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Missing SF Man Found Dead in Apartment Building

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday February 20, 2021
Originally published on February 17, 2021

Mark Guarino
Mark Guarino  (Source:Handout/Mark Guarino)

A San Francisco man who has been missing for over month has been found dead in his apartment building, SFGate reports.

As EDGE reported last week, the family of Christopher Woitel, a gay 50-year-old man, reported last hearing from him on Jan. 9. Woitel's mother said that was the last day they had been in contact. There had been no recent activity with either his bank accounts or his credit cards, and his apartment appeared to have remained undisturbed.

Woitel was last seen on surveillance footage from the apartment building at 65 Guerrero Street on Jan. 8, the day before last speaking with his mother. Footage shows him returning to his home, but Scott Williams, a private investigator hired by the victim's family, alleges that the footage never shows Woitel leaving. Williams said the only other exit from the building is a back door with a camera triggered by motion at night, and that footage did not show Woitel leaving.

Woitel's family said he was a generous person who often gave shelter to people without housing. Williams said he was able to track down one of the last people seen at Woitel's apartment. The man, who lives in an Emeryville encampment, had possession of Woitel's cell phone and alleged that it was sold to him by the victim. The man also claimed to have "psychic abilities," and 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."

However, a friend of Woitel's said that the homeless man had a leg injury limiting his mobility and thus it was highly unlikely he hurt the victim, saying "it is clear [the man] suffers from mental illness and as such could be delusional."

Woitel's own behavior was concerning to those around him. His family said he sent anxious text messages about Trump supporters possibly coming to San Francisco. On the last day his family had contact with him, he said "a man on a loudspeaker" told people in the city to "get out now." He reportedly asked for money to replace a cellphone he had lost.

In another investigation over the weekend, San Francisco police found Woitel's body. They did not say where in the building he was found, and an autopsy is pending.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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