On September 11, 2011 Michael Darnell Bell drove his sister to the airport and was to join her, and their mother, in Ohio nine days later, he never made it. Bell was seen, on video taken from his apartment complex, exiting and re-entering his apartment in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles. He appeared to have been carrying various items out from his apartment and was captured leaving for the last time at about 3 o’clock the afternoon of September 16th, 2011. He is presumed to have left the area in his mother’s blue, four-door, 2002 Toyota Camry sedan with Ohio license plate BS20VB, as he is later found sitting in the same vehicle by CHP officers at approximately 3 am the morning of September 17th, 2011. Bell told the officers he ran out of gas and had been on his way back to Los Angeles. The officers refused to leave him stranded on the freeway and had taken him to the Chevron Gas Station at 46330 W. Panoche Rd, Firebaugh, CA, in Fresno County.
The car was left where Bell had been approached, on the southbound side of the 5 freeway near Russell Avenue and north of the Chevron Gas Station. Bell told the officers he had come from a religious retreat and did not appear to be in any distress. After arriving at the gas station, Bell thanked the officers and told them he would be alright. He was last seen walking towards the outside door of the gas station’s restroom. Two days later, the car Bell had been driving was impounded for having been left abandoned. Bell’s sister and mother returned to Los Angeles on September 22nd, 2011, after not being able to reach him by phone. They found his cell phone in his apartment as well as food left to spoil in his microwave. The last conversation Bell’s mother had with him was on September 16th, the day he is last captured on video leaving his apartment. He is then reported missing by his family.
The ensuing investigation has failed to identify Bell’s whereabouts or any information revealing what occurred after he’d been left at the Chevron Gas Station. Michael Darnell Bell is described as a male black with black hair, brown eyes, 6 feet tall, and 190 lbs. He has the tattoos “Mike” and “Bell” on his arms as well as the accomplishments of his father, Michael Darnell Bell Sr. and the names of his sisters “Ashawnta” and “Shekinah”, on the top of his wrists. He was 26 years old when he was reported missing. His case has been profiled by various news outlets including KTLA and The Fresno Bee as well as a number of missing persons websites such as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and The Charlie Project.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should contact the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS
(800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program. Independent of any City or other reward offers, anonymous tipsters using the LA Crime Stoppers program may be eligible for up-to a $1,000 cash reward based on arrest only
(no conviction required).
P3 Tips Mobile App