“You and I both know somebody knows what happened to him. They’re just not talking.”
–Dick Fleischman, Father of Kyle Fleischmann
Kyle Fleischmann disappeared during the early morning hours of Friday, November 9, 2007. He had attended a Dane Cook concert earlier in the night with a group of friends and family. Afterwards, he went to the Buckhead Saloon in Uptown Charlotte, NC with a group of friends and they all had drinks. Kyle’s friends left the bar before him and he ended up leaving the bar around 2am without his debit card or jacket. He was reported to have been seen by an employee at a restaurant called Fuel Pizza, which is located a few blocks away, shortly after leaving the bar.
In an unexpected development, a cab driver later claimed to have seen Kyle walking down the street in a completely different part of Charlotte, known as NoDa (short for North Davidson). This would put Kyle, at least, a twenty minute walk away from his last sighting. The cab driver described Kyle as seeming out of place and without a jacket.
Throughout the later part of the night, Kyle makes a flurry of phone calls to a variety of somewhat random recipients. A business he visited earlier, his sister, his father, his best friend, and his roommate were all confirmed to have received phone calls from him during the short span of around an hour. The calls varied in duration from four to ten seconds, and no voicemail messages were left by Kyle. After his cell phone activity ended around 3:30am, Kyle mysteriously vanished and has not been seen or heard from again.
The general timeline of Kyle Fleischmann’s disappearance is as follows below. There exists a subtle distortion of reported facts surrounding his disappearance, even though a substantial record of his cell phone activity exists, witnesses place him at verifiable locations, and the police investigation was highly publicized.
Discrepancies are italicized and identified in the timeline in as much detail as possible.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Kyle and a group of friends and family attend a Dane Cook stand-up comedy show. Some of the group, including Kyle, proceed to grab late night drinks at the Buckhead Saloon in uptown Charlotte.
Friday, November 9, 2007
-Around 1:00 am-
Kyle’s friend(s) leave him at the bar in the company of three young women, by some accounts, or just one woman, according to other reports. It is possible that he started talking to a group of girls, and then later began to focus his attention on one woman, or that these details have been covered by media incorrectly.
In a rather sensational article by Crime Watch Daily, his best friend, Dan Scagnelli, describes Kyle that night, saying that:
“[Kyle] was having a good time, he’d connected with some folks.”
“[Kyle] wasn’t extremely intoxicated by any means. I’m sure he was feeling pretty good… [but he hadn’t] reached the point where he wasn’t aware of his surroundings.”
The Crime Watch Daily article goes on to detail how a private detective, hired by Kyle’s family, “[pieced] together” surveillance footage of Kyle speaking with a young woman and then having a possible altercation with two men in the bar after his friends left.
Another report details that “[Kyle and the young woman] danced and then she left with a man police identified as her boyfriend and two other men.” This implies that police tracked down and interviewed those involved (in order to have been able to verify the relationship between them).
Kyle calls his sister but does not leave a message.
Kyle leaves the Buckhead Saloon alone. He leaves his debit card and coat at the bar. The private investigator believes he left these items because he was in a hurry to get outside. However, it is also reasonable to consider that he was at least buzzed, if not drunk, and simply forgot his card on an open tab behind the bar and left his jacket on a chair or hanging up somewhere.
The details surrounding his immediate exit have varying accounts depending on the source:
- According to The Charley Project, Kyle gets into a cab at Tryon Street.
- There is a (most likely misconstrued) conception on mystery message board threads that Kyle rode off on a bike. This seemed to be a prominent detail initially and now appears to be entirely speculative; however, no evidence of Kyle having a bike with him or riding a bike the night of his disappearance has been confirmed by reliable sources.
- According to the private investigator, Kyle could have possibly hurried out in order to be leaving at the same time as the woman from earlier, maybe in hopes of speaking with her.
- It seems most likely, and accepted, that Kyle simply walked away from the bar and down the block, since the next sighting of him is at the nearby Fuel Pizza.
An employee of the restaurant claims that Kyle entered Fuel Pizza just down the street from the bar. The witness said that Kyle was alone, did not have a coat, and ordered two of their ‘Extreme’ slices of pizza. Kyle’s father maintains that this was a reliable sighting and that the Extreme Pizza is the type of pizza Kyle would have ordered. Due to a rush of customers from the bar closings, the employee did not notice Kyle leave the restaurant.
In a very recent article, a video of Kyle buying food at Fuel is referenced. There seems to be a surveillance video of Kyle headed towards Fuel, and perhaps, this is what the article is referring to but it is unclear.
Kyle makes a phone call, lasting around 10 seconds, to a business he had visited earlier in the day. He then immediately calls his voicemail.
