SoCal Friends Converge Looking for Missing Designer

Man's accounts violated

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009  |  Updated 8:15 AM PDT
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Couture Fashion Week

This Southern California has been missing for more than a week. He was last seen in the Bay Area.

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Police in three cities are working on the case of a missing Los Angeles man, who was last seen in the Bay Area more than a week ago.

Police are involved in part because at least one person has attempted to access his checking account on multiple  occasions during the last seven days.
     
Officials from the Los Angeles Police Department, which is handling the missing person aspect of the investigation, said Elias Sorokin, 29, was last seen in Oakland at 8 p.m. on July 20.

However, Facebook says Sorokin was actually last seen in Santa Cruz at 11:15 p.m. on July 20.

The statement, which was written by his business partner Andrea Spratt on a page dedicated to his recovery, says Sorokin saw a friend in Santa Cruz on his way to meet an unknown third party.

The next morning, Sorokin missed a shoot for his clothing company,  KUCOONdesigns, and no one has been unable to reach him since.

Jonathan Baxter, a close friend who met Sorokin in their North Carolina hometown almost a decade ago, said Sorokin's friends in California have formed private search parties and canvassed areas where they think he  might be.

They have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Sorokin's recovery and whereabouts, and Baxter said the family is also  working with a private investigator.

Sorokin is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

He drives a 2007 gold/beige Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck with a camper shell and California license plate number 8H92932.

His phone is turned off and the voice mail box is full, and it's unclear if he ever met with the third party.

The Facebook page says on July 24, a woman tried to cash a KUCOON check for $4,500 at a Bank of America in Santa Cruz. The bank clerk called his partner to verify the check, who told her about the case. When the clerk returned to the table, the woman was gone.

Santa Cruz police Capt. Steve Clark said police are still working with the Bank of America, located at 104 River Street, to obtain surveillance  footage from that encounter.

"We haven't been able to get that video," he said. "I'm not sure what the hang up is."

Someone also tried to use Sorokin's check card multiple times on July 22 and July 25, including at a Watsonville Target.

Target's surveillance footage revealed that the person trying to make the purchases was not Sorokin, but Sgt. Terry Traub of
Watsonville  police declined to comment if the person had been identified.

"It's still under investigation," he said.

Clark said Sorokin's family told police he might have been involved with marijuana trafficking, but neither Watsonville police nor LAPD  would comment.   It's also been reported Sorokin had a medical marijuana card.

Sorokin's mom, Anna Oleynik, says she believes Sorokin is being held captive and posted a note on the Facebook page saying she just wants him to come home safely.
     
"I would like to assure you that we understand that you may have gotten into this situation and do not know how to get out," she said in an  open statement to his potential captors. "We have no interest in pursuing any  charges against you. We forgive you completely. Please let Elias go free."

Sorokin's father is in the Santa Cruz area helping in the search.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at (213) 485-5381.
 

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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