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Were His Friends Involved? The Beethoven Actor Who Disappeared Without A Trace


By Based On a True StoryPublished about a month ago 5 min read

The young man in the pic is Joseph David Wolfgang Pichler born on February 14, 1987 in Bremerton, Washington.

Better known as Joe Pichler he was the fourth of 5 siblings and that at only 4 years old he began to act.

At 6 he became well known after starring in the announcement of a department store in Seattle, which led his family to move with him to Los Angeles to try to boost his career as an actor.

Once there, Joe appeared in several commercials before debuting in the 1996 thriller, ‘The Fan’, acting alongside Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes.

In 99, at the age of 12, he played one of his best-known roles in the movie ‘Varsity Blues’.

The following year, he had a leading role in the films ‘Beethoven’s 3rd’ and 4th’, a family comedy film that features the antics of an adorable St. Bernard dog.

Joe’s career was on the rapid rise and he rubbed shoulders with some of the most important names of the time.

In the following years Joe worked in more films and his last role was in 2002.

In 2003, Kathy, Joe’s mother, decided that her son needed a break from Hollywood. The woman not only feared that her son would be exhausted but also wanted him to complete his education.

It is known that Joe felt discouraged by this decision, but as he was a “good boy” he accepted his mother’s wishes. He also intended to continue acting once I finished school.

During his break from acting, Joe returned to his hometown in Washington, where he graduated in 2005. According to his family, the boy planned to move to Hollywood the following year to continue his career as an actor. But unfortunately something happened in his life and he disappeared without a trace.

The facts:

In early 2006, 18-year-old Joe lived alone in his Bremerton apartment while his parents and some of his siblings lived on the other side of the city. Although his eyes were on Hollywood, he accepted a part-time job as a telephone technician at Teletech.

It is known that on January 5, 2006, Joe spent the night at his house playing cards and drinking with his friends who some time later said that he was in a very good mood.

When they left, Justin, one of them received a call from Joe at 4:15 a.m. in which he began to sob in an inconsolable way. The actor ended the communication saying that he would call again in an hour, but he never did and this was the last time someone heard from Joe Pichler.

The next day his family tried to locate the boy, but without success. Worried, the mother asked her son AJ to go to his brother’s apartment to see if he was okay.

As soon as he entered Joe AJ’s apartment he noticed several strange things such as that the door was not locked, the lights were on and someone had stolen some very valuable letters from his collection.

Kathy also went to the house the next day. Then she talked to all of Joe’s friends and his co-workers but since no one knew anything about him she reported the disappearance to the police.

At this point, Kathy asked AJ to gather a group of Joe’s friends to help with the search. The boy called everyone including Justin, with whom he went in his car looking for a sign from his brother.

In the end, they were who, on January 9, found the boy’s Toyota Corolla parked behind a restaurant half a mile from the lakes of Port Madison Narrows.

The agents who came to the place found poems and a letter in the vehicle in which Joe expressed his desire to be a stronger guy for all his brothers.

But not only that, he also wrote that he wanted his younger brother Matthew to keep some of his belongings, which led the investigators to think that the boy had killed himself.

As part of the investigation, the agents checked Joe’s apartment almost reluctantly. And then told the family that they were convinced that the boy parked the car there to be able to go stunned to one of the bridges and launch. To this they added that as his body would come out afloat in a few months, they closed the investigation.

The funny thing is that during a search they did with dogs, they didn’t trace their smell to any bridge.

The family did not agree with this theory, stating that Joe was not depressed at the time of his disappearance and that he wanted to resume his career in Hollywood. For them, their son had been the victim of a foul play.

Kathy later stated that the police had not investigated other ways because they were convinced of their theory so no one knows what really happened to Joe Pichler who would now be 37 years old


As always happens in this type of case, there are several theories about what could have happened to Joe. The first one I have already said before and that is that he killed himself.

For the agents, the note found in his car was crucial since it indicated that the boy was not going through a good time. However, for the family this is not sustainable, first because the body never appeared and second because Joe had plans for the future and was not depressed.

As if this were not enough, Kathy said that the note was not as the agents said but rather a piece of paper where her son had written a few phrases and some addresses without any goodbye.

The second theory says that Joe disappeared voluntarily something that was immediately discarded because although his wallet and the car keys never appeared, he did not take any money and there were no more movements in his bank account. Let’s remember that Joe was a Hollywood actor and had money saved from that time so if he had wanted to disappear he would have taken something to start from scratch.

And the third theory talks about a foul play, but not on the part of anyone but on the part of his own friends.

To start that night everyone was at Joe’s house drinking and playing cards, although later Justin said he received a call from the boy sobbing it was never possible to verify if this was true. Let’s also remember that in this house someone stole very valuable collector’s letters.

On the other hand, when AJ went in this boy’s car to look for his brother, he realized that he arrived effortlessly as far as the abandoned car was. As if he already knew where it was.

The police never examined Joe’s floor for DNA or any strange sign, or the theft or much worse, a trace of vomit that appeared in his car.

The funny thing is that if we take the note out of the equation, Joe’s disappearance has a much more sinister tint than it appears.

Over time, Kathy expressed her frustration with these words:

“My son, Joseph Pichler, disappeared for years. The police handled their case so badly and most of the evidence was lost. Their mistakes were because the local police did not know the correct procedures for missing children/persons.

Joesph is not a fugitive; that’s the only thing I know for sure about his disappearance. I’m still looking for a purpose in my son’s disappearance.

The only way I’ve found something positive about my loss is when I help others live this nightmare. I understand the suffering of other parents. Now I try to work for a better future so that others are not forced to be in my shoes.”

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About the Creator

Based On a True Story

Hi everyone! My name is Marta and every week I write about true crime, always with an educational purpose.

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Comments (1)

  • Esala Gunathilakeabout a month ago

    Extremely miserable.

Based On a True StoryWritten by Based On a True Story

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