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Cortez was last seen between 12:30 and 1:00 a.m. on April 15, 2000 at the Amfac/JMB Lihue Plantation sugar cane processing plant in Lihue, Hawaii. He worked there at night, oiling and maintaining plantation equipment. When other employees went looking for Cortez, they found his midnight snack, coffee mug, keys, and street clothes in the break room and his car in the employee parking lot. There was no sign of Cortez himself, however.
Cortez is described as a reliable worker, and it's uncharacteristics of him to leave without warning. He has never been heard from again and it's unclear what happened to him.