Law enforcement in Del Norte County now say they believe foul play is definitely a factor in the March 17 disappearance of Max Greenfield of Harbor, and are treating it as a homicide, Det. Jerrin Gill said Wednesday.
The last place the man was seen was on video surveillance camera outside Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River in the early morning hours.
His sister, Tonya, thinks her then-25-year-old brother has been killed and buried somewhere on Tolowa lands. She has been saying for months that she believes someone knows something about his disappearance.
“I have a really hard time believing that nobody seems to know what happened that night,” she said. “None of it makes sense.”
Greenfield said goodbye to his mother at about 10 p.m. March 16 and began messaging people on his cell phone.
Attempts to locate him through his phone were impossible, as the device was not connected to a phone number, and he was using wifi-enabled messaging, such as that used on Facebook. Without a phone number, law enforcement can’t backtrack through cell phone towers to determine his whereabouts. They have learned, however, that his phone never reconnected to wifi anywhere else after it disconnected from the casino’s system.
Gill said that means whatever happened to Greenfield likely occurred soon after he left.
At the casino
Security video footage from the casino showed Greenfield arriving there at about 1 a.m. March 17, then leaving through a back door and waiting for someone. Almost an hour later, he walked to the front of the casino where he met and spoke with a man for several minutes. The two of them then walked south across the parking lot until they go off camera.
The man, whom police later interviewed at length, returned to the casino 18 minutes later.
Two days later, his mother reported Greenfield missing.
Law enforcement officials have interviewed the people who drove Greenfield to the casino, people he was supposed to meet there that night and the man with whom he was speaking outside the establishment.
“We’ve also done a ton of searches,” Gill said. “I couldn’t tell you the number of hours that have gone into this. We’ve brought cadaver dogs out at least a dozen different days.”
A puzzling part of the case is that Greenfield brought with him a black duffel bag filled with art supplies, none of which have been found. Tonya said Greenfield didn’t have his ID, his food-stamp card or his favorite jacket, either — and that he’s never gone longer than 36 hours without talking to someone in the family.
“This is a pretty unusual and individual case, Gill said. “It’s unusual, because we don’t have anything that happened ahead of time that would lead to this.”
The family is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who can lead to Max’s exact location, Tonya said.
“It is a missing person’s case but we’re definitely treating it as a homicide,” Gill said. “We’re putting all of our efforts into this case to try to solve it.”
Greenfield is a white male, about 6 feet tall and weighing about 160 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes and a skeleton key tattoo on his left forearm. He was last seen wearing black jeans, a dark colored T-shirt, a black jacket and a black beanie and was carrying his duffel bag.
“We definitely believe there is foul play involved,” Gill said. “We believe there are several people involved who have knowledge but may not be giving it to us.”
Anyone with any information about Greenfield’s whereabouts is asked to call Gill at 707-465-2468.