LYNNWOOD — Jose Sanchez Diaz was almost home when, for some reason, he turned his car around. His cellphone last emitted an electronic signal at the Mukilteo waterfront.
That was more than six months ago, the last time anyone saw or heard from him.
The 20-year-old Lynnwood man was supposed to start college last fall. His disappearance remains a mystery. Detectives suspect that he crashed his car and died and the wreckage hasn’t been found.
His family still hopes for answers.
“We’re starting to come to peace with this, that we’re not going to see him again, and that something happened to him,” said his foster mother, Karla Danson. “It’s very painful. Everybody who knew him is devastated.”
Sanchez Diaz came to the U.S. from Honduras at 17. He learned English, attended Mountlake Terrace High School and worked as a chef at Qdoba Mexican Grill.
He was last seen leaving a friend’s house in the early morning of Aug. 29. That was the weekend the region was hit by a massive summer storm with 60 mph winds.
Cellphone records and locator information showed Sanchez Diaz leaving his friend’s house about 2 a.m. He was a few blocks from home when he turned around and headed to Mukilteo. There was no call or text that might have explained the change in direction, Danson said. The phone quit emitting a signal at the beach.
A police dive team has searched the surrounding waters without success.
Sanchez Diaz spent last summer figuring out how to complete his high school diploma, Danson said. He took placement tests and met with advisers at Edmonds Community College.
“He actually had orientation scheduled the week he disappeared,” she said. “He was terribly excited. He was going around telling everybody he was starting college. That was really important to him.”
Sanchez Diaz was driving a red 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse, Washington plate number AUH2654. Anyone with information, including anyone who was at the Mukilteo waterfront during the storm, is asked to call 425-388-3845. There have been hundreds of tips about red Eclipses, Danson said. This one likely has been sitting in one place since August. It might be in a ditch or down a cliff.
As the months pass, Sanchez Diaz’ family remains thankful for the sheriff’s investigators who haven’t forgotten the quiet young man with a silly sense of humor and a lot of friends.
“The police keep telling us there has to be a logical explanation of what happened,” Danson said. “I really want people to understand this boy was loved deeply and cared for deeply.”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.