Family pleads for help finding 24-year-old Jack Stein, who was missing from his Los Angeles County home for nearly a week
It’s been nearly a week since anyone saw or heard from John “Jack” Stein, 24, whose concerned family has implored the public to pay attention to the tousled surfer as they expand their search to Los Angeles Outside Angeles County.
“He was always in touch with us,” his mother, Ann Norton, told Dateline. “Especially if he’s having trouble, he’ll call. So he doesn’t call…that’s what we’re worried about. It’s been six days.”
According to a press release issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Jack was last seen around 7:45 p.m. at his residence in the 3700 block of Kanan Road in the Agoura Hills area of Los Angeles County, California.
Jack’s mother lives in Minnesota and his sister lives in Boston, and their families have all traveled to California to help find Jack. They told Dateline that he suffers from depression and bipolar disorder and that the past month has been a difficult one for Jack.
“He was very sociable and liked being around people, so it was out of character for him,” his sister Zoë Kustritz told Dateline. “We’re just very concerned about what will happen to him.”
Jack graduated from the University of Minnesota in Spring 2020 with a degree in Economics and recently accepted a new job in Colorado.
“He’s doing great — graduating from college during Covid and getting a new job,” Zoe said. “He’s happy. Excited about moving to Colorado.”
She told Dateline her brother didn’t have a cell phone or ID with him when he went missing, but believes he may have hitchhiked to his home state of Minnesota or Denver, Colorado or Salt Lake City, Utah – where he has friends. But no one heard from him or saw him.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has conducted an aerial and ground search, but detectives told the family they had hit a dead end where they were searching.
Family, friends and volunteers scoured the woods and communities around Agoura Hills, Westlake and Thousand Oaks, as well as Venice Beach and Malibu, looking for shelters and homeless camps. They spoke to hundreds of pedestrians and shared missing persons posters with everyone they came into contact with.
The family created a Facebook group called “Help Find Jack Stein” to provide tips and information. Zoë told Dateline that she had received tips, which she had passed on to the case’s lead detective, Shannon Rincon. Delegates were sent to follow up on the tips, but they came up with nothing.
Jack is described by his family as a kind, beautiful soul who is creative and loves to paint, but is also very athletic, surfing and snowboarding.
“Anything with a board, he’ll ride,” Zoe said. “He loves it all. He’ll be on the board, he’ll fly.”
Zoe and the rest of the family are still doing everything they can to find Jack in California, never thinking this will happen to them.
“It’s every family’s worst nightmare,” Zoe said. “You would never think it would happen to your own family.”
Zoe and their mother told the dateline they were just hoping someone would recognize Jack from the news reports and contact authorities for any hints that might be helpful.
“Just keep your eyes open for our boys,” his mother said. “He could be anywhere. We’re overwhelmed, but we’re doing what we can. We need to find him.”
Jack is described as being 6ft 3in tall, weighing about 180 pounds, with blue eyes and shaggy strawberry blond hair. He has a sparrow tattoo on his right thigh and a circle tattoo on his chest. He was last seen wearing a navy blue hooded sweatshirt with “Tommy Hilfiger” written on it, black shorts and grey Nike running shoes.
Anyone with information on Jack’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Missing Persons Unit, Det. Shannon Rincon (323) 890-5500.
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