Missing Man Benjamin Anderson’s Car Was Spotted With Mystery Trio in Phoenix, Hours Before It Was Torched

When Benjamin Anderson called to cancel his brunch plan around 8 a.m. on December 31, his longtime friend Daniel Stahoviak didn’t think much of it.

Anderson, 41, told Stahoviak that he felt tired after driving home from northern Arizona, where he had been visiting friends. That seems to be a perfectly normal reason for Stahoviak.

But after that Anderson disappeared.

Stahoviak and others close to Anderson are now aggressively searching for the man they call “Big DaddyHis white Lexus UX was discovered at a hotel with three strangers inside just hours before it was discovered completely burned down in the parking lot of a nearby trade school. . Frustrated with what he sees as police inaction, Stahoviak has been pounding sidewalks for the past three days in hopes of finding Anderson, a PriceWaterhouseCoopers concierge executive, before it’s too late.

“We hope he’s alive,” Stahoviak, 40, told The Daily Beast on Monday. “We hope so. I’m trying to put the pieces together in my mind, and the fear just grows.”

Before Anderson and Stahoviak, who met in high school, ended the call Friday morning, they agreed to talk later in the day. But at about 6 p.m., Anderson’s aunt, who lives about 20 minutes outside of Phoenix, called Stahoviak, seemed worried.

She said she hadn’t heard from Anderson, and was growing increasingly worried. So Stahoviak said he was going to stop by Anderson’s apartment to find him. He tried Anderson first, but his phone was off, according to Stahoviak. When he reached Anderson’s place, Stahoviak let himself inside.

“His work laptop is still on the table, the screensaver is on, nothing to worry about,” said Stahoviak, who has been friends with Anderson for more than two decades. “Looks like he left in a bit of a hurry, there was an empty bottle of water, his credit card still there, some cash, laundry on the floor of his kitchen. And there was a wet towel on his bed. He’s a pretty neat guy, he won’t let things lie around. We don’t know what that means, maybe he changed his clothes quickly. But he makes the bed every morning and wet towels on the bed — Ben will never. ”

Stahoviak and a few friends who had accompanied him to Anderson’s apartment “turned the apartment upside down,” he said, adding that he had Anderson’s Apple ID password and was trying to access his iPad, but is hindered by two-factor authentication enabled. device because Anderson’s phone is missing.

At 7:30 p.m., Stahoviak called the Phoenix Police Department and, along with Anderson’s family, informed him that he was missing.

“If you watch TV, when there’s an adult missing, and at that point, there’s no sign of bad play, it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s great. Thank you,” Stahoviak said.

Feeling the need to do something, Stahoviak started monitoring the Citizen app to find any potential customers. He remembered that Anderson’s car was equipped with a GPS tracker, so he called Lexus to see if they could locate the vehicle.

Polite Daniel Stahoviak

However, Lexus informed Stahoviak that it could only provide that information to the police. So Stahoviak, who works in Raytheon’s global ethics and business ethics division, called Phoenix PD again. The employee on the other end of the line said he wouldn’t call Lexus, according to Stahoviak. That’s when Stahoviak contacted Anderson’s aunt, who actually owned the car, and asked her to call Lexus. But even if she can’t make any progress with the company, this insists that a cop is needed to make the call. This back and forth between Stahoviak, the Phoenix director, and Lexus, went on for hours, Mr. Stahoviak said.

“We said, ‘We beg you, it’s life and death,’ he recalls. “And they won’t do it.”

Eventually, Stahoviak was contacted by “someone with a heart for Lexus,” who said the vehicle was near Interstate 17. Lexus also managed to connect with Phoenix police and told them the vehicle was Anderson is currently parked at a Super 8 motel, police said. known for drug activity. But when the officers got there, the car was gone. One of the policemen called Stahoviak and said there was nothing more the police could do.

Among other options, Stahoviak said he and a convoy of Anderson’s friends “decided to just go from the hotel to the hotel, and in the garage at Sheraton Crescent, with the car — with three people in it. there.”

