As a child, actor Joe Pichler may be recognisable to many of us having starred in two Beethoven movies. But aged 18, Pichler vanished without a trace.
Pichler’s career started at a young age - he was just four years old when he began acting and aged six was cast in a commercial.
He managed to bag himself bigger roles as he grew, appearing in Touched by an Angel and Varsity Blues. In 2000, he was cast in Beethoven’s 3rd and reprised his role in a year later for Beethoven’s 4th.
However, just after New Year in 2006, 18-year-old Pichler disappeared.
The last contact Pichler had with anyone was just after 4am on the 5 January when he called a friend. According to the friend, Pichler had been drinking and was ‘inconsolable’ on the call.
Before he hung up, Pichler told his pal that he would call him back in an hour or so - but the call never came and no one has heard from him since.
Four days later on 9 January, his silver Toyota Corolla was found parked up near a body of water called Port Washington Narrows in Pichler’s hometown of Bremerton in Washington.
Inside there was a note, which contained two pages of poetry as well as some writing in which Pichler apologised for not being a better role model for his younger brother - he also wrote that his belongings should go to his sibling.
On 16 January, Pichler’s family officially reported him missing to the police.
After reading the note, police believe Pichler may have taken his own life, but the young actor’s family were not convinced.
In an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligence at the time, his mum said a detective told her: "I don't know how to say this to you without sounding really bad, but basically I think your son's dead, and it could take months for him to show up in the water."
However, this was disputed by a Bremerton detective who said he had told Kathy Pichler that ‘state rules require that the department obtain dental records of any missing persons who haven't been found after 40 days’.
Dismissing the note as a suicide note, Kathy added: "There was no goodbye.”
Days after his disappearance, Pichler’s sister Shawna Pichler told the Kitsap Sun: “He's probably too embarrassed to come home.
"In the worst-case scenario, if anything, it's foul play. But not suicide."
While his brother Matthew added: "He left that note saying that he wanted to start over.”
Sadly for the family, they're yet to discover exactly what happened to the talented young actor.
Anyone with any information is urged to get in touch with Bremerton Police.
Featured Image Credit: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children/Disney