Netflix Engineer Missing After Taking Uber Ride in Bay Area

Missing Netflix Employee Yohanes Kidane (Credit: GoFundMe)

A 22-year-old Netflix employee, who was last seen getting into an Uber in San Jose, Calif., has been missing for a week.

Yohanes Kidane is from Rochester, New York, and graduated from Cornell University in May. He recently moved to the Bay Area, but vanished two weeks after starting a dream job as a software engineer at the streaming giant.

A security camera recorded Kidane leaving his apartment building in downtown San Jose around 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 14. He got into a black Toyota Camry with an Uber sticker on it and hasn’t been seen since, his family told local news station KTVU-TV.

“I’m heartbroken,” his distraught mother Mehret Hana Beyene told the station.

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The family contacted police in San Jose, after becoming concerned because they hadn’t heard from Kidane.

“Two young colleagues of his saw him and were able to talk to him,” his older brother Yosief Kidane told the station. “He said he was heading to San Francisco to maybe meet a friend. The last footage I’ve seen of him, was him leaving his apartment building.”

His phone’s GPS showed he arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday night.

The next morning a commuter found Kidane’s wallet and cell phone near the bridge’s welcome center and notified police. On Wednesday, police located his backpack.

“Thirty bucks in cash was in his wallet, ID cards, phone untouched,” his brother said as he broke down in tears. “We’re calling medical centers, homeless shelters, distributing posters. Doing everything in our power to get my brother back.”

His family and friends have traveled to the Bay Area to search for answers. They created a GoFundMe page to cover travel expenses, private investigators, attorneys, and other resources for the search, the page says.

The page revealed two days before he vanished, Kidane told friends another rideshare experience had been so alarming that he worried about getting into another one alone.

Kidane’s close friend, Lucas Achkarian, also graduated from Cornell in May and told the school’s newspaper that he spoke with the Netflix employee on FaceTime two days before he disappeared.

“He was normal as always, [he’s] always been a really positive guy,” Achkarian said. “We don’t think there’s any self-harm or anything implicated from that. Because his family situation, I think, was perfectly fine, friends are fine, workplace is fine. He was super motivated, honestly. He was going to the gym and was just pretty excited about life.”

In a statement to Urban Hollywood 411 this evening, San Jose police said the rideshare company is cooperating with investigators and the case remains open.

“The investigation has uncovered no evidence to suggest that a crime has occurred,” the statement said. “San Jose detectives have kept Mr. Kidane’s family advised of all pertinent developments in the case.”

The California Highway Patrol, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, and the U.S. Coast Guard are assisting with the case, San Jose police said.

Yohanes Kidane is described as Black, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds, and was last seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black hoodie and black shoes.

Anyone with information on Kidane’s whereabouts was urged to contact the San Jose Police Department at (408) 277-8900.