Name :

SZABO, Karel

Case : US-MM-1985-02-01507


Date Of Disappearance : February 28, 1985
Location Of Disappearance : Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Age At Disappearance : 31 years
Height (estimate) : 188 cm (6’2”)
Weight (estimate) : 79 kg (174 lbs)
Hair Colour : Brown – wavy, curly
Eye Colour : Brown
Gender : Male
Race : Caucasian
Aliases : SZABO, Charles
SZABO, Charlie


Dental Information :

Teeth – protruding uppers

Medical Information : Unknown
Notable Identifiers :

Jaw – had a broken jaw before emigrating to Canada in 1982
Bellybutton – dime-sized surgical scar near the bellybutton; waist
Abdomen – appendix scar on right side of abdomen

Clothing/Jewelry : Unknown
Other Personal Items :

Identification – Canadian Driver’s Licence

Additional Information :

Karel and his sister escaped from Soviet-ruled Czechoslovakia in 1983. Eventually, the siblings sought refugee status in Canada and were eventually sent to live in Kitchener because of its large Czech community. Karel and his sister took English language classes at Conestoga College and eventually became legal immigrants.

In November 1984, Karel called his sister to tell her that he had been offered a new job and was moving to Barrie, Ontario. He had previously worked as a crane operator, auto mechanic and truck driver. Later his sister learned that Karel did not go to Barrie.

After his disappearance, his parents began to receive postcards at their home in the former Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). He asked that his parents contact his sister so that she would not worry. Karel’s parents received 13 postcards in all. They were sent from the following cities:

1. Toronto, Ontario, Canada – dated October 23, 1984
2. Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. – dated November 10, 1984
3. Louisville, Kentucky , U.S.A. – dated November 17, 1984
4. Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. – dated November 24, 1984
5. St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A. – dated December 3, 1984
6. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida, U.S.A. – dated December 9, 1984
7. Florida Keys, Florida, U.S.A. – dated December 9, 1984
8. New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. – no date shown
9. El Paso, Texas, U.S.A. – dated January 10, 1985
10. Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. – dated January 10, 1985
11. San Diego, California, U.S.A. – dated January 16, 1985
12. Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. – dated February 3, 1985
13. San Francisco, California, U.S.A. – no date recorded

Karel’s message included on the San Diego postcard said that he had been to Hollywood and was living in a hotel in the centre of Los Angeles. He said that he had a job. He also mentioned that he would be traveling to Las Vegas to see the sights and to gamble a little.

The final postcard, posted from San Francisco, was sent in mid-February, 1985. It arrived in an envelope along with a photo taken at the Lady Luck Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on February 2, 1985. Karel wrote that he had to stop traveling for a time in order to earn money. He wrote that he would be out of touch for a period of time but that he would write again in the summer once he was settled. His family assumed that he would be returning to work in Los Angeles.

No other postcards or letters were ever received by Karel’s family.

Karel was a very private person largely as a result of his earlier experiences. While in the former Czechoslovakia, he openly spoke against the government and was considered a freedom fighter. Before escaping to Canada, he had been beaten by police so severely that he had to have his broken jaw wired so that it could heal. Karel did not share his travel plans with anyone as he worried that people in the North American Czech communities would report back to the government.

Although Karel’s parents are now deceased, his siblings and extended family continue to search for Karel.

The exact date of Karel’s disappearance is unknown. Therefore, February 28th should be treated as an estimate only.  According to some sources, Karel was last heard from in April or May 1985 when he sent his mother a postcard from Los Angeles, California.

Contact :

Waterloo Regional Police Service – 519-653-7700
Additional Details and Contacts

Case Reference : WRPS MISSP87025218 – NCMPUR 2014002689
Source Links :

Waterloo Regional Police Service
Cambridge Times – February 15, 2014 Edition
National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains

Last Modified : August 8, 2022

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