Search Continues for Missing Former Pali Student As Two-Month Mark Approaches


Skylar Ball, Opinion Editor

Former Pali student and racquetball champion Dane Elkins, 21, remains missing since his disappearance on Dec. 21, despite a series of search efforts launched by family and the local community over the last six weeks.

Dane made several calls to 911 on the day of his disappearance about his car that had broken down in the Castaic Lake area, asking for help and saying that he wasn’t feeling well, according to a Jan. 20 article in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. By the time law enforcement arrived at the scene, Dane was no longer there.

Dane’s car was found with multiple flat tires, according to his mother, Deborah Elkins. She noted that his wallet, cellphone and laptop were all in the car. Without money or means of communication, investigators speculate that he could have hitchhiked out of Castaic and could be anywhere in California. 

According to Deborah, Dane’s mental health had been deteriorating in the months prior to his disappearance. “He did say before he disappeared, ‘I have to find myself, I want to drive,’” she explained. “He thought there were people after him.” 

Dane had been studying electrical engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. When the university switched to eLearning last spring, Dane returned to his family home in Brentwood. In July, Dane left his parents’ house, saying that he wanted to stay with his friends, according to published reports. But his friends told the Signal that they hadn’t seen him and that he was mostly living out of his car. 

Throughout the past six weeks, search parties were organized in Los Angeles County and Kern County, but no substantial leads have surfaced.

“There has been an outpouring of support from the community, from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles,” Deborah said. “As one friend put it, Dane is everybody’s son. And it can happen to anyone… therefore, the whole community is helping search.”

Deborah continues to hold out hope that Dane will find his way home.

“When he has a clear moment, I am just waiting for him to reach out,” Deborah said. “And we’ll have his favorite Mexican food. We just miss him.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dane Elkins’ family is encouraging community members to keep an eye out for anyone who fits Dane’s description. He is 5 feet, 11 inches tall, weighs 170 pounds and has green eyes and brown hair. 

If spotted, investigators encourage community members to take photos and send them to [email protected], call the LAPD hotline at (877) 527-3247 and reach out to Deborah Elkins, who can be found on Facebook as Deborah Kassin Elkins. Community members are also encouraged to follow along with the search for Dane Elkins on Facebook.