The search for a missing AIG insurance executive is continuing Wednesday, as friends and family plan a search for Omar Arce Meza, who disappeared last week while attending a work conference in California.
Meza, 33, was last seen around 11 p.m. local time Thursday night at the pond at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert after having dinner with co-workers.
The wife of the AIG Financial Distributors vice president, Diane Meza, said he was dropped off by an Uber driver at the wrong hotel.
When Meza did not call his wife to wish her good night and did not show up at meetings the following day, he was reported missing.
“It’s so out of character for him,” Diane Meza said “He’s highly responsible and reliable.”
Surveillance footage on the property shows Omar Meza walking out of the hotel lobby.
Police found Omar’s jacket neatly folded on the resort’s golf course over the weekend, along with his wallet, but a bloodhound and diver search of the area turned up nothing. Authorities do not suspect foul play.
Friends and family of the Mezas have created a Facebook page to spread information about the case. A search is planned for Wednesday, starting across the street from the resort.
PALM SPRINGS — Family and friends of missing AIG executive Omar Meza announced via Facebook Thursday evening that the Los Angeles man has died.
Details weren’t provided in the post on the “Find Omar Meza” Facebook page, but the family thanked supporters for their search efforts while asking that their privacy be respected as they grieve.
A Friday morning press conference with the family has been canceled.
“We are with heavy hearts tonight as we announce the passing of Omar Meza,” the post reads. “He was a very loved son, husband, brother & friend.”
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Thursday night, would not confirm that the body is that of Meza, 33, who was reported missing Jan. 9.
Sheriff’s officials pulled a man’s body from a pond at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs hotel in Palm Desert around 2:15 p.m. PT Thursday. The body was transported to the county Coroner’s Office, where a cause of death is being determined.
Sheriff’s divers had spent several days searching the resort’s lakes and ponds earlier this week, assuring family members Meza wasn’t there.
On Thursday, family members and volunteers spent a second consecutive day searching for Meza. The search was expanded north of Interstate 10 into Thousand Palms and unincorporated Riverside County. Friends and volunteers, who came from as far away as Portland, launched their search about 9 a.m.
They began hours after the Sheriff”s Department announced it completed its search.
On Thursday morning, Omar’s 30-year-old brother, Sven Meza of San Diego, told The Desert Sun he was still confident his brother would be found.
Omar Meza, a divisional vice president for AIG Financial Distributors, was in town for a meeting. He was staying at the Courtyard Marriott Palm Desert hotel at Cook Street and Frank Sinatra Drive, and his wife suspects an Uber driver accidentally dropped him off 1.5 miles away at the Desert Springs resort.
Meza was reported missing Jan. 9 after missing a meeting. Investigators found his coat and wallet at the Desert Springs, but there was no sign of him.
His disappearance received attention from across the country and much speculation over what may have happened.
“There’s no sign he would have a separate life, a separate family,” Sven Meza said earlier Thursday, in an attempt to set straight such speculation.
AIG, no stranger to controversy and tragedy, was at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis. The federal government took control of the insurance giant after the company sold tens of billions of dollars in derivatives related to mortgages that it couldn’t cover when the real estate market crashed.
The 2008 episode was among the most contentious in U.S. financial history. Anger was fueled by news in 2009 that executives responsible for the bad bets on mortgage securities were getting millions of dollars in bonuses. “Taxpayers are still furious that they rescued a company whose own conduct brought it down,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., wrote in a 2013 letter.
The government says its bailout, which eventually totaled $182 billion, rescued AIG from bankruptcy and prevented the U.S. economy from spiraling into a depression. AIG ultimately repaid $205 billion to the government, including a profit of $22.7 billion.
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