Writer-director of Jewish plays disappears from a golf course

The last time Jewish actress Sheri Glaser saw her husband, Greg Howells, he was on his way to a Carmel Valley golf course. She told him, "Have fun. I love you. You're a genius."

That was more than a week ago, and he's still missing.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Department closed its investigation of Howells' disappearance Friday of last week after a canine-assisted search of the golf course and surrounding woodlands produced no leads, deputies said Monday.

Glaser and Howells had been staying in the Monterey area since her one-woman play, co-written by Howells, "Diosa!: Oh My Goddess," opened there six weeks ago. She has suspended all performances indefinitely.

Howells, who is not Jewish, directed and co-wrote several of Glaser's Jewish-themed plays, including the locally popular "Family Secrets," which was inspired by Glaser's family.

But the fact that Howells, 42, has endured professional frustration is no secret, Glaser said worriedly in an interview from her parents' Monterey-area home.

His most recent manuscript, "Lazarus," had been rejected by a number of publishers and producers. The playwright was scheduled to read the play on television July 8. A copy of the manuscript lay on the seat of his car left behind at the golf course parking lot.

"I live with this genius who is so tortured and unrecognized. [It] could be part of this equation. Not getting attention. Now, certainly, [he is] getting a lot of attention."

Glaser has been distraught since she called police early Wednesday morning of last week.

"I'm not holding up," the actress acknowledged, "I'm crying and screaming.

"We talked about the aliens. It looks like that's what happened. If you took a picture you'd say alien kidnapping here…We just don't know."

Howells was last seen golfing alone at the Rancho Cañada Golf Course in the late afternoon on Tuesday, June 17. A golf course employee discovered his golf cart and golf bag at the 13th tee. A putter, wedge and driver were left on the green as if the golfer had set it down momentarily for a quick time-out.

Howells' tan Honda was parked in the golf course lot and his wallet, license and credit cards scattered underneath the seat. No credit cards were missing but there was no cash in the wallet, police said.

"There are no indications of foul play except that he was there at one point and gone at another," said Sgt. Jim Meckel of the Monterey County Sheriff's Department.

A police rescue team of six spent three days searching the area, focusing much of their effort on a section of the Carmel River that flows past the 13th tee. The course butts against a steep mountainside that leads to a wooded area beyond, called Fish Ranch. In another direction lie residential and commercial districts.

Police are watching bank and credit card accounts for any activity, but will not investigate further without a lead.

Howells is 5 feet 11 inches tall, 190 pounds, with brown, curly hair hanging down the nape of his neck, blue eyes and a graying beard. Glaser called him the "Grizzly Adams" type. He was wearing a black T-shirt advertising Dick's Bar in Mendocino when he departed for the golf course.

Police encourage any information that might lead to Howells. Tips can be called in at (408) 625-4161.