(Sorry this post is late! Life happened.)
This month’s missing persons case is one that has been all over social media lately – especially Tik Tok. Which is probably why I’ve received several requests to cover it. So, what would make a young man leave his home after having an “epiphany,” and how did his car end up crashing into the center median of an interstate? Let’s explore.
Who Is Logan?
Logan Drew Schiendelman was born on Jun 27, 1996. By all accounts, he is a kind and sensitive young man. In the news, he’s often described as being outgoing and laid-back. He was popular during his time enrolled at Tumwater High School. He was the starting cornerback for the school’s varsity football team – and managed to maintain a good GPA while doing so. He graduated in 2014, with plans to attend Eastern Washington University, where many people from his high school were also planning to attend. However, after graduation, something seemed to shift within Logan’s life. He nearly immediately cut all ties with his large social circle from high school. Any attempts to get in contact with Logan went unanswered. Messages were delivered and opened, but Logan never responded.
Late in the summer after graduation, Logan decided to withdraw his attendance at Eastern Washington University. Instead, he applied to Washington State University In his first semester at WSU, the once outgoing and sociable Logan attended parties, but struggled to make connections with others. Despite being an excellent Student in high school, Logan’s academics were also suffering in his first semester at WSU. These issues eventually led to Logan withdrawing from school altogether and moving in with his grandmother. After moving, he secured two jobs, which often kept him very busy. In his off time, he liked to smoke pot. He was at a crossroads in his life, but he was working towards figuring it all out, by all accounts.
He had also recently reconnected with his paternal family members, whom he did not have a relationship with while growing up. He had managed to reach out and begin meeting them just prior to his disappearance. He kept this reconnection a secret, however, as he believed that his grandmother would be angry with him for forming relationships with them.
Logan is biracial. He has black hair that he normally shaves and brown eyes. At the time of his disappearance, he stood at 6’ tall, and weighed somewhere between 150 and 190 lbs (this is a huge range, but I think it’s likely due to the difficulty of estimating weight when it comes to muscle). He was last seen wearing a black jacket over a white t-shirt, and jeans. The exact shoes Logan was wearing is not known, but he was known to wear Nikes often.
On the morning May 19, 2016, Logan and his grandmother Virginia Gebo had a conversation in which he told her that he’d had an “epiphany.” He seemed determined and anxious during their talk, which was unlike his usual laid-back affect. As both Virginia and Logan were due at work, she offered to continue the conversation after they were both home for the night, before they both departed for their respective jobs. This would be the last time that Virginia Gebo would see her grandson.
When Logan didn’t arrive home, Virginia tracked his phone to Olympia. As his mother lived in that area, she assumed he’d made a last-minute decision to visit her. His mother would later report she did not see him at all that day. Cell data would show him (or at least his phone) travelling up and down the interstate throughout the day, though the reason why remains unknown. When Logan still hadn’t returned home by the next morning, Virginia attempted to call the police to file a missing persons report, but they were closed for the weekend (really?).
The last known sighting of Logan took place sometime in the morning of May 20, 2016. A woman driving on southbound I-5 reported seeing a black Chrysler Sebring on the right shoulder of the interstate. Three men were standing by the car, one of which she identified as Logan. The other men were both white. One was around 6’ tall with stringy blonde hair and was wearing clothes that were too small for him. There are no vital statistics reported for the second man, but we know he had shoulder-length blonde hair and was wearing jeans with a flannel-style button down shirt.
At around 2 PM on the same day, several calls came into 911 regarding a car crossing over into other lanes while driving on I-5. Those witnessing the accident claimed that it didn’t look like anyone was in the car. Eventually, the car veered across all lanes of traffic and collided with a concrete barrier, and finally came to a stop. Another witness came forward to report that a white man with red or brown hair exited the car from the passenger side and fled to the nearby woods. This man was obviously not Logan, but I’m left to wonder whether it was one of the men he was seen with earlier in the day. Dark blonde hair can easily look brown or reddish, depending on the light. However, I’m unable to find any further description of the man that fled from the car to either confirm this suspicion or debunk it.
