Update: Cristian Alan Soto’s disappearance was likely a suicide, according to his family.
Family and friends of a 23-year-old man who has been missing since September 24 are asking for the public’s help in finding him.
Cristian Alan Soto grew up in the Mission, but relocated to Concord with his mother and siblings less than a year ago. Soto is Mexican, with brown eyes and black hair, and described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds. He was wearing black pants and a button up shirt with white flowers at the time of his disappearance.
Soto was reportedly last seen downtown, in the area of Bush Street and Van Ness Avenue, after leaving a friend’s home in the early morning hours on Saturday. The two had attended a concert by Australian record producer Flume on Friday night at the Bill Graham Auditorium at Civic Center.
But Soto uncharacteristically did not return home, and his loved ones have been unable to reach him as of Tuesday.
“He kept things to himself, but he would always tell our mom when he would go out and when he was coming back,” said Soto’s older brother, Jonathan Soto. “Saturday was our sister’s birthday – which I don’t think he would miss.”
The family reported Soto missing at the Mission District police station on Sunday evening. A spokesperson for the station said that an investigator was assigned to the case on Tuesday.
Hours before the Friday night concert, Soto had parked his car in an enclosed parking garage shared by an apartment complex and Batteries Plus Bulbs, a phone and electronics repair shop at 1450 Bush St. where Soto was most recently employed, according to his brother.
Tom Schultz, who owns the shop, confirmed that Soto left his car in the garage after finishing his shift at 6 p.m. on Friday, and had asked a manager to borrow the garage’s remote with the intention of picking up up his car after the concert.
After meeting up with his friend, the pair paid for an Uber car that shuttled them to the venue. According to Soto’s brother, the friend had told him that she and Soto had separated throughout the evening but reconnected after the concert concluded.
Soto then accompanied his friend to her home around 1 a.m., just blocks away from Batteries Plus Bulbs, where they had drinks with a group of friends before parting ways an hour later.
The friend reported that she did not hear from Soto after he left her home sometime around 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to his brother. The friend believed that Soto walked back to his car, and reported that he was carrying a backpack.
Later that morning, a co-worker noticed Soto’s car still parked in the garage, and discovered his backpack “in front of the car.” The backpack’s contents – an ID card, credit cards, wallet, the car keys, and extra clothing – were strewn out on the ground.
The car remained locked, and the only items that seemed to be missing were Soto’s cell phone and the garage remote, according to Soto’s brother.
“We thought that was odd,” said Schultz, who grew concerned when Soto did not show up for his scheduled shift on Saturday morning.
“Cristian is always on time, never a no-show, always prompt and a great employee,” said Schultz, adding that police have not contacted him or any of his employees since Soto’s disappearance.
“Even if [this was] some young person that doesn’t typically show up or has other problem in his life, we would be concerned, but that’s not him,” he said. “We are desperate for someone to come out here.”
Schultz added that a neighboring building has a security camera that points towards the garage’s entrance, and that a camera located at a nearby construction site could also have captured footage of anyone entering or exiting the garage.
Soto’s friends also expressed concern and confusion as to why his backpack was found abandoned next to his car.
“He had his car keys – it makes no sense for him to leave his backpack outside of the car and disappear from there,” said Soto’s friend and former boss, Hugo Gonzalez, who owns Compupod, an electronics store at 2433 Mission St.
Gonzalez said that previous to his job at Batteries Plus Bulbs, Soto was employed at Compupod for some five years, and the two have remained close friends.
Gonzalez described Soto as “very responsible about work.”
“If he was five minutes late, he would send me a text message,” said Gonzalez, who has been assisting the family in the search for the missing man. “He never missed a day of work.”
Soto is currently enrolled at the City College of San Francisco Ocean Campus and spent the majority of the week in San Francisco, commuting between school and work. He previously held jobs at Sprint and Radioshack in the Mission.
The family has posted flyers in the Civic Center area and in the Mission, where Soto still spent much of his free time.
“We grew up here – a lot of people around here know him, he has his network here. This was his place to be in,” said Soto’s brother, adding that Soto “never had trouble with people.”
Gonzalez said that he communicated with Soto through text messages last week, and that he seemed “fine,” adding that it is not like his friend to “just disappear.”
Soto has been diagnosed with asthma and is likely in need of his medication. He has also previously sought counseling for depression-related illnesses.
“I don’t know where my brother is. It’s something that really hurts me,“ said Soto’s brother. “We are trying to piece it together but we can’t.”
The family is asking that anyone who might have seen Soto contact them at 415-316-5991 or 415-827-7200. They can also call police at 911 or 415-575-4444.