The Napa, Calif., Police Department is continuing the parental abduction investigation involving suspect Michele Ruth Schauer, 42 years, and her 4-year-old son, Nicholas McDonald.
On Monday, September 27, at about 12:20pm, Nicholas’ father, Michael McDonald, reported to police that he went to pick up his son at a Napa daycare facility. Upon arriving at the daycare facility, he was informed by school authorities that Schauer did not drop-off Nicholas earlier in the day, nor had they heard from Schauer.
Also on Monday at approximately 10:00 am, the Nevada Highway Patrol located an abandoned 1988 Toyota 4-Runner with a Nevada license in the traffic lane of US 395 near Parr Blvd (situated at the north end of Reno PD jurisdiction about 3 miles from Interstate 80). Inside the vehicle authorities located Schauer’s purse, passport, personal identification, boxes of hair dye and luggage inside the vehicle.
The investigation revealed Schauer had purchased the vehicle using the name Susan Henderson, in Reno from a private party for all cash on Sunday, September 26, 2004 at about 7:00 pm. Nicholas was not seen during the sales transaction; however, the seller indicated Schauer was in a hurry to finish the deal and made reference that her child was nearby. Schauer was last seen driving away alone in the Toyota 4-Runner.
Investigators have obtained a surveillance video showing Schauer and her son getting out of a newer, dark Honda at a convenience store located near the off ramp where the Toyota 4-Runner was abandoned on Monday, September 27, 2004. Schauer is seen entering the store carrying a large brown or beige child seat, large floral print carry bag and a white canvas type shoulder bag. Schauer is a wearing a ball cap and it appears her hair is now cut collar length. Schauer does not make a transaction inside the store and is last seen exiting the store with Nicholas.
Later on Monday, September 27, 2004, witnesses report Schauer and her son arriving in a green sedan driven by a white male, 40-50 years, at a RV Park located in Bordertown, Nevada. Bordertown is situated near the California/Nevada border north of Reno on Highway 395. Schauer reportedly approached a park resident and inquired about getting a ride on Highway 395 North. The resident declined to give her a ride and Schauer and her son left on foot to a nearby gas station. Schauer returned to the RV Park shortly afterwards where an older male driving an off-white truck with a camper shell, possibly a Ford Ranger, arrived and picked up Schauer and Nicholas. The truck is further described as having a Nevada license plate and a disabled placard. The truck left in an unknown direction of travel on Hwy 395.
Since then, there have no other verifiable sightings of Schauer and her son, Nicholas.
Investigators believe that Schauer may make attempts to change her appearance and the appearance of her child. Schauer wears prescription glasses and contact lenses. Her weight has been updated to approximately 160 lbs.
Schauer left behind in her abandoned vehicle camping gear, campground maps and road maps.
On Wednesday, September 28, 2004 Napa Police Investigators served a search warrant on Schauer’s chiropractic business in San Francisco. It appears that Schauer walked-away from her business and failed to cancel appointments with clients.
Schauer has exhibited erratic behavior and authorities are concerned for her welfare and the safety of her son.
A felony warrant for Michele Ruth Schauer for Child Stealing has been issued. Bail is set for $50,000.
Michele Schauer is described as a white female, 42 years old, brown hair/brown eyes, 5’3″/160 lbs. Nicholas McDonald is described as a white male, 4 years old, 3’4″/45-50 lbs.
Still outstanding is Schauer’s 1999 Land Rover Discovery, green in color, California license number 4KBL182.
Schauer may be en route to Oregon or Washington States.