An investigation of the abandoned vehicle confirmed it to be Logan’s. His wallet – with his ID, debit card, and cash still inside – was found, along with his cell phone, the keys to the car, a water bottle, and snack foods that appeared to be newly bought. When Logan’s missing persons report was finally taken, it was matched to the car accident and taken seriously right off the bat. A two mile radius from the car was searched on foot with scent dogs, though no further clues were found from this search.
While Logan had no known enemies at the time of his disappearance, he did have a contentious relationship with his half-sister’s boyfriend. His half-sister lived with their grandmother as well, and her boyfriend eventually moved into the shared home. Logan apparently was not okay with this change, and the tension was noticeable. However, investigators vetted the boyfriend’s story, and he passed a polygraph regarding Logan’s disappearance. There are currently no publicly known persons of interest.
The internet has been alight with theories about what happened to Logan that day, and they range from reasonable to absolutely out of pocket. Let’s start off with the sensational theories first. Many people speculate that Logan was the victim of foul play – and it’s easy to see why, given how his car was found. The first theory involving foul play is that Logan was abducted and murdered due in some way to his drug use. It was fairly well known that Logan was smoking a lot of pot around the time of his disappearance. This theory posits that Logan either owed someone money for that habit or witnessed something he shouldn’t have in the process of purchasing his weed and was subsequently murdered for it. Of course, this is a refrain we hear whenever a victim was involved in drugs. However, there is no evidence circumstantial or otherwise that points to this theory.
The next theory involving foul play is that Logan was murdered intentionally, but the perpetrators did not intend to kill him at first. This covers an array of different scenarios. First, it’s possible that Logan was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. This would explain why other men were seen both with him and his car. He also could have been assaulted or murdered as a case of mistaken identity, then abandoned when the perpetrators realized he was not their intended target. A third possibility here is that Logan was the victim of some sort of accident at the hands of someone else – the accident most commonly posited alongside this theory is a hit and run. I think that these are all more plausible than the Drug Deal Gone Wrong scenario, considering the witnesses seeing men with him and with the car.
Another theory is that Logan suffered from some sort of mental breakdown and met his fate because of that. We can’t possibly know what was going on in Logan’s mind at the time of his disappearance, but we know that it was a time of great turbulence. Not only had he just made the incredibly difficult decision to withdraw from school, he had also recently stopped communicating with all of his friends. I can imagine he was feeling lonely. If, perhaps, that loneliness overwhelmed him, it is possible that Logan found somewhere isolated and completed suicude, and has not yet been found. It could also be possible that he suffered from some sort of break with reality – which his “epiphany” could have been pointing to, but we’ll never know – and he wandered into the woods and succumbed to the elements. It seems to me that this theory is all conjecture, based on recent life events. This theory also does not explain the men seen with Logan, or the car accident.
The last theory we will discuss is that Logan left to start a new life. It seemed to some of his friends and family that he was trying to “start over” for college, based on his last-minute school switch and the dropping of all of his friends. Perhaps Logan realized he needed to take larger steps to get away from his life in Tumwater, and chose to start over again somewhere new. Again, this is a theory we see over and over when someone goes missing – but why would Logan leave everything behind, and who were the men seen with him? This just doesn’t fit with what we know about Logan’s case at the moment.
Unfortunately, I lean towards some sort of foul play being involved with Logan’s disappearance. As much as he seemingly wanted to start over, I don’t feel like he would leave his family so suddenly and with no further word. The witness sightings also point to the idea that there were others involved in Logan’s disappearance.
If you or anyone you know has any information regarding what happened to Logan, please contact the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office at 360-786-5500. Seriously, no matter how small or inconsequential your tip may seem, anything could be the key to moving this case forward. Logan is missed, he deserves to come home – whatever that means in this case. If you can help that happen in any way, step up and speak up.