Jesse James Hollywood
On August 6, 2000, Nick Markowitz, a handsome 15-year-old boy with an endearing widow's peak crowning his dark brown hair, ambled down a street in West Hills, California. It was just after noon on a searing hot Sunday that would top off at 99 degrees before sunset, and Nick was in a foul mood.
The night before, he'd had a run-in with his parents when he came home at midnight with something suspicious bulging in his back pocket. His parents had good reason to be concerned — they'd caught Nick with Valium and marijuana in the past. When his father demanded to see what was in his pocket, Nick bolted out the door.
The Markowitzes were relieved to hear him return in the middle of the night, and resolved to talk to him in the morning. But when his mother knocked on his bedroom door at 11 a.m. the next day, he was gone. They would never see him again.
Around the same time that Susan Markowitz found her son's bedroom empty, four young toughs were prowling the neighborhood in a white van looking for Nick's older half-brother, Ben. Instead, they saw Nick.
Little did the 15-year-old know as he walked down the street on that quiet Sunday that he was on a collision course with something far more unpleasant than another confrontation with his parents.