Michael Wallace was a handsome, popular and well-liked student at Leominster High School in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was captain of the school football and track teams, served as senior class president, and was named the best-looking guy in the class in the yearbook.
Also during his senior year, Wallace was diagnosed with major depression (now called clinical depression) and hospitalized for nearly seven weeks. He graduated from high school in 1991 and attended Harvard University to play football.
The right mix of medication allowed Wallace to go almost three years between episodes of depression, until his junior year at Harvard. A year later, in 1995, he earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in organizational psychology.
Wallace and his wife, who met in college, moved to California in 1997.
Following the sudden death of his father, Ralph, in 1999 at age 51, the loss of his job at Sun Microsystems (for which he later sued), a drunken driving arrest and a separation from his wife, Wallace suffered a bout of depression.
Wallace was last seen in Menlo Park, California, Feb. 4, 2003, two months before his 30th birthday. That day, he was supposed to go with his estranged wife to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get identification so he could fly to Massachusetts. He canceled on her the night before.
All of Wallace’s possessions were left behind when he vanished.
Theories and sightings
There have been no phone calls, no letters, nothing from him for almost 20 years. There are theories surrounding his disappearance: Did he take his love of two early 2000s movies, “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Bourne Identity,” and live them out in real life? Did he join a monastery after studying Buddhism? Did he take his own life, worried his depression was becoming a burden to his family and friends?
There have also been reports of people spotting Wallace at a McDonald’s in California (a man driving a yellow Corvette, acting manic and ordering three hash browns), or walking the streets of San Diego in 2015. In both cases, it wasn’t Wallace.
And then, there was the photograph with a famous American actor.
“We thought we had a sighting of him last fall in Italy. There is a photo of Harrison Ford in Sicily with some officers who found his credit card,” Wallace-Pehi said. “One of those officers looks exactly like Michael. Only, he has a mask on. We have talked to the German tourist that turned in the (credit card). He does not believe it’s him.”
At the time of his disappearance, Michael Jay Amico Wallace was 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos of a large cross and a Tasmanian devil on his thigh and a rose on his ankle.
To register for this year’s 5K run and walk, go to michaelsrun.org.
Anyone with information on the case should call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office at (650) 363-4050 and reference case number 03-04390.