Two months after the body of an aspiring writer and filmmaker turned up in the California desert, his family is desperate for answers and certain foul play was involved.
Ryan Singleton, a 24-year-old former model, flew from his family's Atlanta home to Los Angeles in July for a short vacation. Once there, he rented a car for a trip to Las Vegas, but things apparently went awry on the return trip as he drove through the desolate Mojave Desert on July 9. Near the tiny southeast California town of Baker, the car broke down and Singleton called a friend from a rest stop.
It was the last time anyone would hear from him. Tight-lipped investigators have released little information about any progress on the case, and Singleton's family knows little more than they did when he was initially reported missing.
Joggers would find Singleton's body two-and-a-half months later, its organs gone. While the autopsy report has not been released, law enforcement officials passed the gruesome detail on to Singleton's mother, she said, leaving her to speculate about her son's fate. Although experts told say the organs were likely taken from the body by scavenging animals, Singleton's family remains suspicious.
Investigators trying to reconstruct Singleton's final hours have told his family they believe he was picked up by a Highway Patrol officer after his car broke down and driven to the rest stop in Baker. Once there, Singleton called the friend who lived three hours away, and asked to be picked up, according to the family. But when the friend arrived and could not find Singleton, he reported him missing.
The family said authorities have said little to them about what happened to Singleton and have not yet disclosed a cause of death. Singleton's mother and same-sex spouse said they are convinced foul play was involved, but said they are unaware of a possible motive.
"I don’t know anything other than that my son was found with no organs in his body," Flowers said.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, a medical anthropologist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said it is "highly unlikely" that Singleton was killed for the purpose of harvesting his organs on the underground market.