WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A 43-year-old cold case is back on the radar in West Palm Beach. Friends of a missing Minnesota man are now looking to expert divers to help them in their search.
Michael John Olson went missing in the city in November 1979. He was just 20 years old, working an internship at a local country club, his friends said. He had only been here for eight days when they said he went out for drinks with coworkers and disappeared.
"He didn’t show up for work the next day," Paige Neinaber, a friend of Olson, said. “They checked; all of his stuff was in his room. The car was gone. He had never returned.”
Neinaber was friends with Olson in Minnesota. Almost 44 years later, he flew down to West Palm Beach to help divers search the waterways near where Olson was last seen.
In an old police report from the West Palm Beach Police Department, a friend of Olson described him as a "fine young man and very highly thought of. There is nothing in his home area that would indicate any actions such as disappearing for unknown reason."
Neinaber said this has been a cold case that he has never forgotten.
"It’s still something people talk about,” Neinaber said. “Nothing is debunked. Everything is on the table."
Recently, Neinaber reached out to the Darkwater Dive Center, a diving group out of Jacksonville, to help with the search.
"People lose things in the water all the time," Brent Arrowood said. "We go find them and bring them up.”
The dive team spent the past few days searching local waterways for any trace of Olson or his car, a 1979 Grand Prix.
"It’s a terrible thing for a parent to lose a child but to lose a child and not know where they lost them would destroy anybody," Arrowood said. “At this point, we’re kind of figuring we’re not going to find that particular car and that’s okay with us. Because now we can show, he's not in the water here. So, they can skip that theory and move to the next one. Rule this out."
But even with no lead, Olson’s story is still filled with hope.
"Nothing bad will ever come from keeping a light shining on it," Neinaber said.