KIRO 7 Finds Father Who Vanished Without A Clue
Monique Ming Laven
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Reporter
Posted: 1:20 pm PST February 10, 2010
Updated: 11:06 am PST February 11, 2010
LOS ANGELES -- A large community that mobilized to form multiple search parties and post fliers couldn't find out what happened to Nicholas Francisco, because they were looking for the wrong guy.
They wanted to find a devoted father of two with a third on the way, a husband of seven years and a recently promoted art director of the respected ad agency Publicis Group.
He called his daughter Zea, promising he was coming to their SeaTac home to make Valentine's Day cookies, then left his job on lower Queen Anne.
SLIDESHOW: Man Vanishes, Abandons Family, Starts New Life
Then on Feb.13, 2008 he became a missing man.
Hundreds of Francisco's co-workers, friends, and family spent days arranging dozens of search parties.
Five days later, Francisco's car turned up at a Federal Way apartment complex, but nothing more.
The search continued.
Almost two years after his disappearance, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Monique Ming Laven realized KIRO 7 had to look for someone entirely different -- a man, whose driver's license says Alex Martin.
Ming Laven found him in Los Angeles.
He was living with a roommate, doing freelance design work out of a duplex.
His cover blown, he reluctantly sat down with Ming Laven for a few minutes.
Ming Laven: What were you trying to get away from?
Ming Laven: Such as?
Francisco: Literally everything. I needed to leave and that's what I wanted to do. I left because I wanted to reset my life and I needed a change.
Ming Laven: We went out there with hundreds of people who looked for you.
Francisco: It's what people do when they want to feel good about themselves -- that they're doing something.
Ming Laven: Was it hard to leave your kids?
Francisco: Yeah. Everyone else, not so much.
His ex-wife Christine had been waiting for two years to hear what happened. She was shaken to watch Ming Laven's interview.
"To hear it and hear it from his mouth, that's hard. It's reality," said Christine.
In the meantime, she gave birth to their third child, alone.
And she's tried to explain to 4-year-old Noah and 6-year--old Zea why dad isn't around anymore.
"He chose just as much as I did that he wanted to have those three beautiful kids, and he does have a responsibility to them," said Christine.
"You know, it's sad that I can't be a part of that, but I don't want to be around for the rest of that. There's a whole (expletive) ecosystem around that I don't even care for," said Francisco.
Francisco has been ordered to pay $906 a month in child support.
In Oct, 31, 2009, DSHS was able to grab some money from a bank account Francisco opened in California. But then he closed it, and became Alex Martin.
Meanwhile, Christine lost their home to foreclosure. She's also on the hook for his student loans.
"He thinks he can dump this on everybody that it's everybody else's responsibility and yet he doesn't care about anybody. He doesn't care about what he left behind and who he left behind," said Christine.
And the state says its hands are tied. For reasons of confidentiality, they cannot talk about this case in particular.
But they told KIRO it shows a weakness in the system -- when a deadbeat parent flees Washington, they're at the mercy of that other jurisdiction.
"The reality is that there are 360,000 support cases in Washington. You can only imagine how many there are in California, and you can only ask for so much assistance from other states. And sometimes, ours do not take the priority that their cases may. And that's the reality: That you're going to take care of your own work first," said Adolfo Capestany of the Washington Division of Child Support.
In the meantime, Francisco is delinquent on $16,321 in child support.
Christine and her family are barely scraping by with $600 a month on public assistance.
"He's putting the job on the state. He's putting the job on the taxpayers. Taxpayers are doing his job," said Christine.
There is still a tiny glimmer of Zea's father in Francisco.
Ming Laven: But you care about her.
Francisco: It's sad, that's what I'll tell you.
But the man who is now Alex Martin has decided he owes Zea and her brothers nothing.
Ming Laven: What are you supposed to be to her now?
Francisco: Disappeared. Gone off the face of this earth. Dead.
Ming Laven: You don't think it's affected them?
Francisco: I'm sure it's affected them. People get affected by things every day.
Ming Laven: Do you regret that at all?
Francisco: There are lots of kids that don't have dads.
Christine said she's accepted that he deserted her and even all his friends. But the kids?
"You can have all the people in the world love you, but to have one of your parents not love you or want you is devastating," said Christine.
Christine divorced Francisco in absentia, and has since remarried.
November 9, 2009: Mystery Of SeaTac Man's Disappearance Solved
February 14, 2009: Wife Says Missing SeaTac Man Led Secret Life
June 17, 2008: Wife Of Missing SeaTac Man Files For Divorce
February 19, 2008: Search Dogs Look For Missing Man
February 19, 2008: Missing Man's Car Found, Friends Say
February 18, 2008: Sightings Of Missing SeaTac Man Reported
"reminds me a little of John Van Dyke. His wife calls it "the maliciously missing" There ought to be a law against this, and Van Dyke's wife is pushing for one but it is so hard when really, there is nothing illegal about walking away. But I agree, there ought to be something to punish people who waste LE manhours and dupe searchers, etc.."
"I read that all missing cases are only viewable only after the LE validates a report of a missing person. Sometimes there is what they call a cold hit. A data entry error or any inconsistencies by human error only way to ensure a case is entered and…"
"It's been three years since you wrote this Gwen, and I still can't get anyone to listen to me. I have spoken with various police agencies (Detroit, Lincoln Park, and State) and still nothing. In the last year I've had two different…"
My husband, Fred Byrne, has been missing since 2/12/13. He was last seen in Holland MI by his mother. The 2005 dark grey Chevy Malibu MI plate # BSY0298 was found in Mark Twain National Park in Van Buren MO on 2/13/13 and reported to police the next…