CA NICOLAS SONDEREGGER: Missing from Salton Sea Beach, CA - 7 Sept. 2018 - Age 28

Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
That was super interesting! Thank you for posting about this case.

People around that area are known as desert rats. I grew up in the desert, but way farther north than the Salton Sea. My grandparents used to own some property in the Salton Sea area. There have been rumors about witchcraft and animal sacrifices for decades. There's also a long long history of meth dealers and meth houses in the remote California deserts. I don't know if the witchcraft stories are true or not, but I once met a guy who swore up and down it was true and that he had worked for a couple in an air conditioning company that were involved in it.

I wonder if Nick heard a scream and then went out there to investigate and they decided to get rid of any evidence. I hope he didn't try to pull his knife on somebody, but he might have!
 

KareBear

Small victories... are huge.
That was super interesting! Thank you for posting about this case.

People around that area are known as desert rats. I grew up in the desert, but way farther north than the Salton Sea. My grandparents used to own some property in the Salton Sea area. There have been rumors about witchcraft and animal sacrifices for decades. There's also a long long history of meth dealers and meth houses in the remote California deserts. I don't know if the witchcraft stories are true or not, but I once met a guy who swore up and down it was true and that he had worked for a couple in an air conditioning company that were involved in it.

I wonder if Nick heard a scream and then went out there to investigate and they decided to get rid of any evidence. I hope he didn't try to pull his knife on somebody, but he might have!
Wasn't that compound interesting? I wonder if it was a camp or something. I was wondering that because of the restrooms. Was it ever mentioned who owned it? Did Nick say his parents owned it and I missed that?
Yes! The compound was definitely interesting! It seems that some sketchy activities go on around there... What's really crazy about this case, for me, is this..

I have been following the EWU (Explore With Us) Crew for many years now and have watched every episode. In the video they (EWU Crew) explain that they met Nic while exploring, and he and his friend joined them for the exploration; in other words, Nic was featured in one of their videos. I remember watching the episode when they met him so it was crazy later on to discover that he was missing.

I will have to rewatch to see if they mention who owned the property. I have read through some Reddit forums and from what I gather it seems that the the four sides of the Salton Sea are vastly different from one another. One side being predominantly farming, the opposite side is a bit more classy, while the side that he resided on was...well as you described.. no good really.
Okay sorry for the multiple posts but something else came to my mind. I wonder if there are any mines around there?
He seemed to be familiar with the area so I feel a mine accident is unlikely, although possible. I'm gonna do some Google mapping later 🤔.
 

Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
I wasn't really thinking about a mine accident, I was more thinking about how someone would have killed him and thrown his body in a mine. That's pretty common to hide a murdered body in a mine in the desert.

Did you know they had this updated video, too? I think it's crazy how they were taking care of Austin afterward. What the heck? Nick's Uncle even bought him a truck? Is that right and did I follow that correctly?

 

KareBear

Small victories... are huge.
I wasn't really thinking about a mine accident, I was more thinking about how someone would have killed him and thrown his body in a mine. That's pretty common to hide a murdered body in a mine in the desert.

Did you know they had this updated video, too? I think it's crazy how they were taking care of Austin afterward. What the heck? Nick's Uncle even bought him a truck? Is that right and did I follow that correctly?

Ohh! 🤦‍♀️ On the mine comment, I didnt even consider that! Good thinking! I have seen that updated video- but I'm going to watch both again!
 
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KareBear

Small victories... are huge.
Case Summary:

Nicolas Sonderegger was last seen by his friend Austin on Saturday, September 8th, 2018. The police report gives the missing date of September 12, 2018, which is, reportedly, four days after the date Nic was last seen by Austin. Austin and Nic had been friends for about 6 years at the time of Nic's disappearance.

According to Austin, who was the last person to see Nic, that night (early morning, technically) around 2am he and Nic heard a woman screaming on the other side of town (note: the town is very small, pop. 422 in 2010). The two debated on rather they should go investigate or not. Austin fell asleep. When he woke, he discovered that Nic was gone. He immediately began searching for him and reported him missing.

The Search:

About a block away from the compound, Austin found Nic's flashlight. Across from where his flashlight was found, investigators found one of Nic's boots, his pants, and his knife sleeve.

