Plane Stolen From Watsonville Airport

Watsonville PD

Missing Person Connected To Plane Stolen From Watsonville Airport

Jennifer Hodges
July 11, 2019 - 2:11 pm
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Hugo Mar, missing person and theft suspect
Watsonville PD
WATSONVILLE — The suspect in the case of a stolen plane that has crashed is a man who was reported missing weeks ago by his family, according to Watsonville police. 

Police believe that 64-year-old physician’s assistant Hugo Mar took the plane from the Watsonville Airport without permission and flew away in it on the night of June 26. The owner reported the plane missing the next day, and the FBI and FAA were immediately notified.

From there, the case may have taken a tragic turn. Wreckage from the plane has been found, but authorities have not learned who was on board the craft. 

“We’re going to go off of what the FAA has stated in its preliminary investigation, which is that the plane crashed a couple of miles off the coast of the Santa Cruz Mountains leaving no survivors,” says Watsonville police spokesperson Michelle Pulido.

“It’s not our typical missing persons case,” said Sgt. Mish Radish. “How often does this happen? I guess in 2015 there was a plane stolen from the Palo Alto Airport which has never been found.”

Several factors pointed police to Mar, “and then as we couldn’t locate him we did reach family members who reported him as a missing person,” said Radish. Detectives found his car abandoned at the airport and no one has seen or heard from him since the night of the theft.

Mar is an active member of the flying club that had leased the plane and operates out of the Watsonville Airport, “however he did not have authorization to take that plane,” says Pulido. Mar had attempted to reserve it on the day of the theft but was denied.

The U.S. Coast Guard has canvassed the area of the crash but says they have yet to find any evidence.

Watsonville police are asking anyone who may have seen or spoken to Mar recently to come forward. “This is a bizarre case,” says Pulido. “There are a lot of questions that still remain unanswered and that’s why we’re really needing the help from the community.”

Written by Jessica Yi.