Starting at the ripe age of just four years old, child actor Joe Pichler made his debut in the entertainment industry.
His career began with appearances in TV commercials. Then, as Joe gained a solid reputation, he started to land larger roles– including Varsity Blues (1999), Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season (1999), Children On Their Birthdays (2002), and the Beethoven films.
In early 2006, though, Joe’s career came to a screeching halt after the eighteen-year-old vanished without a trace.
It all began on January 5, when the actor attended a party with friends. Joe drank that evening, and things took a turn after he made an “inconsolable” call to a friend, reportedly named Justin, on his cell phone at about 4:15 a.m.
Justin allegedly told Joe to call back once he had calmed himself down, and the child actor supposedly promised to do so. However, Joe never made another call and has actually never been heard from again since.
Leading up to that night, the child actor had been known as a straight shooter with clear plans for his future.
“I’ve said no to [intimacy] and drugs. I don’t want to get typecast. I’d much rather do movies [than TV]. I like the whole atmosphere of changing characters and meeting new people,” Joe described his ideal roles in a 2001 interview with the Kitsap Sun.
He predominantly lived in Los Angeles during his early teen years in order to support his acting goals. But, prior to his disappearance, Joe returned to Bremerton, Washington– his hometown– to finish up high school.
The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children; pictured above is Joe around the time of his disappearance