‘Please Help Me Find Him’


I try to make the 15-minute walk to work from the 16th and Mission BART station a little different every day. Change the walking route, maybe, or leave the station from an alternate entrance every once in a while. Just to avoid falling into too blindly regular.

Here’s what disrupted the routine today. A handmade flyer for a missing person. It was the message that made me stop and take a second look: “Please help me find him.” I didn’t study the rest of it. Just took a picture and figured I’d post this later as a little memento of the walk to work.

Then I downloaded the picture and studied it. In the BART station, I thought I was looking at a picture of a man standing in a kitchen. But no: This is clearly a young man, a kid maybe, in a laboratory of some kind. I recognized the area code as being in Southern California, the San Diego area. I looked up the name on the posted, which seems to have been added in ballpoint pen as an after-thought, Edgar Trujillo.

I did find mention of an Edgar Trujillo from San Diego. This past summer, a San Diego paper mentioned him as one of 35 students from around North America chosen to participate in a summer biology program put on by American Fisheries Society. He was working for the summer at NOAA’s regional fisheries center and getting ready to go to UC-San Diego in the fall. Well, the science program would fit with the lab in the picture.

I’ll call the number on the poster tomorrow to find out what the story is. Or maybe I’ll have one of our reporters do it. In the meantime, there’s something a little troubling to me in the brevity and directness of that request: “Please help me find him.” Of course, you never know. Maybe there’s nothing darker about this than a girlfriend looking for the guy who ditched her or a bill collector tracking down a deadbeat. Here’s hoping, anyway.

3 Replies to “‘Please Help Me Find Him’”

  1. I’m very interested to hear what you find out. I did some Googling too, it looks like Edgar did prior big time field trip on a research platform in his junior year:
    “Being from San Diego, the ocean is very important to me,” said Edgar Trujillo, a junior at Hoover High School. “I am proud to be teaching students all over the world about gray whales, and about the importance of ocean research and conservation. Everyone, no matter where they live, impacts ocean and marine life, including gray whales.”
    I also Googled the home phone number from the poster, and the address is about a block from said Hoover High.
    Also troubling, but it should be re-assuring I suppose, is the fact that there don’t appear to be any news articles about him having gone missing.
    Edgar is a very bright young man who obviously has a promising future. I hope he’s okay.

  2. This reads like one of the ads you see in the classifieds. The person posting it must have reason to believe Edgar has friends or relatives nearby. I hope he’s OK, too.

  3. So: I did call the numbers on the poster. The home phone had an answering machine in Spanish — the only thing I understood was “Familia Trujillo.”
    The cellphone was answered in Spanish by a man. I asked whether he spoke English. “Yes — who’s this?” He asked. I explained I was calling from San Francisco and had seen the poster. He said, “I already found my son. Everything’s OK. He’s back home and back in school — everything’s OK.” I was tempted to press him for the circumstances that led to him posting the flyer. I did manage to ask whether anyone else had called with information after seeing the poster. But he was clearly a little uncomfortable–speaking English and talking to a stranger–and I let it go. Anyway, that’s the outcome. A happy one, I’d say.

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