MONTARA — A possible break in the case of a missing San Mateo County man came this week with the discovery of car parts near the north end of Montara State Beach.
But authorities cautioned that until the wheel and partial hub assembly can be analyzed, there’s no way to definitively link it to 22-year-old Richard Moss, who hasn’t been seen since he drove away from his home seven weeks ago in a blue 2001 Hyundai Tiburon.
It’s also the third time car parts have been found in the area since Moss disappeared and they ended up belonging to other vehicles, said Detective Sal Zuno, a spokesman for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
Zuno added that such discoveries are not unusual given the proximity of Highway 1 to the coastline.
The sheriff’s office doesn’t have any theories about what happened to Moss. Zuno said detectives assigned to the case are “keeping an open mind and following every lead.”
“We want to avoid playing the ‘what if’ game,” he said.
But a Facebook group dedicated to finding Moss has come to the grim conclusion that he veered off southbound Highway 1 near the north end of Montara State Beach. That’s where a diver found the wheel hub and partial assembly Thursday.
On May 25, the day he was last seen, Moss told his mother he wasn’t feeling well but otherwise appeared fine, Zuno said.
“He was not known to have any other issues going on,” Zuno said.
Zuno was unable to verify reports that Moss was heading to his electrician’s job in Pacifica when he left his Cedar Street home in Montara, a town nestled between Half Moon Bay and Pacifica. Surveillance footage from the same day shows his car at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Pacifica to the north and later heading south into the Tom Lantos Tunnel.
Plans are in the works to send divers back into the water where the car parts were recently found.
Authorities have conducted several other searches, including one by sea following the discovery of Moss’ AAA card at Montara…