Kyle calls his father’s office phone. Over the course of the next fifteen minutes, Kyle calls his father three more times.
A cab driver claims to have possibly seen Kyle walking on North Davidson Street in a different part of town called NoDa, which is around a 20 minute walk from The Buckhead Saloon / Fuel Pizza area. It is worth mentioning that the weather was chilly that night, and that this walk would have taken Kyle through some areas not frequented by a lot of pedestrians. The driver described the man he saw as “a kid with no jacket… [that] was not in the right place” and “intoxicated.”
According to Kyle’s father, Dick Fleischmann, Kyle’s cell phone pings a tower close to the North Davidson area around this time.
Kyle calls his best friend, but the call duration is only 4 seconds.
Kyle then attempts to call his roommate less than a minute later. Again, the call duration is only 6 seconds.
-By 4:oo am-
Kyle’s phone is dead and there is no more reported cellular activity or data.
Questions and Misconceptions
Kyle’s CharleyProject site states that “[Kyle] was reported missing the next day when he did not show up for work at Fidelity Investments, an investment firm where he was an executive.” This seems to be incorrect, and may instead, refer to Kyle’s father. The majority of news outlets reported that Kyle worked as a health care recruiter and was a 2006 (recent) graduate of Elon University.
The CharleyProject site (which is usually a reliable source) also says that “Kyle [was] believed to have been carrying his black leather wallet, his car keys, and approximately $6 in cash” at the time of his disappearance. Neither his keys nor his wallet have ever been located. Other sources mention that his friends say he left his credit cards in his jacket and they the only money he had on him.
If the sighting and cell phone ping are correct, it is certainly possible that Kyle could have walked to NoDa. Google Maps approximates the walking distance between Kyle’s NoDa sighting and the bar as being about 26 minutes.
Unfortunately, though the investigation had a lot of media coverage, there are still many difficult questions and commonly reported errors surrounding that night. The following Q&A is intended to clarify or highlight pertinent details of this mystery:
- Did Kyle have his car that night, and if so, where was it parked? Was he too impaired to drive? Why did his friends leave him?
According to this site, Kyle’s car was parked at his friend’s house and they had taken a cab to the bar. It also says that Kyle lived approximately 3 miles away.
Kyle was described consistently as being “likely a bit drunk, but not ‘blackout’ drunk.” Kyle most likely did not have his car nearby, and it was most likely assumed by his friends that he would eventually take a cab.
In an article by The Times News, which is no longer available, but has been copy/pasted on the linked forum (as well as others throughout the internet), it appears that “one by one, [Kyle’s] friends left the bar over the next few hours” and Kyle insisted on staying.
Ultimately, the separation of Kyle from his car, friends, and even his jacket/debit card, seems to be the product of miscoordination, and maybe, buzzed (and/or tired) decision making. However, it bears repeating that a 24-year-old man drinking in a bar by himself, buzzed or not, is not unheard of and this would not be considered a particularly dangerous situation under normal circumstances.
- What did Kyle do for a living, and why is there misinformation surrounding some of the basic facts about Kyle? Why haven’t police issued statements to clarify details? Why haven’t police attempted to renew interest in the case?
Again, Kyle, by most reports, worked at a health care agency. According to reports no longer available but archived through various internet sites, Kyle’s father, Richard, was an executive with Fidelity Investments in Charlotte.
As for the lackluster narrative and exposition by the authorities, perhaps, this is partly because Kyle was an adult who could have willfully disappeared (initially at least). However, authorities have made few attempts at clarifying, releasing, or providing information to the public in this case.
In fact, most of the information in the media has come directly from Kyle’s family and friends. Kyle’s best friend, Dan Scagnelli, facilitated one of the first widespread social media and internet campaigns to find a missing person, effectively utilizing an extensive network of possible leads and information. Ultimately, this led to an influx of potentially unverifiable information and increased coverage by national news stations. According to this article, Kyle’s mother states that “it wasn’t until the local and the national news coverage of the case became large-scale that local authorities began helping the family in a substantial way.”
It is also possible that the extensive social media involvement in the search for Kyle fueled the dissemination and circulation of misinformation, accounting for some of the discrepancies reported.
- If Kyle did end up in NoDa, is there any verifiable place he was heading towards? A friend or family member’s apartment, perhaps? Where was his apartment?
There exists only speculation regarding Kyle’s movements after the last verified sighting at Fuel Pizza. Though no concrete evidence has been found in support of any of these ideas, the theories on the NoDa sighting are numerous, and contain variations of, but are not limited to, the following possibilities:
- The NoDa sighting was not Kyle because it was too cold outside to walk that far, there was no motivation for him to have walked in that direction, the route is not one that would be chosen or used by a pedestrian, and as a local, Kyle would have known to stay in safer/more populated areas of Charlotte, etc.