During later searches for his friend, on 9/18/18, Austin found Nic's hat and shirt in nearby brush- in a place that had previously searched. Austin states that he left the items there and reported it to the police.


1602296851610.png

Screenshot_20201009-105243_YouTube.jpg
(Nic's hat)
Screenshot_20201009-101250_YouTube.jpg
(Nic's boots)

Screenshot_20201009-105733_YouTube.jpg
(Nic's flashlight, knife, and knife sleeve can be seen attached to his shorts)

Back story:

Nic and Austin were working for Nic's uncle. (Nic's uncle is Christina's dad- you will see her mentioned later).
Nic's uncle has a criminal history and has been incarcerated for second-degree assault.
Nic and Austin were living in squalor, in an old run down trailer with a tent out back.

Ghosted:

Austin was initially very helpful and forthcoming with the EWU crew. When the crew heard that Austin was getting so much support from the uncle, they thought it was only right to make sure Austin was informed of the uncles history. Austin has not responded to EWU since they sent him the information. They cannot confirm that he even read it.

EWU showed the uncle's mugshot in their video, but say they have since blurred it not to offend anyone; however, Austin has still not responded to any further inquiries.

Fast forward:

After Nic's disappearance, Nic's uncle, allegedly, bought Austin a truck (or helped him get a truck) and took him under his wing- teaching him construction.
Austin's last known whereabouts were in San Diego with Nic's uncle/family.

Nic's brother, Julian, drives Nic's truck and is now, reportedly, living on the compound where Nic was staying.


Missing items:

Vehicle keys and wallet (reported by Austin).

Claims of Discrepancy:

Christina (mentioned earlier), Nic's cousin, claims that there is misinformation presented by the EWU Crew. She claims that Nic's wallet was found and it had $38 dollars in it. Further, she states that both of Nic's boots were found- not just one. When questioned further to clear up these discrepancies, like Austin, Christina ceased all contact with the EWU Crew. Ghosted again.

To my knowledge, neither claim about the wallet has been confirmed by police. So, I leave it to the reader to decide how much weight to put behind these claims.

Austin is the only known witness. The EWU crew directly reported on Austin's first-person account of the events that occurred that night, and the events that subsequently followed. As it stands, there has been no cause to believe that Austin has been deceitful.

What we know:

Nic has been a long time resident of the area. He remembers being little and being able to swim in the Salton Sea. When asked if he would swim there now. He replies, "hell no".

Austin was homeless and living in a tent.

Nic loves music and dancing and had a band called Sun Speik. He tells the EWU crew during the exploration video that he and Austin have thrown about 5 underground rave's and they were planning on throwing the next one at the "secret compound".

Screenshot_20201009-100445_YouTube.jpg
Screenshot_20201009-101137_YouTube.jpg


Nic is a cat lover and made special trips to the store daily to get his kittens fresh water. I think this speaks for his character.

Screenshot_20201009-113328_YouTube.jpg
Screenshot_20201009-113406_YouTube.jpg


The Rumor Mill and Viewer Theories:

1. That Austin is responsible.
2. That Nic could be found in the abandoned shed behind the property where he was staying.
3. That Nic starting using Meth about 2 weeks prior to his disappearance and had been acting strange. Some think that he might havewent swimming while he was high.


Reference-
All images and research is credited to the Explore With Us YouTube channel!
All images are for informational purposes only.
 

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SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
1. That Austin is responsible.
2. That Nic could be found in the abandoned shed behind the property where he was staying.
3. That Nic starting using Meth about 2 weeks prior to his disappearance and had been acting strange. Some think that he might havewent swimming while he was high.
1. I know there are some discrepancies and weird behaviors here, but I have a hard time accepting that Austin is responsible. I mean, he is the most obvious suspect. You always start with those closest to the victim. But IDK. Not convinced at this time.
2. Nobody has looked in this shed in 2 years?
3. Also have a hard time with this one. He grew up in the area and said he would never swim in that water. I know drugs can make you do crazy things. But I also feel like if he drowned, he would have been found by now.

Strange that the uncle started helping out Austin after Nic disappeared. Why wouldn't he help them both when Nic was still around? I know they were working for him, but they were living in a trailer/tent... Maybe he just felt bad after everything that happened. But again, weird timing. I'm not convinced either is guilty.

