PORTLAND, Ore. — Nearly two weeks after an Oregon man disappeared from downtown Portland while on a call with his fiancée, his family and friends are still searching for him, and hoping for good news.
Michael Watts, also known by the stage name “Freddie Hollywood,” was last seen in downtown Portland, Oregon on May 1, 2021.
The 37-year-old had traveled from his home in Eugene, Oregon to Portland for the weekend to perform his Freddie Mercury impersonation show at a local venue.
Facebook posts by friends describe Michael as an “icon of the local queer community.”
A former actor and stuntman, Michael later found his niche in impersonating Freddie Mercury, and became “Freddie Hollywood.”
But Michael never got the chance to perform that night -- and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“It’s like he just vanished,” his sister, Karlee Dash, told Dateline. “There have been no signs of life, but no signs of foul play either. Now, we’re in limbo… just waiting for an answer.”
Karlee told Dateline her brother checked into a hotel on Friday night and then on Saturday, he used his debit card at an ATM and at the CC Slaughters Nightclub, where he bought drinks. There hasn’t been any bank activity since.
On the evening of Saturday, May 1, around 10:30 p.m., Michael was walking near his hotel while he talked to his fiancée on FaceTime. He told her that he was walking to his hotel, but according to Karlee, Michael’s fiancée could see his location on her “Find my Friends” app and told him he was going the wrong way.
At one point, Michael appeared to be out of breath and his fiancée asked him what was wrong, his sister said. She added that Michael mumbled something and then dropped the phone. The call was cut off and no one could get in touch with him after that.
Karlee told Dateline that Michael’s fiancée got in touch with a friend Michael had been hanging out with that day. The friend walked the path from the bars to the hotel and claimed she found the phone in the street. Michael’s car was still parked at the hotel, but there were no signs of him.
When Michael didn’t show up for work on Monday, his family filed a missing persons report with the Portland Police Bureau.
Public Information Officer Lieutenant Greg Pashley told Dateline that Michael’s disappearance is being investigated by the Missing Persons Unit, but said detectives have no information to share and would not comment on the case due to it being an ongoing investigation.
When Michael is not performing, he works as a Private Security Contractor at a hospital and has plans to go to nursing school, Karlee told Dateline.
“Nursing school was the next goal he was working toward,” Karlee said. “He had plans. He wasn’t suicidal. He wasn’t going to run off somewhere.”
She added that he is very stable and reliable and that his disappearance is out of character.
“It’s not in his nature,” she said. “He wouldn’t just leave without telling anyone. And he would never not have a phone with him.”
Friends, family and members of the community have been in the Portland area for days, passing out thousands of fliers and talking to people on the street, hoping someone might have seen him. Many are worried that he got caught up in the protests that occurred that weekend amid ongoing unrest in downtown Portland.
“It’s day eight, maybe nine now… and it’s just scary,” Karlee said. “I’m his big sister and I can’t do anything to fix this. We just hope to have answers soon.”
A $10,000 reward is being offered by friends and family for information that leads to Michael’s whereabouts.
Michael is described as being 5’9” inches tall and weighing about 180 lbs. He has dark brown hair and hazel eyes.
If you have any information on Michael’s whereabouts, call Crime Stoppers of Oregon at 503-823-4357. The case number is 21-118799.