DPMHS student Trast Knapmiller missing, gone since August

UPDATE  Sept. 19: Trast Knapmiller has been found and has returned home earlier this week. A stranger who saw Nikol Hasler’s flyers saw Knapmiller in Hollywood where he had been staying at a youth center, getting clothing and meals. Hasler also said that Knampiller is currently in a residential facility in Malibu where he is trying to work through “struggling to find his own identity,” according to Hasler. Hasler also wanted to share that Knapmiller’s family is very grateful for the “caring and support” that the students and faculty at DPMHS have shown while Trast was gone. She says that the family expects Trast to be back at school by winter, “playing his guitar on the front lawn.”


Nikol Hasler and Mitch Knapmiller have been searching the San Fernando Valley and parts of the Los Angeles area for their missing son Trast Knapmiller, who ran away from home on Aug. 23.

“He’s just made a poor decision,” said his father. “He’s got a huge loving family and he’s not making contact with us, there’s no reason for (him not to contact us).”

The family has issued a missing persons report with the The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and has started a Facebook page to update people on their progress, as well as to keep track of tips.

Knapmiller, a junior, took nothing but an iPod and a guitar, which he’s been playing in public for money and hasn’t been home since. However, security guards who have seen him say he makes a lot of money playing the guitar. Hasler says he may have run away because of the dramatic changes in his life, along with “normal teenage behavior.”

“I don’t like invading his privacy, but I also think it is very important that the students of Daniel Pearl get a little bit of a glimpse of how drastically his life has changed,” Hasler said in an email interview. “We know that Trast has a drug problem and the way it has transformed him has been so sad to watch.”

Mitch Knapmiller flew here from Wisconsin a few days ago in order to help search for his son. Hasler and Mitch, along with friends and family, have been handing out flyers all over in order to spread the word.

After the 2012 Daniel Pearl World Music Day event, Trast greeted Judea Pearl, father of journalist Daniel Pearl. File photo by Dion Mazor
After the 2012 Daniel Pearl World Music Day event, Trast greeted Judea Pearl, father of journalist Daniel Pearl. File photo by Dion Mazor

Hasler also said that Trast may be trying to gain sympathy from others by saying that she and Mitch have thrown him out of the house or rejected him, something Hasler says simply isn’t true.

“I am not out to harm him in any way and every moment of my life is less joyful without my son,” Hasler said. “Whatever has happened, he is a very loved boy, by so many people.”

Trast, at 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds has a tall and lanky build. He had dyed red hair the last time he was seen and “the brightest blue eyes.” If you see or hear from Knapmiller, please contact the family. Hasler may be reached at [email protected] and Mitch can be contacted at 414-208-1422.

“We just want him home,” Mitch Knapmiller said. “We just want to bring him home so we can get him the help he needs.”