The Disappearance of Pearl Pinson

May 26, 2016 was a normal morning for 15 year old, Pearl Pinson, as she left home in Vallejo, California around 7am to walk to school. However, that would be the last time her family would see her.

Not far from her home, witnesses saw a Hispanic male with a gun dragging a bloody Pearl across the overpass on Interstate 780 near Taylor Avenue. Witnesses called 911 and reported hearing a gunshot as she was dragged to the 1997 gold Saturn. A witness was able to identify her abductor as 19 year old Fernando Castro. However, by the time police arrived, all that was left on the overpass was a spot of blood and Pearl's cell phone. 

Pearl Pinson was a happy girl with dreams of becoming a veterinarian or firefighter. She is described as fiesty, having a big heart, and smart. Unfortunately, as far as we know these are still only dreams.

Who is Fernando Castro?

Initially, it was thought that Fernando and Pearl had known one another and possibly dated. However this had been disproved by police using forensic data. He lived a few blocks from Pearl so it is possible that they had seen one another in passing. Beyond that there is no known connection. 

His family was shocked by his actions that day and would never have thought he was capable of abducting a girl. There have been no reports if he was mentally unstable or anything else that may explain why he did this.

What Happened After Pearl Pinson Was Abducted

Around 9:30 am that same day, Castro was spotted about 25 miles away near San Rafel Bridge in Marin County, California. 

In the mean time, police were searching his home where they discovered notes that led they believe are related to Pearl Pinson's abduction. Police have never commented on what the letters are about exactly, only that they believe there is a connection. 

The next morning, May 26, 2016, he was spotted in San Luis Obispo County ( around 250 miles away from where he abducted Pearl Pinson). He ended up leading police on a chase and abandoned his car in a residential neighborhood. He, then, ran into a nearby home. Thankfully, the occupant got out safely. Castro then tried to steal a car and started a shoot out with police. When they returned fire, they hit and killed Castro. 

There was no sign of Pearl in his car with the exception of some blood in the trunk. The blood was not a lot but consistent with the injuries she was believed to have had. They also recovered a receipt with handwritten  instructions to Jenner, California.

During the investigation, police uncovered CCTV footage that showed Castro at a gas station about 10 miles from Jenner in Bodega Bay. There was no sign of Pearl in the footage. 

3 days after she disappeared, police searched a 25 square mile area near Jenner. Deciding where to search is a daunting task due to the amount of miles Castro covered after abducting Pearl.

While most of this information is centered on Fernando Castro, he is the key to what has happened to Pearl. His movements in those 24 hours or so from when he abducted Pearl Pinson to when he was shot by police are crucial to finding her. I do not like focusing on those who cause harm but all it may take is getting his face in front of the right person at the right time to unlock a clue to this mystery.

Her sister, Rose, became the family spokesperson at just 17 years old. She has stated that she believes that her sister may have been sold into sex trafficking although police state there is no evidence to back this up. As of 2020, there is a new detective assigned to Pearl's disappearance but her family cannot remember the detective's name. The family also states that their calls go unanswered as Pearl's case grows cold. As time goes on the chance that Pearl is still alive lessens. Although, her family will never give up hope. 

If you have any information regarding the abduction and disappearance of Pearl Pinson, please call the Solano County Sheriff's Office at 707-421-7090.



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