LAKE SHASTA, Calif. -- A cascade of choices and moments led to Max McIntosh’s disappearance. But that chain of events still hasn’t led to a conclusion in this missing person’s case.
The Medford man was reported missing in March 2013 by his family after they hadn’t heard from him for several days, as noted in a Mail Tribune article.
In the years leading up to his disappearance, McIntosh is said to have developed a relationship that raised a lot of questions from those around him.
“Classic kind of romance scam,” said Detective Sergeant Brent Mak with the Medford Police Department. “They had never met face-to-face; they had talked on the phone and I think texted.”
McIntosh was sending money to someone overseas; a person (or “girlfriend”) who he had been in frequent contact with.
“The long and the short of it is he basically cleaned out his savings, pension, and everything,” said Sgt. Mak. “He sent her over the course of two-to-three years, over $500,000.”
When he first started sending her money, McIntosh was contacted by multiple law enforcement agents who noticed the wire transfers. Investigators say those agents told McIntosh he was the victim of a scam; from there, McIntosh is said to have become more secretive, still sending money, but eventually running dry.
While it’s unknown who the scammers exactly were, they are said to have threated McIntosh as one point – pushing him past the point of just keeping secrets. McIntosh even mentioned feeling threated, according to investigators.
“Basically he tells family members that he needs to leave… that he’s going to meet his new wife and they’re going to go live happily ever after,” said Detective Sergeant Brent Mak with the Medford Police Department.
McIntosh’s car was found on the side of the road near Lake Shasta, California soon after he was reported missing. Investigators then called local search and rescue, as well as other law enforcement to help in the search. But nothing came up.
“The thought is that he had walked into the woods and possibly had committed suicide,” said Sgt. Mak. “We don’t know that, but we do know this – he has never been located… ever.”
The uncertainty still lingers with this case, but while Sgt. Mak mentioned that the best information they have is McIntosh is likely passed away, there’s still a small feeling something concrete can finally be unearthed.
“Honestly – it’s just opinion – at this point in time, if we have not located him now, I don’t know if we ever will,” said Sgt. Mak. “It could happen… I hope is does.”