Real Name: Patrick Sean Kelly
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Tijuana, Mexico
Date: May 5, 1996
Details: At around 1AM on May 5, 1996, a pedestrian was struck and critically injured along the Avenida Internacional in Tijuana, Mexico. the man carried no identification and was labeled "desconocido" or unknown. After a photograph of the man was shown in a local newspaper, he was incorrectly identified as Luis Rodriguez. The man died six days after the accident without regaining consciousness. It would be another fifteen days before the man would be correctly identified as Patrick Kelly, a film student at the University of Southern California. Since then, his mother Terri has found convincing evidence that her son's death was more than just a traffic accident.
Terri lives in Alberta, Canada; she adopted Patrick when he was eighteen months old. He had been born into the Blood Indian tribe and was immediately placed in foster care before being adopted. As he grew up, he found a love for writing and storytelling. In high school, he decided that he wanted to become a filmmaker. In 1993, he was accepted into the film school at the University of Southern California.
On Friday night, May 3, 1996, Patrick celebrated the end of the semester with a close friend, Michael Park. After months of effort, Patrick finally turned in his year-end project: a full-length motion picture script. At around 3:45AM, Michael left and noted that Patrick was in good spirits. On Sunday night, he did not call his mother, which he normally did every weekend. Terri was concerned, so on Tuesday, she asked Michael to go to Patrick's room. To Michael, it appeared that he had just stepped out briefly. Although his passport was missing, his wallet was on the desk. His bags and clothes were in the closet. The answering machine provided one clue: a message from Patrick's bank.
Terri called the bank and learned that there had been several ATM transactions during the weekend in Mexico. The transactions had overdrawn his account. The records showed that at 10:24AM on Saturday, May 4, Patrick made a $60 withdrawal from a 7-11 in San Clemente, California, sixty miles from Los Angeles. At 6:08PM, $135 was withdrawn at a bank ATM in a Tijuana tourist area. The next day, there were three more withdrawals at a bank ATM in downtown Tijuana.
Terri hired private detective Doug Roth to search for Patrick. He went to the San Clement 7-11 and viewed the surveillance tapes. They showed that Patrick entered the store at around 10:02AM. Another man was apparently with him; the tapes show the two interacting with each other and then leaving the store together. The man remains unidentified.
Roth continued south and decided to check several parking lots along the border. Tourists often leave their cars in these lots before they go to Mexico. One of the lot attendants recognized Patrick's car as one that was still in his lot. The car was parked along a back fence. It was caked with mud, there was damage to the front bumper, and the rear license plate was loose. Evidence inside the car suggested that someone else had driven it to the lot. The driver's seat was too close to the steering wheel for Patrick, who was 6'1", to drive it. The radio was on a Spanish-American radio station, which was inconsistent with Patrick's listening habits. A cigarette butt was in the ash tray, even though he was not a smoker and would not allow someone to smoke in his car.
Roth provided photographs of Patrick to the parking lot attendant. The lot manager passed them along to his girlfriend who lived in Tijuana. She contacted the Red Cross in Mexico, the local jails, and the morgue. In the morgue, she found Patrick's body. Terri drove to Tijuana and confirmed that the body belonged to her son.
When Roth viewed the body, he believed that Patrick had been beaten severely. He had injuries to the face and upper body. However, the Mexican authorities attributed the injuries to the traffic accident. Initially, the authorities claimed that he was run over by a car. Then, they claimed that he was on a motorcycle when it was hit by a car. The following is the current official account of the accident. At approximately 1AM on May 5, a motorcyclist was heading east along the Avenida Internacional when two pedestrians suddenly ran into the street. The motorcyclist and his passenger tried to stop, but it was too late; Patrick was struck and fatally injured.
It is still unclear how Patrick was misidentified as Luis Rodriguez. The confusion apparently began when paramedics arrived at the scene. They described Patrick as 5'5", 27 years old, obese, wearing a blue t-shirt and white tennis shoes. However, in reality, he was 6'1", 200 pounds, wearing a tan t-shirt and black Vans shoes. The clothes he was wearing were destroyed at the hospital. The Mexican authorities, however, believe that the inaccurate description was an honest mistake.
Mexican authorities concluded that all of Patrick's injuries were a result of the accident. However, an autopsy commissioned by Terri and performed in the United States concluded that "the findings do not support the conclusion that death was due to a motor vehicle accident". Despite the inconsistencies, everyone agreed that Patrick was critically injured and in a hospital room on the morning of May 5. However, some thirteen hours later, at around 5PM, his ATM cards were used to make three withdrawals. A PIN number would have to be used to access the accounts.
One final perplexing mystery involves Patrick's car. According to the parking lot records, someone paid the $60 fee and drove the car off of the lot on May 15, four days after Patrick died. The next day, the car was returned to the same parking spot.
Roth believes that all of the inconsistencies and mysteries in the case lead up to one conclusion: Patrick was running for his life when he was hit by the motorcycle. Roth believes that Patrick went to Mexico with another individual. He believes that at around 5PM on May 4, they met with some unsavory individuals. He believes that Patrick and the other man were taken hostage and beaten so that Patrick's PIN number could be ascertained. At some point, they were able to escape from their abductors, only for Patrick to be struck and killed.
Patrick's death remains a bizarre mystery. There are several facts about the case that haunt Terri Kelly:
- There was no apparent reason for Patrick to be in Tijuana
- He did not tell his friends or family that he was going there
- An unknown person took his car out of the parking lot on May 15, five days after his death
- An unknown person used his ATM cards after he was injured
- No one knows the identity of the man that was with Patrick on the surveillance video and when he was injured
Unfortunately, no official agencies are helping Terri Kelly or Doug Roth with the case.
Suspects: On the day that Patrick died, he was seen on a surveillance video in San Clemente with an unidentified man. His mother and her private investigator do not believe that the man was an attacker, but was also abducted by the attackers and may have crucial information in the case.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 21, 1997 episode.
Results: Unsolved. A Toronto man named Matthew Stuparyk was incorrectly identified as the man seen with Patrick on the surveillance tapes. Stuparyk, a schizophrenic, is a former University of Southern California student and a Canadian citizen who shared a common friend with Patrick. He traveled to the United States to prove his innocence, but was arrested on unrelated charges. He was later released after it was determined that he was not responsible for the unrelated crimes. It is unknown what connection, if any, he has to Patrick's death.
- Patrick Kelly on Unsolved.com
- Woman Probes Mystery of Son's Death in Tijuana
- Toronto man freed in US attempts suicide
- Patrick Sean Kelly: An Unexplained Death in Mexico
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Patrick Kelly and Matthew Stuparyk