The Unsolved Disappearance Of Rico Harris (2015) - Shreya Sachdev
DISCLAIMER: No disrespect is intended towards anyone that I talk about on this blog post. This blog post is for educational purposes and is being posted on this website in order to raise awareness about this case and to truly hope that the grieving families and friends of these victims find closure and finally find out what happened to their loved one(s). I have gathered all this information on the internet, but unfortunately I do not know how accurate or inaccurate it is. If I have made a mistake somewhere, then I apologize. It is not my intention to spread false information.
Rico Harris was born on the 19th of May in 1997 in Los Angeles, California. He was the first of four children born to parents Henry and Margaret. Henry played basketball and was a former Idaho state star, and then moved to play semi-professional in LA, which was where he met Margaret. After Rico was born, the three of them decided to move to Oregon, because Henry was offered a job there. However, soon after they realized that this wasn’t the place for them and moved back to LA where they had three more children.
Rico played basketball like his father, but not as seriously. At age fifteen, Rico decided to quit basketball, because he wanted to be an actor. Rico and his friend decided to go to Hollywood High, but it was quite far away from their home, and so Rico decided that becoming an actor wasn’t for him and went back to playing basketball. Rico definitely wasn’t the best student at school and often struggled with grades. However, he did manage to pull his GPA up to a 3.0 and was offered a scholarship to UCLA. However, UCLA soon took the scholarship away when Rico received bad SAT scores.
After high school, Rico attended Arizona State University, but he was under academic probation which meant that in order to play basketball, he had to get his grades up. Rico did manage to get his grades up and was able to play basketball. However, in 1996, Rico and his friends were suspended from the team due to an incident that had happened. Rico Harris ended up moving back to Los Angeles and enrolled in Los Angeles City College.
Rico soon started drinking and partying really hard, but this didn’t seem to get in the way of his basketball. He even led his team to victory soon after. For some reason, he was still labelled a disruption to the team and received a six day suspension. Whilst he was on suspension, his drinking kept on getting worse. Despite the fact that colleges wanted to recruit him, Rico wasn’t interested.
Rico then enrolled in California State University, Northridge, and this was when Rico really started getting off his basketball game, and as a result scouts didn’t want to recruit him. He was suspended again soon after and this was when he decided that he would never return to college basketball. He then started focusing on semi-professional basketball. However, an incident occurred and Rico decided to leave basketball for good.
Without basketball in Rico’s life, he felt as if he didn’t really have anything to do and so his life automatically started going downhill. Rico turned to drugs and drinking to make himself feel better, and even started begging on the street for money to support his drinking and drugs addiction. He was also arrested over 100 times for public intoxication and would spend a few nights in jail, but then would go on to do the exact same thing all over again.
After Rico became sober, he decided to move in with a friend from rehab, and he also got a job as a security guard. Soon, Rico met Jessica Song who he became romantically involved with. The only issue was that she lived in Seattle and so it was quite far away from where he lived. However, they made it work by taking long drives to each other’s houses. In 2014, their relationship got very serious and they even started discussing marriage and settling in together. During this time, Rico’s roommate and him were having arguments over Rico’s relationship with his girlfriend, and so Rico decided to move out and live with his girlfriend.
At first, things were difficult for Rico. Rico was in an unfamiliar country and didn’t have a job, so this actually put some strain on the relationship. However, Rico did manage to get a job where he would sell shares and soon after his manager wanted to talk to him about promoting him to becoming a full time employee, and of course he was happy about this. Rico’s life looked optimistic and this was a fresh start for him. Rico and his manager were meant to talk about this promotion on October 10th.
On October 8th, Rico actually went back to visit his family in Los Angeles which was over a 1600km journey. He arrived to his family’s place on the 9th of October. When he reached, he took his little brother out to dinner and gave him a new cellphone, and then went back to the house to have a private conversation with his mother. His mother said that in this conversation, it felt as if Rico was looking for something and that he was trying to get something out of the conversation. After this, he took a few items from his mom’s house and then got ready to leave. His mother said that it was strange how Rico had driven all this way to just collect a few items, and that she believes he was there for another reason. Rico’s mother asked him to spend the night, because she had heard from Jenifer that Rico hadn’t slept in three to four days. However, Rico denied and told his mother that he had to get back to Seattle to meet with his manager about his promotion. At around 1.00am he called her to let her know that he was on his way back to Seattle.
On his way back home, he stopped at a place called Lodi to get some petrol. At around 3:30am he called Jenifer to tell her that he was really tired and that he was going into the mountains to have a little rest before he drove all the way back home. Jenifer insisted that he should rest before heading into the mountains driving into the mountains could be very tricky. She then called him again at 8:00am and he told her that he was just eating and getting some more petrol. Once they got off the phone, Rico called his mother to check in and let her know that she was fine.
At around 10:45am, Jenifer got a text from Rico that said “I’m doing well, I love you.” and this was the last known communication with Rico. After Jenifer received this text, she called Rico multiple times to see where he was, and Rico didn’t answer a single time. This was strange because Rico would always pick up his phone and if he didn’t, he would get back to Jenifer very soon after.