Did Nic really hear a scream? He does seem like the type to "go check it out". Did he see something he shouldn't have or try to stop something? I think they mentioned finding his pants and his knife sheath...but not the knife. (Though the pants were not mentioned on the map of being things that were found?)
 

tlorik

Truth for Tom Brown
Not buying Austin's stuff. Austin is the one that said they heard a scream, Austin was the last one to see Nic alive, Austin is the one that found all the evidence that has been found so far, Austin is now no longer in the area and and is big buddies with Uncle Whatsit? Austin may be an unfortunate victim of circumstance but I would have some very pointed questions for him to answer.
 

tlorik

Truth for Tom Brown
of course I could be completely crazy - I don't believe Sam Sheppard killed his wife and I really wanted to believe that Dylan Redwine's dad was innocent (but that's not looking real good right now.) So I'll be the first to admit I could be full of malarkey!
Recently watched a video from Mindseed TV on youtube and they were at a location by the Salton Sea that was some sort of artist's open air museum/gallery kind of thing. Very weird vibe to that area at least where they were.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
I could be way off too. Nic and Austin remind me of some people I know. So maybe I just *want* him to be innocent.
Austin is acting weird. Nic's family is acting weird. The whole dang thing is weird. I really don't know what to think.
 

KareBear

Small victories... are huge.
1. I know there are some discrepancies and weird behaviors here, but I have a hard time accepting that Austin is responsible. I mean, he is the most obvious suspect. You always start with those closest to the victim. But IDK. Not convinced at this time.
I agree. Although he is the easy suspect, I am also not convinced that he is responsible.
2. Nobody has looked in this shed in 2 years?
If reports are true and Julian (Nic's brother) is in fact residing on the property where Nic and Austin stayed (or has since resided there), I think it is safe to assume that he looked for his brother extensively throughout the property (imo).

3. Also have a hard time with this one. He grew up in the area and said he would never swim in that water. I know drugs can make you do crazy things. But I also feel like if he drowned, he would have been found by now.

I also don't believe this one. Especially because of his response of "hell no" when asked if would swim in the Salton Sea nowadays.

Strange that the uncle started helping out Austin after Nic disappeared. Why wouldn't he help them both when Nic was still around?
I know they were working for him, but they were living in a trailer/tent... Maybe he just felt bad after everything that happened. But again, weird timing. I'm not convinced either is guilty.
I believe the uncle helped Nic get the truck that his brother Julian now drives (I need to double verify before I state this as a fact, however).
Being devils advocate, maybe Austin's inability to catch a ride with Nic to work anymore motivated the truck purchase.

Did Nic really hear a scream? He does seem like the type to "go check it out". Did he see something he shouldn't have or try to stop something? I think they mentioned finding his pants and his knife sheath...but not the knife. (Though the pants were not mentioned on the map of being things that were found?)
Question:
I need to re-do that location image... If possible could I have it edited after I correct it?
To my knowledge, the knife was not found. From what I gather, it wasn't in the list of missing items either.

Recap of item locations:
About a block away from the compound, Austin found Nic's flashlight.

Across from where his flashlight was found, investigators found one of Nic's boots, his pants, and his knife sleeve.

9/18/18 Nic's hat and shirt were found in nearby brush (in a place that had previously searched).
 
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SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
I believe the uncle helped Nic get the truck that his brother Julian now drives (I need to double verify before I state this as a fact, however).
Being devils advocate, maybe Austin's inability to catch a ride with Nic to work anymore motivated the truck purchase.
Ahhhh, okay. I may have misunderstood that part. That would make more sense.

If possible could I have it edited after I correct it?
Yes. I'm not sure how long we have it set to be able to edit your own posts. But if you're not able to do it you can shoot me a message and I can do it for you.


In the follow-up video that Kimster posted, they also included a map (I believe it was provided by Nic’s cousin). I was going to get the time stamp but my WiFi just crashed so I’m on my phone.
 

Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
I wonder if they're taking care of Austin and being friends with him because they think he knows more than he's telling? I've heard of that in cases before where loved ones of the missing try to play detective all on their own.
 

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