Zachary Bashir Porter, or Zack for short, had an abundance of people who cared about him. If you met the 25-year-old, you would realize exactly why. In addition to being the caretaker for both his grandmother and mother, he also cared for his son. His family was his number one priority; he had no difficulty proving it.
A mere glimpse of Zack’s photos presents a sizable window into the young man’s personality. Together, they paint a picture of a popular, humorous, and amicable person. The young man’s contagious grin is hard to ignore and photos of him by himself are difficult to find. In several, he has his arm around the shoulder of a family member or friend.
According to Myron Porter, Zack’s father, the young man had a fiery side as well. At times, Zack made no effort to hide his feisty and cocky attitudes but that was the beauty of Zack. He was a man of many dimensions.
Zack’s level of responsibility and maturity surpassed his age; he flourished as an adult. He had a dream of moving to southern Los Angeles to open a body shop once he saved enough money.
However, everything screeched to a halt most heartbreaking and agonizing way possible. On July 23, 2013, those close to Zack discovered just how significant he was to those around him, and an eight-year and counting journey commenced.
It was the morning of July 23, 2013, and 25-year-old Zack Porter told his mother he planned on riding his motorcycle to the neighboring area of Coos County, Oregon. He recently sold the bike on Craigslist and intended to drop it off that evening. The buyer was the original owner, who had finally saved enough money to purchase it again.
However, Zack’s family was confused about how he would return home if he traveled to Coos County on the bike. It was 2013 and rideshare services did not exist. Zack contacted several friends but to no avail. Out of options, he decided to arrange a ride home from the buyer. He decided to leave his motorcycle title and leathers at home so the buyer would have the incentive to drive him back.
By noon, Zack had left McMinnville, Oregon home for Coos County. Myron Porter–Zack’s father, described the odd feelings his family had throughout the day.
“It was an odd day because we knew that he wasn’t going to be back until at least 7 or 8 in the evening,” Myron told KVAL, “but by 5 we both felt agitated.”
Later that evening, Zack texted Myron and told him he had completed the sale and was looking for a ride home. Shortly after, he texted the same to one of his friends. However, Rebecca Porter, Zack’s mother, did not believe the messages were written by her son because they contained ellipses–which Zack never used in text messages.
Zack never made it back to McMinnville. His family caught the first sight of tragedy when Zack failed to call home to wish his son goodnight–something he perpetually did when out of the house during nighttime. Sensing something was wrong, his family reported him missing.
Once the investigation into Zack’s disappearance began, it raised even more questions. When comparing Zack’s past text messages with those sent on July 23, investigators agreed with Rebecca’s assessment that the messages sent on July 23 did not sound like Zack and were likely written by someone else.
Investigators initially speculated Zack traveled to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of starting his body shop, but quickly dismissed the theory.
“I ruled [Los Angeles] out immediately,” Myron told The World. “[Zack] knew he was several months before he would be able to start the business.”
With a runaway theory being unlikely, investigators decided to track down an obvious person of interest–the man who bought Zack’s motorcycle. While the details of the man’s questioning by investigators are publicly unknown, authorities confirmed that Zack had made it to Coo’s Bay and completed the sale.
“Our investigators have been involved with this person for a while, and he is a person of interest in the case. He is not a suspect at this time,” Sgt. Pat Downing of the Coo’s County Sheriff’s Office told NBC.
However, one striking detail stuck out. The buyer denied ever having a discussion with Zack about giving him a ride home that day and by the time Zack arrived, he had already made arrangements with a friend for a ride home. According to the buyer, Zack planned to meet his friend at Myrtlewood Factory. However, Myron said Zack told him a different story that day.
“As was told to me from Zachary, the buyer of the motorcycle had a business trip in Seattle and was going to drop him off in McMinnville on the way,” Myron told The World Link. Although the buyer was questioned, no charges in connection to Zack’s disappearance were filed against him.
Search efforts were launched among the vast stretches of highway near both McMinnville and Coo’s County, but none of the searches turned up any trace of Zack. From there, the investigation stalled. It has now been eight years since Zack’s disappearance and no suspects or leads have been named. The specific area of Coo’s County Zack headed to, known as Hauser, was searched as well. Once again, it turned up no trace of Zack. Myron Porter, Zack’s father, speaks to media in Hauser on August 9, 2014, about his son’s disappearance.
On August 9, 2014, one year after Zack’s disappearance, Myron Porter arranged a media campaign in Hauser to help reignite publicity surrounding the case.
“For him not to try and reach his son, for even 24 hours — it just never happened,” he said to assembled media that day. “I believe something bad has happened and I want to get to the bottom of it.”
Afterward, Myron, along with volunteers and a few sheriff’s deputies, canvassed the surrounding neighborhoods with fliers about Zack. While the media campaign successfully spread the word about Zack, it failed to birth any new leads. From there, the investigation began to stall.
“We’re just kind of at a de*ad-end right now,” Downing said.
Days without leads turned into weeks and then months. For those close to Zack, his absence was not the sole source of anguish. The family had the unimaginable task of informing Zack’s young son of his disappearance.
“I want to nail absolutely down for his child: Your daddy did not desert you,” Myron told NBC.
Today, it has been eight years since Zack left his home and never returned. However, the fight to find him is still ongoing. Both Myron and Rebecca believe someone mur*dered their son, but do not want to publicly point fingers on who they believe is responsible. There is still hope for answers.
In February of 2021, the US Attorney published a report on 11 missing Indigenous people in Oregon; and among them was Zack. The report is part of the campaign aimed to investigate the epidemic of Missing and Mu*rdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP). The Justice Department plans to distribute resources to help support ongoing cases while preventing future ones. In addition to the MMIP, the Mur*dered and Missing Unit (MMU) of Indian Affairs coordinated with the Department of Justice. Hopefully, these efforts will be of value to the investigation of Zack Porter’s disappearance.
Until then, the Porters continue to hope the day they bring Zack home is within reach.
“I would be happy for just a tooth,” Rebecca told NBC. “We have nothing. We have nothing to bury. Just something that I could hold onto him one last time. Because you do — you want to hold onto him one last time and you don’t get that chance.”
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Zachary Porter, please contact the Coo’s County Sheriff’s Office at 541–396–3121.