Missing USC student reportedly sighted in San Diego County

Derek Adam Seehausen, a 26-year-old fourth-year medical student at USC who has been missing since Aug. 5, was allegedly seen on Sept. 10, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

A tip to LAPD on Sept. 10 described a man matching Seehausen’s description shuffling on the Pacific Coast Highway near Solana Beach, California. Seehausen has plantar fasciitis, a painful disorder affecting the heel and underside of the foot, which private investigator Thomas Martin, who was hired by Seehausen’s family, attributes to his gait.

Seehausen was also reportedly sighted on Sept. 5, when an LAPD officer, while searching for a sexual assailant, reported he saw a man on foot with similar characteristics to Seehausen.

At a press conference on Sept. 12 at USC’s Health Sciences campus, Jean Godra, Seehausen’s mother, made her first public appearance since her son’s disappearance. Godra said Seehausen posted a video of himself scuba diving through kelp on Facebook a week before he went missing. Her son also called her around the same time to tell her the dates of Keck School of Medicine’s spring graduation and ask about Christmas plans.

“This is an unimaginable nightmare for our family. We don’t understand it. If you took a thousand people, Derek would be the last person that you would think would do this,” Godra said.

After Seehausen had not attended class in two days, fellow students started to suspect that something was wrong. With the help of Martin, Seehausen’s family has photos of possible sightings and believes that he is still alive. Martin said that he hasn’t talked to any law enforcement officers who think that Seehausen is deceased.

At 10:34 p.m. on Aug. 5, Seehausen was caught on tape at a Vons ATM withdrawing $200. Later that night at 11:54 p.m., Seehausen made a $2,999 payment to a friend via his iPhone. He was last seen at 12:02 a.m. Aug. 6 on foot northbound on Alvarado Street.

Martin said that no foul play is suspected. He does not believe there is any connection between the payment and Seehausen’s disappearance.

A family member told NBC San Diego that Seehausen has ties in San Diego County, where Solana Beach is located, and is a frequent visitor to the area. Seehausen supposedly was planning to visit his best friend in San Diego during the time of his disappearance. He has also been known to surf at nearby Mission Beach.

Shuhan He, a close friend and USC student who spoke at the press conference, described Seehausen as intelligent, athletic and resourceful. He said Seehausen was top of his class and very motivated. He said he last spoke to Seehausen three days before his disappearance about plans for the weekend.

Seehausen’s family and friends run a website, helpfindderek.com, hoping to expand their search by reaching out to the public for help.

Seehausen is about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. According to the Los Angeles Times, he was last seen wearing a black sweater, maroon T-shirt, plaid shorts and colorful shoes. He has a distinct 5 cm flesh-colored scar on his right arm. Those with any information are asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department Adult Missing Person Unit at 213-996-1800.