as Nikolaos Christidis, 76 – were found in the Lake Los Angeles area around 10:40 a.m., Oceanside Police Department (OPD) Sgt. Gabe Jimenez said.

On Wednesday, about a mile and a half away from the remains, officials found Christidis' car abandoned in a field.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station said the vehicle was mired in soft sand about six or seven miles off a main road. Christidis, however, was not inside.

Deputies searched the area around the vehicle by ground and helicopter for any traces of the missing man to no avail that day. There were no signs of foul play or violence in or around the car, officials said.

After the discovery of the vehicle, two Oceanside police detectives and Christidis' sister traveled  from north San Diego to Lake Los Angeles to help with the search for the missing man, who vanished more than three weeks ago.

Sgt. Jimenez said deputies, police officers and search and rescue crews had been in the desert area surrounding Lake Los Angeles for the past two days searching for Christidis.

Christidis’ home in San Diego’s North County is about 140 miles away from where his abandoned car and remains were found.

On Tuesday, the Oceanside Police Department (OPD) confirmed that Christidis’ last known whereabouts were around Rosamond, Calif., on July 23 – about 36 miles from the desert site.

The OPD said all attempts to contact Christidis since he disappeared by his family and police had failed. Still, police said they did not suspect foul play in his case.

According to police, Christidis was last seen by his daughter at 10 a.m. on July 22, when he returned home with her.

She laid down take a nap. When she woke up around 4 p.m., she found a note from her father saying he would be home late. The next day at 8:26 a.m., Christidis accepted a call from his ex-wife and said he was in Escondido. He told her he would return home in 15 minutes.

But by 10:35 a.m., he had not yet returned, so his daughter gave him a call.

Christidis said he was in the desert and would be home in an hour. When his daughter called him again at about 4 p.m. on July 23, Christidis’ cellphone went straight to voicemail.

His cellphone had been turned off ever since, police said, and no one has heard from him.

Officials said Christidis was last seen on July 22 at 10 a.m. near College Boulevard and State Route 78 in Oceanside. He was driving a black, 2015 Honda Civic with the California license plate of 7JYR793 – the car that turned up in Lake Los Angeles.

Oceanside investigators issued a silver alert across three states so law enforcement and other facilities like hospitals and park rangers would aid in the search for the missing man.

According to police, Christidis has gotten lost on numerous occasions, and in one incident, he ended up in Arizona. Investigators said he has not been clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia and does not suffer from any medical conditions.

Further details of his disappearance were not released by police Saturday. The investigation is ongoing, but the OPD said foul play is not suspected at this time.

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