The car parked on the fourth floor took off and Stahoviak gave chase. But when the car started driving the wrong way down one of the streets, things seemed too dangerous. So Stahoviak backed up, and the car sped into the night. Stahoviak describes one of the occupants as a blonde woman wearing a pink hat, and a man, white or Latino, with dark curly hair. He said he couldn’t know any details about the third person’s arrival.

It is now around 12:25 a.m. Stahoviak and the others call 911 and receive an automated message saying all carriers are busy and please wait. Twenty minutes later they finally made it through, and Phoenix police dispatched a team vehicle to meet Stahoviak and the group in Sheraton. Police searched the area, but were unable to find Anderson’s Lexus.

The distressed crew heads back to Anderson’s apartment to continue their search for clues, while phoning Lexus over and over again to try to debunk any minutiae they can. Finally, a member of the vehicle tracking team said the vehicle was “offline, which means the vehicle was tampered with,” Stahoviak said.

“We said, ‘Please, can you give us the zip code?’ That would at least give us a five-mile radius,” he recounts. “You could say she wanted to help but didn’t want to break the rules. And she said, ‘I think it’s 85021, near Cave Creek Park.’ So we flew out of the house, we drove around for an hour, and there was a car, destroyed. ”

Stahoviak said he and others eventually found Anderson’s car, burned to a crisp, in the parking lot of UEI University, a vocational school located just north of the Sheraton Crescent hotel.

“We used the Citizen app, but absolutely don’t remember someone uploading a video of the car on fire at 1:58 a.m.,” says Stahoviak. “The Fire Department put out the fire and then they left. The doors were melted, it looked like an accelerator was used.”

At around 4 a.m., Director Phoenix showed up and searched the area and pulled the burned-out shell of Anderson’s car, according to Stahoviak.

“I can confirm that Benjamin Anderson is listed as a missing person,” Sgt. Ann Justus of the Phoenix Police Department told The Daily Beast. “This is an open and active investigation.”

Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant major who now teaches police science at New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told The Daily Beast, “Unfortunately, your friend he did a better cop than a cop… There shouldn’t have been a car fire in this case to have a sense of urgency. You already have many clues that this missing person case was involuntary. “

Stahoviak, who put up $10,000 of his own money as a reward, said he won’t rest until his friend is found. He Talk to Republic of Arizona on Sunday that Anderson had never gone missing before and had no enemies, as far as he knew.

“The people in that car knew something,” Stahoviak told The Daily Beast. “Sheraton has video footage of the people in that vehicle, as we spoke to a security guard at Sheraton who said the police got it. Those people don’t wear masks, so who are they? The security guard said the video is very clear and you can see the driver and passenger switching seats. Obviously so. ”

Anderson’s Lexus, after the fire.

Polite Daniel Stahoviak

Director Phoenix “dropped the ball,” Stahoviak said. “We pushed them and urged them to do their job. We went into very dangerous areas on our own. They told us we shouldn’t be out there, and we said, ‘We will, if you don’t.’ “

On Sunday night, Stahoviak said he and three of Anderson’s truck attendants were out looking for clues and witnesses. An employee at Super 8 told them there was no daily housekeeping at the motel and no one was checking the rooms where the occupants were paying their payments. Now, Stahoviak is ready to start knocking on her own.

“There’s something going on at that hotel,” he said.

On Sunday afternoon, a detective from the missing persons unit got in touch and said she was going to Anderson’s apartment to conduct a search. Stahoviak says he hasn’t heard from him since.

“His parents called the police department and left a message,” said Stahoviak, who spent all his spare time handing out flyers in the hopes that someone would recognize Anderson. “No one called them back.”

Ruins of a Lexus in Anderson’s trash can.

Polite Daniel Stahoviak

Without any hard information, Stahoviak, who took to the streets again Monday looking for clues, had his own ideas of what might have happened to Anderson.

“Ben was always a nice guy,” he said. “And I think he will help anyone. Even if they were drug addicts, he wanted to help them. My theory is that some kind of help was provided and it went south. “

For Giacalone, “burning a car signals another level of suspecting — a level of not having to do it for the fun of it.”

“For me, there is another motive,” he said. “Whether they are the right person or not is also something that needs to be scrutinized. Who is his neighbor? “


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