ESCONDIDO — After nearly six years of countless searches, Escondido resident Olivia Tosic is still looking for her son, Skylar Peterson Tosic, who disappeared under bizarre circumstances in 2015.
Since then, Olivia has created a fledgling nonprofit, Sky Alert Foundation. Through the organization, she hopes to launch an app that features a nationwide network of licensed drone users to help capture aerial footage and locate missing persons much faster than law enforcement.
And to help fund her project, Olivia is hosting an upcoming charity rock concert featuring Daring Greatly at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1, at Flawless Bistro & Bar in Escondido.
“I can’t stop, I have to find him,” Olivia told The Coast News. “This is a horrifying experience. My son had a car, bank account and he was working as a caregiver for the county. He is a really nice guy, upstanding guy. In my heart, I feel like he’s still alive. I really believe that.”
As previously reported by The Coast News, Olivia received a strange text from Skylar on Friday, Aug. 29, 2015, that read: “I’m with two new friends, Thadeus and Eli. They a (sic) little too funny.”
Olivia said she felt something was wrong and she immediately texted him back but didn’t hear from him.
“My son’s in his 20s,” Olivia told The Coast News at the time. “If he wanted to be out for the night with friends, there wasn’t anything I could do.”
Skylar didn’t come home Friday night or Saturday, but he did show up at the family home on Sunday afternoon, covered in dirt.
“He told me that he’d been hiking, climbing hills,” Olivia said. “But he’s not a nature-lover.”
Olivia told Skylar that she needed to use the bathroom but that she would like to speak with him because she hadn’t seen him in two days. But Skylar was gone when she returned just 15 minutes later.
At 8 p.m. that evening, Olivia received a cryptic text from Skylar that was cut short mid-sentence.
“There are two women with us now,” the text read. “They have passports and they’re rich. They want me to travel with them. They want to go to…”
“That’s when I called the Escondido police,” Olivia said. “I reported him as being a missing person, but they told me that since Sky was over 18, there wasn’t much they could do.”
Nearly six years after his disappearance, Olivia knows a little more about where her son was during part of that weekend, but that information has only led to more confusion.
With the help of a private investigator, Olivia discovered that an Uber driver on Friday night had dropped Skylar off near San Pasqual Academy in Escondido.
“I don’t know where he slept on Friday, but he was discovered sleeping at the academy on Saturday night,” Olivia said. “I was told that he was tired and dehydrated. He was given some crackers and water and the academy director let him stay there that night. Then someone from there drove him home on Sunday.”
When Skylar left home, another Uber driver again picked him up and dropped him off near the academy.
A few months after her son disappeared, Olivia noticed a local news segment about another young man, Elijah “Bear” Diaz, who vanished from his home in El Cajon over the same weekend as Skylar’s disappearance.
The similarities in both cases were featured on Investigation Discovery’s “Disappeared,” but Olivia said law enforcement has since determined the two cases aren’t connected.
As the sixth anniversary of her son’s disappearance approaches, Olivia has had her fair share of ups and downs. Since Skylar’s disappearance, Olivia’s partner “Ukulele” Ray Masters died on April 6, 2018. And her private investigator was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to leave the investigation.
When thinking about what may have happened to her son, Olivia can only make educated guesses but believes she may be finally headed in the right direction to finding her son.
“To this day, honestly we don’t even know,” Olivia said. “It could be the Uber driver. We are also looking at other sets of people named Thaddeus and Eli. All I want is my son, I want to talk to my son. Hey Skylar, you’re not in trouble. Please reach out to me. I love you very much, more than life itself. I want to know you’re alive well.”
The Sky Alert Foundation fundraiser is from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1 at Flawless Bistro & Bar in Escondido. Tickets are $39 for individuals, $60 for couples (or two people) and can be purchased online here. The cost includes 1 complimentary cocktail and hors d’oeuvres.