MD GEORGE MARCEL LUTAS: Missing from Germantown, MD - 20 Nov 1991 - Age 26


Well-known member

Lutas was last in contact with his family in November of 1991.

edited by staff to add media link

Last edited by a moderator:


Name: George Marcel Lutas
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: November 20, 1991
Location Last Seen: Germantown, Montgomery County, Maryland

Physical Description
Date of Birth: circa 1965
Age: 26 years old
Race: White
Gender: Male
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Nickname/Alias: Unknown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Scar upper lip, White spot of hair on right rear of head

Dentals: Available
Fingerprints: Not Available
DNA: Available

Clothing & Personal Items
Clothing: Unknown
Jewelry: Unknown
Additional Personal Items: Unknown

Circumstances of Disappearance

Lutas was last in contact with his family in November of 1991.

Investigating Agency(s)
Agency Name: Montgomery County Department of Police
Agency Contact Person: Detective Brian Stafford
Agency Phone Number: 240-773-5086
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: 91-258279
NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: 19320

By Veronica T. Jennings

August 7, 1992

When Montgomery County police Detective Barry Collier and two FBI agents burst into a Days Inn motel room in Capitol Heights in June, they hoped to find missing businessman George M. Lutas.

Lutas wasn't there, but the officers found three of his associates who had been holed up in the room for six months. The three gave a bizarre reason for their lifestyle -- they said they were hiding from a Romanian hit squad -- and they offered no clues to the whereabouts of Lutas, a 27-year-old Montgomery County computer entrepreneur who has been missing since December.

Collier's encounter at the Days Inn was only one of many strange twists in his search for Lutas, a search that has turned up everything from copyright disputes and false identities to allegations of a secret government project.

Neither his family nor his friends has heard a word from Lutas since he vanished late last year from a Germantown town house. He left behind a "people management" computer software prototype that was three years in the making, an undetermined amount of business debt and a group of business associates who have since parted company.

The puzzling story began in October 1988, when Lutas, then a recent graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, quit his $33,000-a-year consulting job with a District firm to launch his own computer software company, Renaissance Information Solutions.

"I want to build this to be a big company quickly," said Lutas, who agreed to allow The Washington Post to chronicle the ups and downs of his venture. "I look at Lotus and Microsoft and say, 'I want to do that too.' "

Three years later, Lutas vanished while he was trying to raise money to market his new computer program. He was living with three other young men in Germantown; all three told police that Lutas left without telling them he was leaving or where he was going.

In December, his parents filed a missing persons report with the Montgomery County police and hired a private investigator after their son failed to come home to New York for a family gathering.

Collier, an 18-year veteran of the Montgomery County Police Department, said that one of Lutas's partners told him he had quarreled with Lutas over business matters shortly before he disappeared and that Lutas had left owing investors various sums of money. It is unclear how much money Lutas raised and what became of it.

One investor, a college chum of Lutas's, said he sank $40,000 into the software venture and lost contact with Lutas after March 1991. "It had gotten weird," said Jon Lundberg, adding that Lutas had refused to see him last year when he visited from Philadelphia. "He was on this secrecy kick."

Collier said police cannot treat Lutas's disappearance as a criminal case unless they find evidence that he was kidnapped or harmed. Initially, the detective said, he theorized that Lutas had skipped town because "he was a young man who had got in over his head. He was too embarrassed, ashamed to come home."

Still, Collier said he is baffled about why Lutas, the elder of two sons in a tight-knit family, would go so long without calling home. "What bothers me the most is his failure to contact his family," he said.

When Lutas struck out on his own in 1988, he was heavily in debt and living off six credit cards, but he had the support of his parents, both engineers who had moved the family to the United States from Romania in 1971. Lutas worked part time as a telephone marketer and water filter salesman to make ends meet during his company's first year.

In December 1989, he persuaded Aaron Wang, a college fraternity friend, to quit his consulting job with Booz-Allen Hamilton and join him. He assigned Wang the task of writing the code -- the words and symbols that create computer programs -- for the company's new product.

Lutas's mother, Julia Lutas, said the two men worked well together, and in November 1990, in a Post article, they expressed confidence that they could raise $7.5 million in $100,000 blocks from investors. At Christmas 1990, Lutas asked his parents for financial help, and the family paid off about $15,000 of his debts in exchange for a promise that he would abandon his business if it was not profitable by September 1991, Julia Lutas said.

In the spring of 1991, Lutas left his apartment in Adams-Morgan and moved into Wang's town house in Germantown. A few months later, Wang sold his town house and they moved into another Germantown town house with two other men -- Sonny Beck and Chris Kimmel -- along with Kimmel's wife and two children, according to police. Beck began working with Wang and Lutas on their dream of building a large computer company.

Julia Lutas said her son told her in 1991 that his relationship with his partners had become strained. Wang was upset, she said, because his name had been omitted from the software copyright. William D. Breneman, a District patent lawyer, said Lutas had been seeking a patent and a copyright for the software prototype, but he could not disclose details because of confidentiality rules.

Julia Lutas said she last saw her son in late August when the family visited Washington and had dinner with him and Wang. In mid-November, she said, she called her son's new home and was told he had gone to Atlanta to meet with a potential investor. On Dec. 2, she told police, a man identifying himself as Kimmel called her in New York to say that her son had just picked up a $10 million check from an investor in Atlanta and would be flying home in two days to meet his family at LaGuardia Airport.

Lutas didn't show up at the airport on Dec. 4. When his mother checked with American Airlines, she discovered that someone had booked a flight from Atlanta to New York for her son, Wang and Beck, she said. Police, however, said they have no evidence that the men boarded the plane or were even in Atlanta.

After the Lutases filed a missing person report, police uncovered few clues until the Wang family got a tip that led police to find Wang, Beck and Kimmel at the Days Inn in June.

Collier said he never figured out exactly what the three men were doing at the motel. None had jobs, he said, and they paid for the room with $100 bills for six months. They rigged the door lock so the motel staff couldn't get in, and only Kimmel registered, using an assumed name, police and hotel staff said.

During the four hours that Collier questioned the three in Room 203, Beck sat naked on the toilet and declined to give direct answers, the detective said. Collier said Wang told him they were hiding because Lutas had threatened to have them killed by a Romanian hit squad, but the officer dismissed the idea as absurd. "There is no such thing," Collier said.

The three left the motel, and Montgomery police continued searching for Lutas. The FBI briefly opened a kidnapping investigation but closed it for lack of evidence.

Kimmel resurfaced in Montgomery County last Wednesday, when he was arrested and charged with stealing a $22 wallet from a J.C. Penney's store in Gaithersburg. He was carrying no identification and told police that he was "Leonard Barber" and that he lived outside Chicago, according to the police charging documents.

Wang, in a recent telephone interview, declined to talk about his business dispute with Lutas and said he "wouldn't be particularly happy to see {Lutas} again."

Wang said he had no reason to suspect foul play in the disappearance of Lutas. "Why would anyone want to do harm to George?" he asked.

He called the computer program he and Lutas designed "wonderful," but said the project is in limbo "until George shows up." He said he wants to pursue other interests and "forget all this stuff."

The Lutas family, however, cannot forget. "I'm afraid to think the worst," said his father, George Lutas Sr. "I've lost 25 pounds since this thing happened. My whole stomach is an open wound."

Forum statistics

Latest member