- Kyle was dropped off by car in NoDa because he did not have enough time to walk there, considering the extenuating circumstances of temperature, road/sidewalk construction, inebriation, and potentially tough terrain.
- Kyle ended up in NoDa because he was drunkenly wandering.
- Kyle was attempting to meet up with the girl from earlier in the night.
- Kyle may have been trying to find a party at a Holiday Inn, but no legitimate verification of this can be found. This could have initially been his intention, and possibly the impetus for him to have gotten lost. However, it bears noting that if he were trying to go to a party at a hotel, it would have most likely been located in Uptown Charlotte which was the opposite direction he was walking.
According to this article, Kyle had “just bought his first condominium on the other side of town.” Though this reference is unclear, it seems as though Kyle was not headed towards a known destination, or at the very least was not obviously headed towards his condo.
- What was the business that he had visited earlier in the day and then called that night? Does that call make sense at all? Could a friend or family member have worked at that business? Does this indicate that Kyle was more than ‘just buzzed?’
Again, there has been no explanation offered by any legitimate sources. And Kyle was verified to have been, at least a little, drunk.
- What cell phone towers picked him up exactly? Could his cell phone activity clarify whether he walked or was driven to North Davidson by times that the towers are pinging?
None of this has been confirmed or suggested by the police department. Kyle’s father does insist that Kyle’s cell phone pinged a tower in NoDa around the time the cab driver claims to have seen him that night.
- Why the flurry of phone calls from Kyle to close friends and family members? Was he trying to get help, be picked up, or say goodbye? Why was he not leaving voicemails and staying on some of the lines for only 4-6 seconds (which seems like not enough time for the call to ring multiple times)? Was he calling about something he had just witnessed? Why not call 911? What state of mind had he been in that night and leading up to his disappearance?
His father thinks that Kyle may have been just looking for a ride.
It could also be assumed that, after a full night out, Kyle’s phone was almost (or completely) out of battery at this time. Kyle could have proceeded to make calls while the phone was dying and disconnecting/turning off. Perhaps, this would explain his somewhat odd call log and abrupt hang-ups without any messages.
According to friends, “Kyle was in a great mood that night.” Kyle’s disappearance was also especially uncharacteristic because his mother was undergoing treatment for cancer, and he “kept in close touch with her as a result.” He also did not appear to have any personal or financial problems.
- Kyle’s parents believe a crime took place, but what crime? Where is his body? Where is any evidence of what happened to Kyle that night? Where are his shoes, keys, cell phone, and wallet?
Sadly, Kyle’s father believes that Kyle is buried near a construction site at 16th Street and North Davidson. The linked article goes on to say that Kyle’s father, “believes Kyle was murdered and the culprit remains on the loose,” and that “[Kyle’s father] has moved” away from Charlotte since his son’s disappearance.
Kyle’s father remains steadfast that “someone locally knows what happened.” However, not much more is known publicly regarding what happened during the early morning hours of November 7, 2007.
One of the most haunting aspects of the Kyle Fleischmann case is that it seems to be only a few minor details away from being the stereotypical street robbery, yet the lack of those details morph the narrative incredibly. Why was Kyle in NoDa? It does not stand to reason that the same criminal who would kill a man at random for a cell phone and $6 cash, would also take the time to effectively and intelligently hide Kyle’s body. If Kyle was met with random gang violence, as some have suggested, why was his body hidden?
Interestingly, it has been reported that, “17 dogs dropped Kyle’s scent in Cordelia Park, a small park at the end of 16th Street, off Davidson Street. It’s about a mile from Buckhead Saloon. It is near what was — back in 2007 — a construction site.”
Upon the 8 year anniversary of Kyle’s disappearance, his father posted this message on Facebook:
“Please make sure your friends and loved ones focus on how to get home after being out as much as they focus earlier in the night as to where and what they are planning to do.”
Kyle was described as “a warm heart [and] a big person” by friends. His best friend characterized Kyle as having [having] neither a girlfriend nor [known] enemies.
He had studied business administration and management at Elon University in NC. Kyle also “volunteered time [while in college] to assist Special Olympics, the Boys & Girls Club, and Safe Rides” according to an article posted after his disappearance by the university.
Upon his mother’s diagnosis of cancer, “he and his mom vowed to beat the cancer together.” His mother had her first cancer surgery shortly after Kyle’s disappearance without him.
There is a $50,000 reward for concrete information regarding Kyle’s disappearance. If you have any information related to Kyle’s disappearance, please do not hesitate to call the Charlotte Mecklenberg Police Department’s Crimestoppers tipline at 704-334-1600.