A few more days passed by, and Jenifer still hadn’t heard from Rico. This was when she decided to file a missing person’s report; She wanted to file one earlier, but Rico’s mother was under the impression that one had to wait at least 48 hours before filing a missing person’s report, and this is why Jenifer waited a few more days until doing so.
On the 14th of October, police were driving down a lowered parking area and they pulled over just because it was the usual routine. When they did, they spotted a black car that was just laying on the road without actually being in a parked spot. They also realized that they had seen the same vehicle in the same spot the previous day and so they were a little suspicious as to why this car was still there. The police went to check out this car and when they did, they saw that there was toilet rolls, paper, CDs, and many other items inside. When police ran a search to see who the car was registered to, they found that the car was registered to Rico Harris. They knocked on Rico’s mother’s door to tell her that Rico’s car had been found and that Rico hadn’t been found with it.
After this, a huge search went out to find Rico. Police used helicopters, locals, planes, and sniffer dogs to try and find Rico, but nothing came out with it. The only thing that police could find was a gigantic footprint which seemed to match around Rico’s size. Police then began to call out to the public and put Rico’s name out there to see if anybody had heard anything from him, and soon after a witness came forward to state that they had seen Rico near the parking lot. Upon this news, police decided to tow the car and inspect it to see if they could find any evidence inside of the car and get any leads.
When police inspected his car, they found out that he was almost completely out of petrol, and found Rico’s wallet, credit card, and many other valuable items. They also found two water bottles: One which had alcohol inside of it, and the other one which had nothing inside of it but smelt like alcohol. They also found a bindle, which is basically a plastic bag that people usually keep drugs inside of.
Soon, police got another witness on the 18th of October who told police that they had seen Rico near the parking lot as well. Police began to investigate the area another time, and this time they found a few more footprints that matched a size 18 which was Rico’s shoe size. The footprints went all the way down to the creek.
A detective decided to call ANT which is a phone company, so that he could track Rico’s last movements and figure out where Rico was moments before he disappeared. It does show that after he arrived at the parking lost, he lost reception. Thus, nothing can be tracked from the parking lot onwards. However, his movements up until that time can be traced. They found out that Rico had gone to Lodi (the gas station) and filled his car up with fuel, but then had taken a wrong turn and had to go back to get on the right route again. The reason as to why experts found this strange was because when police found Rico’s car, they found that it was empty and he should have had enough fuel to make it all the way back home.
Police were also able to track the phone to where it currently was, and they found out that a man had it. This man told the police that they were driving along the parking lot, when all of a sudden they spotted a black backpack on the road and so they just decided to take it. Inside of the backpack was Rico’s phone and his phone cable. Police obviously inspected the phone, and when they did, they found out a few photos and videos on his phone that were interesting. The videos especially, were in selfie style, but had appeared to be taken accidentally. He was singing, rapping, throwing CDs out of the window, ripping up paper, and overall appeared to be really happy. This was on October 10th.
The dean of this case soon started to come up with a theory: He believed that the reason Rico took 50 miles away from his own route to go to this gas station was due to the fact that Rico wanted to buy meth inside of this parking lot before going back home. He believes that when Rico went to his mother’s house, he was also on meth and that may have been the reason that he had been awake for so long. The dean also stated that there was no foul play involved, and that Rico had decided to disappear on his own and that maybe he was having doubts about his future in Seattle. This was the theory that the dean put forward, and soon everyone latched onto it and the case began to slow down. However, to this day, the dean is still baffled by this case and checks Rico’s credit card activity from time to time to see if Rico is still alive. There have never been any more sightings or any sort of communication with Rico.
Which theory do I believe?
I agree with the dean’s theory, but only to a certain extent. I know it sounds strange, but I feel as if I understand why Rico did what he did. For example, if I’m on a diet, and then I have a really good day and feel as if I look really great, I decide to spoil my diet and begin to eat junk food, because I feel as if I look so good that eating a little bit of junk food won’t hurt. Likewise, I think it’s interesting how Rico decided to leave town and get involved in drugs again the day before his manager was about to give him a promotion. I really believe that Rico felt as if he was now settled and that things were going to go great for him, so he told himself that drinking some alcohol and smoking meth wouldn’t hurt him. This is why he decided to visit his parent’s home, and stopped at the gas station to buy meth. He then went into the mountains to sniff/smoke it in peace. However, I definitely think that he was planning to come back, and that he did not disappear voluntarily. I think that he must’ve had an accident in the mountains, even though it is strange that nobody has found him yet considering how big he is. However, I still believe that he was high on drugs and that he had an accident and then died. I believe his death was an accident, and that he didn’t choose to disappear voluntarily.
Bibliography & Credit: Fiori, Bella, director. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF RICO HARRIS. YouTube, YouTube, 24 May 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsjcFXAFzT8.