A car belonging to an Oceanside man missing for nearly three weeks was found abandoned in a field in the Lake Los Angeles area Wednesday, officials confirmed.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station said the vehicle belonging to Nikolaos Christidis, 76, was found around 10 a.m. Mired in soft sand, the car was located 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, the department said. There were no signs of foul play or violence in or around the car, officials say.
Two Oceanside police detectives and Christidis' sister have traveled to Lake Los Angeles to help with the search.
Christidis has been missing from his home since July 22. His home in San Diego’s North County is about 140 miles away from where his abandoned vehicle was 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 site of the abandoned vehicle.
The OPD said all attempts to contact Christidis since he disappeared by his family and police have 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, but as she awoke at about 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 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 voice mail.
His cellphone remains turned off, 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.
Investigators said Christidis is a white man of Greek descent who stands 5-feet-7-inches and weighs 175 pounds. He has gray hair and brown eyes.
Oceanside investigators issued a silver alert across three states so law enforcement and other facilities like hospitals and park rangers will look for him.
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.