Photo of Joseph Pichler taken shortly before his disappearance.
11/04/12, BREMERTON, WA → Joseph David Wolfgang Pichler was born in Bremerton, Washington on Valentines day (February 14, 1987) and was described by family as a good kid who never ran away or got in trouble. He moved to (Los Angeles) California at six-years-old to focus on acting and even had some success appearing in various TV shows and movies including The Fan (starring Robert Deniro and Westley Snipes,) Varsity Blue, Children and their Birthdays, and his most popular role as Brennan Newton in the third and fourth installments of Beethoven.
Joe Pichler as a child actor. Photo of him standing to the right next to Frankie Muniz
Joe in his younger years posing with singer/rapper “LL Cool J”
Joe didn’t want to go back to his hometown of Bremerton but his family felt he should come back and finish highschool and, in 2003, with their insistence he left Los Angeles and moved back to Washington. He graduated from Bremerton High School in 2005 and was planning to move back to LA in 2006 to get back into acting but wanted to wait until his top braces were off which would have taken approximately one year so in the mean time he got a job, moved into his own apartment and spent much of his time hanging out with his friends and family.
Joe went to hang out at a friend’s home on the night of January 5, 2006. There, he hung out with several different friends playing cards and drinking beer. Everyone who was there that night claimed Joe was in good spirits and his behavior was normal but according to one friend his mood changed when the night ended and everyone left.
According to reports, Joe drove his friend’s home after a night of drinking and playing card games. After dropping them off he placed a call at 4:08am to one of the friends that he was with earlier that night. The unidentified friend said that Joe was upset and inconsolable and told him that he didn’t know why he was crying and that he couldn’t stop drinking. He told him he would call him back in an hour but never did and hasn’t been heard from since.
His vehicle, a silver 2005 Toyota Corolla, was located a few days later on January 9, 2006 at the intersection of Wheaton Way and Sheridan Road on Lebo Blvd. All of his possessions including his cell phone were still in his car except his wallet and car keys. He was reported as officially missing by his parents 11 days later on January 16, 2006 after not being able to reach him.
According to reports the young man’s apartment was unlocked with lights on which is out of character and not something he is known to do.
Police initially believed that after leaving his friend’s house that night he committed suicide by jumping off the Port Madison Narrows but search dogs did not pick up any scents and nothing ever surfaced despite numerous searches.
Nobody has ever come forward with any creditable sightings or information regarding his whereabouts.
A letter written by Joe was discovered, in it he says he wished he would’ve been a “stronger brother” for his younger brother and asked that his little brother be given his belongings.
Joe’s family insisted that he met with foul-play, they said he wouldn’t have taken his own life and no hard evidence points to him doing so. His family is still actively searching for clues as to what happened the night of his disappearance.
Photo to the left is Joe’s mother – photo to the right is Joseph Pichler
Statement written by Kathy Pichler, Joe’s mother:
My son, Joseph Pichler, went missing five and a half years ago. His case was handled SO poorly by police and most of the evidence was lost. Their mistakes were because local police didn’t know the correct procedures for missing children/persons. Since the disappearance of my son, my local law enforcement has learned to handle these cases much better. For that I am very thankful. It helps find some purpose for my family’s tragedy. Joseph is not a runaway; that’s the only thing I know for sure about his disappearance. After nearly six years, we still have no resolution. Since Joseph’s disappearance, my focus has been to help raise awareness of our nation’s epidemic. I also struggle to get through each day without answers as to the whereabouts of my missing son. Our system is so very broken, in so many ways. Through education and prevention, there is hope. I keep looking for purpose in my son’s disappearance. The only way I’ve found anything positive about my loss is when I help others live this nightmare. I do understand the suffering of other parents. Now I try to work for a better future so that others aren’t forced to wear these shoes.