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Trauma Takes Its Toll

After multiple organized searches by family, friends and volunteers; a hat, torn t-shirt with what appeared to be blood on it and car key belonging to Matthew Weaver Jr. was found

Father of Missing Person Matthew Weaver Jr. Could Face Multiple Attempted Murder Charges After Shootout

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The father of 21-year-old missing person Matthew Weaver Jr. is in police custody today after a mental health breakdown caused Matthew Weaver Sr. to engage in a shootout with CHP after they responded to a stolen vehicle call at Weaver’s property in Sylmar last night at approximately 8:30 p.m.

According to Colleen Weaver-Farrell, Weaver Jr.’s sister and daughter to Weaver Sr., her father’s mental health has been rapidly declining since his son went missing two years ago, on August 10th, 2018, near Stunt and Schueren Rd.

The Weaver family held a two-year memorial gathering at the site on August 10th, 2020 hoping to collect more information the help find Matthew Jr.

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Shortly after his son went missing, Weaver Sr. contacted The Local Malibu distraught over Matthew Jr.’s disappearance and the lack of attention he was getting from the media to find his son. Matthew Weaver Sr. asked for help after noticing our efforts for exposing the law enforcement cover-up in the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings lead to global attention for that story.

Weaver Sr. was extremely frustrated by the response by CHP, LASD and LAPD, who appeared less than motivated to find 21 year old Matthew Jr. Even though the area where he went missing, known as Dark Canyon, was also the area where two other high profile missing persons cases, Mitrice Richardson and Elaine Park, initially went missing.

Search and Rescue responding to the disappearance of Matthew Weaver Jr. August 10th, 2018 at the intersection of Stunt and Schueren Rd.

Search and Rescue responding to the disappearance of Matthew Weaver Jr. August 10th, 2018 at the intersection of Stunt and Schueren Rd.

Mitrice Richardson’s partially mummified naked remains were found at the edge of a creek bed in Dark Canyon 11 months after being released under very suspicious circumstances from Lost Hills Sheriff station, and only 1.5 miles from where she was last seen.

Elaine Park and Matthew Weaver Jr. still remain missing.

According to family members, LAPD, the lead agency on the case based on Matthew Jr.’s residence (as opposed to the jurisdiction where he went missing), has been increasingly difficult to work with. The agency has changed detectives on the case five times, each detective not showing any real interest in solving Weaver Jr’s disappearance despite the family delivering extensive information directly to detectives in hopes of getting answers.

After multiple organized searches by family, friends and volunteers; a hat, torn t-shirt with what appeared to be blood on it and car key belonging to Matthew Weaver Jr. was found on January 27th, 2019, by Matthew’s sister Colleen and step-mom not far from where Matthew was last seen. The evidence handed over to the former head of Search and Rescue at the Malibu Lost Hills Station remained in an evidence locker at the station for approximately three months. Repeated pleas by the family to get LAPD to collect the evidence for testing were ignored.

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After multiple organized searches by family, friends and volunteers; a hat, torn t-shirt with what appeared to be blood on it and car key belonging to Matthew Weaver Jr. was found.

With no where else to turn, a very frustrated and emotionally exhausted Matthew Weaver Sr. contacted The Local Malibu asking for assistance. Contributor Dr. Ronda Hampton contacted Sheriff Alex Villanueva directly to expedite the transfer of the evidence from LASD to LAPD. Finally, and again after repeated demands to have the bloody t-shirt tested for Weaver Jr.’s DNA, multiple hits came back inconclusive.

To date, the family continues to be stonewalled when requesting information regarding the night Weaver Jr. went missing. The initial incident report has still not been made available to the family, who continues to get the runaround by multiple agencies. LASD has “not located” a report although the incident happened in their jurisdiction. CHP, the first responding law enforcement agency at the scene, told the family they have nothing on record for that night other than the 911 call.

The incident report contains crucial witness information for that evening regarding the 911 call where the callers reported screams for help after finding Matthew Jr’s. vehicle. CHP and L.A. County Fire at the scene also heard screams for help and report of a suspect with a gun promptly calling SWAT to the scene.

Further mishandling of the case included the former head of Search and Rescue telling the family LASD worked with LAPD contacting neighbors in the area for security camera footage from that night. When the family contacted LAPD for the information from the camera footage LAPD said no such efforts were made and they had no footage from that night.

Multiple family members arrived at scene last night in Sylmar to attempt to communicate with Weaver Sr., who was experiencing a mental health crisis and was also reportedly intoxicated. A K-9 dog was released by law enforcement to impair Weaver Sr. after the shootout with officers and he also allegedly jumped into patrol cars “playing with the lights”.

It is clear that law enforcement’s role in the case of his missing son, and his subsequent mental breakdown could turn a very desperate situation into a tragic one should Weaver Sr. be found guilty of attempted murder against the officers on scene last night.

Dr. Ronda Hampton, a mental health expert whose spent the better part of the last decade working on missing persons cases with law enforcement had this to say about the events that lead to Weaver Sr.’s breakdown last night:

“As a psychologist and an individual who has had to deal with years of unanswered questions, unchecked law enforcement misconduct and a lack of regard for the missing, I can tell you that there is a toll on your mental health. The trauma of searching for a missing loved one causes an unsurmountable amount of pain and stress.

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That stress and anxiety rises to an even higher level when law enforcement is less than helpful in assisting in the search for a loved one and becomes increasingly stressful when officers engage in behaviors that may interfere with solving missing persons cases.”

Cece Woods
The Local