Special Reports

Family members speak about 26-year search for Travis Zwieg

3-year-old last seen in Pinyon Pines in March 1991

Finding Travis Part 2 - 11PM

PINYON PINES, Calif. - Fond memories remain for Jessica Meyers, visiting a cabin near Indio Avenue in Pinyon Pines for the first time in years.


"It was nice in the winter,” Meyers said. “We'd come up. My dad would cut wood. We'd hangout. We really enjoyed our time up here. And we all came up here as a family."

It’s a place, she said, was spent with family and friends, including her little brother, Travis Zwieg.

"We were inseparable,” Meyers said. “He was my best friend. We did everything together."

But everything changed on March 10th, 1991.

Meyers said she was home with her mother and grandparents, while Travis and their father, Kevin Zwieg, headed up to the cabin for a weekend with friends.       

Meyers, along with investigators, said Travis disappeared just feet away from where Kevin was cutting wood, and has never been heard from again. 

From then on, Zwieg said the search and suspicions began.

"After 15 or 20 minutes, I knew something was wrong and he had been taken,” he said. “There was no way for him to get away from me that fast, and Travis wasn't a little boy that liked to wander. He liked to hang around his dad, and I knew right away there was something wrong."

But as investigators began searching for clues, Zwieg said in the weeks and months that followed it seemed to be the end for the family. 

"They (Travis's family) were pointing the finger at me," Zwieg said. "So, it was a matter of who the investigators believed the most. And obviously, they chose them. Because they were awarded custody of my kids. And subsequently, they just dumped my kids off into welfare and had them adopted out. I was never even given the opportunity to raise my own children after this." 

"Numb. I didn't talk," Meyers said about how she was after Travis disappeared. "I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't say anything. I was a completely different person when he disappeared. I was happy all of the time. And the day he disappeared, I lost my happy."

Zwieg said he and Travis's mother broke up soon after. He moved back near his family in Washington, and hasn't spoke with her to this day."

Meanwhile, Meyers said she was put into the foster care system, growing up in different homes around Riverside County. 

More than 25 years later, both Meyers and Zwieg are still searching for Travis, hoping for answers. 

"It's not a good feeling," Meyers said. "You want answers, and you think 26 years go by and you'll get them. But you don't. There's nothing."

"Birthdays and the days of the disappearance are the toughest for me," Zwieg said. "Having to go through this all alone was really the hardest."

But Zwieg said that all changed about a few years ago, when he received a call from a woman saying she was his daughter.

Meyers said she found her father online through old reports related to Travis's disappearance.

"It was amazing," Meyers said. "It was like a small piece of me got put back together. There's still one piece missing. But now, I have this piece. And now, we don't have to deal with this alone."

Investigators are still looking for answers as to questions about what may have happened to Travis, after he was last seen near a bush close to the cabin in Pinyon Pines 26 years ago. 

Below is an artist's rendering Riverside County Sheriff's Deputies said of what Zwieg would look like today at 29 years old. 


But both Meyers and Zwieg said they believe Travis may have been taken, not by a stranger, but by family.

"I believe that my grandfather or my mother had my brother kidnapped," Meyers said. "I think that my mother knows something. They (Travis's maternal grandparents) didn't like my dad. They didn't like him at all. They had issues with him from day one. They didn't like Travis. My mother and grandmother had taken me shopping that day for some unknown reason. Weekends prior to that, we were up here as a family. But that first weekend, I wasn't here. And he disappeared."

"He wasn't a wanderer," Zwieg said of his son. "He really wouldn't have went with strangers. It happened so fast, and obivously he went away with whoever it was, quite willing. I have the feeling that they (Travis's maternal grandparents) wanted our relationship to go away. They tried several times to make it go away. For them to all of a sudden on a Thursday night say, 'Please stay home with Jessica so we can go shopping,' That was just almost absurd."

After talking with them in our original report, we brought these allegations from Meyers and Zwieg to investigators with the Riverside County Sheriff's Deparment. Investigators said they're looking into gathering more information by reaching out to Travis's other family members. They said no one has been charged in this case. 

Now reunited, both Meyers and Zwieg said they're hoping to one day soon see their son, brother and best friend again. 

"We all love you and miss you, and we just want you to come home," Zwieg said. 

"I feel it," Meyers said. "I know in my heart that he's still alive. I think he's out there somewhere. He just doesn't know who he is. Travis, come home. Please come home. We're all waiting for you. We miss you so much, and none of this should've had to happen. I love you. We'll never stop looking for you."

Both Meyers and Zwieg said they've agreed to provide updated DNA samples to investigators. 

Meyers said both of her maternal grandparents have died since Travis's disappearance.

KESQ tried to contact Travis's mother, but we were unable to reach her. 

If you have any information related to this case or Travis Zwieg's whereabouts, you're asked to call the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Palm Desert Sheriff's Station at (760) 836-1600.

Click here for our original report with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigators on the search for Travis Zwieg.

 


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