A computer programmer has been found dead in the attic of his California home after seemingly vanishing mysteriously for a month, his family said on Monday.
The body of Christopher Woitel, 50, was located in the attic of his San Francisco apartment over the weekend, a representative with the San Francisco Police Department told Oxygen.com by email on Wednesday morning.
“The SFPD SVU [Special Victims Unit] is investigating the incident,” they stated. “The cause of death is pending the medical examiner's autopsy.”
Woitel was reported missing by his mother on Jan. 13, police wrote in an earlier press release. He and his mother last spoke on Jan. 9 and he hadn’t been heard from since. Surveillance footage from his apartment building showed him entering on Jan. 8, Scott Williams, a private investigator who was hired by Woitel’s family, told SF Gate. But there was no footage of him exiting his apartment afterward.
“My gut feeling is something bad happened,” Lara Haben, Woitel’s sister, told the San Francisco outlet Mission Local.
Woitel’s family described him to the San Francisco Examiner as a generous man who was known for helping the needy. In fact, he was known for regularly inviting people without homes to stay in his apartment.
Williams told SF Gate that he managed to track down the last known person to have stayed at Woitel’s home, a man who is now living in a nearby tent encampment. The man is alleged to have been found in possession of Woitel’s cellphone, according to the private detective.
Williams told the outlet that the man said to him that he has “psychic abilities” and that he believed Woitel was "shot in the head and wrapped in plastic before his body was dumped in the water at the end of Mariposa Street in San Francisco.”
Ahead of Woitel’s disappearance, he began behaving in an out of character and paranoid manner, his family members told Mission Local. They noted that he expressed worry following the January insurrection attempt at the Capitol and told them he was hearing explosions and that he felt unsafe.
Just hours before he vanished, Woitel told his sister that he could hear a “man on a loudspeaker” outside ordering people to “get out now.”
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the SFPD 24-hour tip line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.