QA Man missing since Cinco de Mayo night

It was supposed to be a father-and-son night out on May 5 before Tony Pella's father, Jeff Pella, headed to Alaska the following Monday for a few months. But the night turned into a mystery when Tony, 22, disappeared, and he hasn't been seen or heard from since, Jeff said.

The two had checked into a Homewood Suites hotel on Elliott Avenue West on May 5, and they had planned to go see the new Spider Man movie, said Jeff, a Magnolia resident.

But they missed the start of the movie and were hanging out in their hotel room watching HBO, said Jeff, who added that he suggested going to Ozzie's bar on West Mercer Street to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which was in full swing at the kara- oke joint. "It was crazy," he said.

Later, between 11:30 and 11:45 that Saturday night, Tony and he went outside for a smoke, Jeff said. But Tony bumped into a pole holding up a tent on the sidewalk, a move that caused a bouncer to give him a look, Jeff said.

Then Tony shook the tent pole, and the bouncer told him he could-n't come back inside, Jeff said. "He wasn't intoxicated by any means; he was just playing around," Jeff added. But figuring that was it for Ozzie's, Jeff said he went back inside to take their drinks to the bar to open up a table where they'd been sitting.

"When I came outside, he was rounding the corner by KFC," Jeff said. So Jeff - explaining that he and his son liked to kid around with each other - ran around the block so he could scare Tony. "But he never walked that far."

Jeff said he checked the Streamline Tavern a few doors down from Ozzie's, then Ozzie's and finally the alley, at which point he started yelling for his son, Jeff said. There was no answer. "He just disappeared."

Tony's car was still parked in the neighborhood, Jeff said, and he hasn't heard from him since. "He's very responsible; he would have called me."

Tony parents have been divorced for several years, and he lives with his mother, Martina Pella, in a Crown Hill home. She also said her son was very responsible during a phone interview in the middle of last week.

"Our relationship is really, really close," she said, adding that her son has stayed out all night before. "But I always get a call [from him] first thing in the morning," Martina said.

So when Tony hadn't checked in by noon on Sunday, Martina knew something was wrong, she said. Martina then called police, who initially declined to file a missing-person's report because Tony is 22, she said. However, a police report was filed on Monday, Martina added.

Tony drinks on weekends, his mother said, and staff at Ozzie's told her they hadn't had any problems with him in the bar the night he disappeared.

Tony also has a union construction job that pays $27 an hour, but his foreman hasn't heard from him either, Martina said, breaking into tears.

Martina said she and her fiancé, John Westphal, looked everywhere in Lower Queen Anne on Sunday for Tony, checking parks, alleys and Dumpsters. "We even went over to Magnolia and looked there." In addition, the family has checked with the morgue, all the hospitals in the city and detox facilities in an effort to find her son, Martina said.

The family also has posted hundreds of fliers around the city asking for information about Tony's disappearance. But he still hadn't turned up when she and Westphal were interviewed again for this story in their Crown Hill home on Saturday morning, May 12.

Both Martina and Jeff thought they had a clue to Tony's disappearance when police e-mailed them a photo on Tuesday last week of someone who had withdrawn money from Tony's account at a Ballard bank.

But it turned out the photo was actually taken on Saturday, May 5, when Tony withdrew $120, and the person in the photo didn't have anything to do with the withdrawal, Martina said.

Martina said she's called her son's cellphone, which was still active until late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning last week. There has been no answer, but a call to Tony's cellphone company indicated his phone was last used to call Information around 3:36 a.m. on May 6, his mother said.

The cellphone company wouldn't tell her what number the caller was looking for, Martina said, until a subpoena is issued by police, who had not returned a call for comment as of press deadline.

Anyone with information about Tony Pella is urged to call Seattle Police Detective Tina Drain at 684-5582.

Staff reporter Russ Zabel can be reached at or 461-1309.

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