SANTA MONICA, Calif. - As she stood by a duck pond in Santa Monica’s Douglas Park Deborah Elkins said, "My kids came to this very pond and fed those ducks." The ducks and turtles at Douglas Park were reminders of the good times with her kids, but for the past two years, life hasn’t been so good.
"People say your problems get bigger when they get older," Elkins said. "I couldn’t have imagined this would be my life right now."
Elkins' oldest son Dane has been missing for two years. At the beginning of the pandemic, feeling perhaps delusional and threatened by Government operatives Elkins said her son posted a video to Snapchat, saying "there were targets after us, and targets after him and wanted to come clean."
In the video Dane said, "How do we know what food we’re supposed to have? And, what food we’re not supposed to have? What to drink. etcetera etcetera."
His mom said he told the family that "he was going to drive around in his car and stay with friends. He had a psychotic break, and he was actually living in his car."
But, they didn’t know that until his car was found near Castaic in December 2021 with, as Elkins explained, "everything traceable in it. And he vanished."
Elkins said police have been on the case but are limited in what they can do. She’s developed an army of people on social media on the lookout for her son.
"I can feel their love. I can feel the community’s support," Elkins said of her social media support. "You can feel everybody wanting this nightmare to end for our family."
Elkins said there have been many sightings of men believed to be Dane, but only four that have seemed concrete, "... because of the conversations and because what they saw, how he talked what he was wearing...."
But, she’s not absolutely positive her son — who holds many national junior and high school racquetball championships and is a Tae Kwon Do black belt — is even alive.
She called it "just a gut feeling from the sightings." She said there’s been no hard evidence, she is just full of hope.
Hope is the one thing that gets her through each day. One thing she really hopes is that if she can’t see her son in person, that someone who sees him can send her a picture so she knows he’s okay.
Dane Elkins is 24 years old. He has green eyes and brown hair. He is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.
Should Dane read this Deborah Elkins said to her son: "Dane, we love you. We miss you. Please let us know you’re safe. We think about you every single second of the day."