Select It Sunday: German Machuca

Selected by my friend Sean Munger, German Machuca‘s disappearance is, as Sean puts it, “one of the most baffling cases I’ve ever seen on the site. In the top 5.” Given that Mr. Machuca’s circumstances of disappearance section on Charley is only four sentences long, that’s a pretty impressive claim. But Sean may be right.

German Machuca, a smallish Hispanic teenager, only 5’7 tall and of average build, vanished without a trace from Laredo, Texas on March 31, 1990. He was washing his car, and then he was gone. Just like that. Leaving the soap bucket, leaving the water running, for crying out loud.

And that’s all, folks, all I can find on him. No articles, nothing. I haven’t updated his case even once since I started Charley in 2004.

Who walks away while in the middle of washing their car? If something or somebody had distracted him — perhaps someone calling his name — why didn’t he at least turn the hose/faucet off before he went to investigate? Other questions arise: was German wearing rubber gloves or other waterproof gear like galoshes or a rain poncho when he was washing his car? If so, did they find those things? Was the soap bucket found sitting upright, or was it tipped over, spilled, as if in a struggle? Did anyone see anything? Hear anything?

I only know that German Machuca, eighteen and a half years old, chose some very unusual circumstances in which to go missing. It’s almost enough to make a person believe in alien abductions. (I think I did have aliens abduct my Sim in the Sims 3 game while he was working on restoring his classic car one night. But that is neither here nor there.)

German must have family and friends out there still waiting, still wondering. I’d love it if one of them contact me, either by email or in the comments section, to shed some light on the strange circumstances of his disappearance.

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15 thoughts on “Select It Sunday: German Machuca

  1. Margie May 11, 2014 / 2:38 am

    His case me reminds me of the abduction and murder of Brooke Wilberger. I have read a lot of murder cases and I am not one to get too emotional about them but Brooke’s murder really makes me sad.
    At least in her case, her flip-flops were found along with a bucket of sudsy water in the apt. parking area.

    I grew up in a US/Mexico border town and I think that because Laredo is on the border and Mr. Machuca is a young Hispanic male, LE did not conduct a very thorough investigation. Sad, if it is true. I don’t think LE has more that they have released to the public.

    Sometimes, when I am up late into the night reading about MPs cases, I can almost talk myself into believing in alien abductions. I envision that some day, like in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, some mother ship will land and all the missing people will come walking out of it.

  2. Princess Shantae May 11, 2014 / 7:22 am

    Too hot in Laredo at the end of March to be working outside in rain gear, and anyway I almost never see anybody wearing rubber gloves washing their car, esp not teenage boys; never mind galoshes or ponchos.

  3. Angie May 11, 2014 / 10:41 am

    Once again…what time of day was it? Who last saw him and at what point did they realize he disappeared? These are the kinds of details I wish law enforcement would release. Otherwise how are they supposed to convey any meaningful information to the public?

  4. Justin May 11, 2014 / 11:01 am

    Shades of Christine Marie Eastin from Hayward, California in 1971? She also went missing while washing her car and is also profiled on the Charley Project.

    • Meaghan May 12, 2014 / 4:57 am

      Yeah, I thought of her when I wrote this.

  5. SW May 11, 2014 / 11:30 am

    Sounds like a drive-by, snatch and grab, takes less than a minute, and he’s gone before anyone even notices.

  6. Holly May 11, 2014 / 1:04 pm

    The fact that he left the water running is suggestive of the fact that he thought he was coming back. Perhaps he walked away to check on something sudden – like screaming or someone calling him. He was an 18 year old man so it seems odd to me that someone could have just snatched him, . I feel certain it would have been by force or perhaps a lure that was personal to him. I think sometimes law enforcement has details in a case that they purposely do not release to the public because only the person or persons who took him would know these details. Anyway, I hope something is found of him under these very odd circumstances.

  7. frank May 11, 2014 / 9:54 pm

    Given Laredo’s spotty past this abduction was by someone he knew and is either gang or drug related. Or perhaps it was set up by someone he knew because he was dating someone he shouldnt have

  8. Angie May 13, 2014 / 10:42 am

    This kind of reminds me of the Chris Virdell case for some reason and I bet it was similar in that he was probably lured by someone he knew. Like I can imagine a car pulling up with some people he knows, he goes up to the car to say hi, the people say “get in,” he is about to go turn off the water but then they are like “don’t worry about that,” or something like that. If he was forcibly kidnapped I feel like there would have been a commotion heard or blood or something, or the bucket of water would have been knocked over. Although he wasn’t that large of a person so 2 or 3 people probably could have kidnapped him.

  9. Cattt May 13, 2014 / 1:48 pm

    Was he at one of those self car washes or was he washing the car at his house/apt complex?

  10. KER May 16, 2014 / 3:18 pm

    Off topic but…do you play your sims 3 through Origin?

  11. mergirl93 September 4, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    His case has peaked my curiosity. Also, his name doesn’t appear to be that popular so after doing a name search I came upon a Linkedin profile of a man in Peru that looks very similar to him and would be around the same age. https://pe.linkedin.com/pub/german-machuca/14/7b5/442

    What do you folks think?

    • Angela March 20, 2016 / 6:49 am

      Hmm..does look similar. Says there is a scar between his eyebrows. Were you able to get a closer look? I can’t zoom in from where I am.

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