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Cameras Captured Missing Man Entering Home, but Not Leaving

Christopher Woitel missing since early January
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2021 1:03 AM CST
Updated Feb 16, 2021 6:58 AM CST

(Newser) – On the night of January 8, security cameras captured Christopher Woitel entering his San Francisco apartment building. There is no surveillance footage of him leaving the building after that point—and he hasn't been seen since, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. His mother, who last communicated with him on January 9, reported him missing January 13. He had also texted his niece on the afternoon of January 9, "Please tell Lara [Woitel's sister] to check her messages. It’s urgent." His sister tried to return what she describes as a panicky message from him, but there was no answer when she called, Mission Local reports. His bank account has not been used since January 8. His family hired a private investigator, who scoured the security footage from the only two ways out of the building, and who found Woitel's apartment undisturbed and the chain lock still engaged from the inside.

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He also found a homeless man who was one of the last people known to be in Woitel's apartment—the 50-year-old computer programmer, who had been living in San Francisco since the 1980s, often let people living on the streets stay with him or use his shower—and he had Woitel's cell phone. The man said Woitel sold it to him, and Woitel's family acknowledges he had loaned it to the man in the past. They also say Woitel had been acting erratic and paranoid in the days before his disappearance. Woitel's habit of letting homeless people into his home "was always a little concerning," a longtime friend tells the San Francisco Examiner. The PI wants police to question the homeless man who has Woitel's phone, who also claims to be psychic and says he knows Woitel was murdered, but those who know the homeless man speculate he likely wouldn't have been able to hurt Woitel due to a leg injury. Police are asking the public to come forward with any relevant information, CBS San Francisco reports. (Read more missing person stories.)

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