MTV’s Laguna Beach producers donate $10K to find 17 yr old’s killer

MTV Network and the executive producers of “Laguna Beach” have donated $10,000 to be added to the reward money to find Max Caputo’s killer. Max is a 17 year old from Laguna Beach that was killed in a pre-dawn hit and run accident on Coast Highway in August.

“We did not make the donation in order to garner press…” stated MTV’s spokesperson.

This money has been added to the $5,000 Max’s father, Joseph placed as an reward to any info about the accident. An additional $19,000 has been donated from parents and teens in Laguna.

Click here read more about Max

Video about Max


25 thoughts on “MTV’s Laguna Beach producers donate $10K to find 17 yr old’s killer

  1. On Dec 12, 2006, at 4:17 PM, jp caputo wrote:

    Burdens of a parent

    You may see me sitting on the steps at Thalia Street beach in the
    mornings or around sunset. You no doubt know why I am there. This was
    a special place for my son Max and has become even more so since now
    he has been honorably immortalized by the memorial so thoughtfully
    placed there. I would talk to Max on these same steps on a regular
    basis and still do today. I clearly see him a few steps below me,
    looking up at me, smiling, his mind ticking over how to make me laugh
    and earn a few more throws of the skimboard. “Dad, come watch my back
    flip!” or “Surf’s perfect for air! Just ’til dark, please? I can get
    home by myself!” (Translation: I am not coming home until eleven.)

    The perfect life: sun, water, sand, waves, girls, the gnarly crew,
    girls, new skim, girls, just grew 4 inches( girls like that), girls,
    girls, girls, gnarly crew, girls, gnarly girls and you have to have
    music… let’s see now – rap has songs about girls – ok, rap – that
    will make Mom and Dad happy! Did I mention the girls?

    And in the blink of an eye, all of this gone. Max never knew what hit
    him; didn’t feel a thing. We are the ones left here to sort all of
    this out. I actually spoke to Max about this very situation that happens all to often along coast highway. I always thought for sure that I would be there for Max but that is no longer a luxury of mine.

    Max knew he was loved and loved back with vigor a special love that
    was easy to see and hard to forget.
    I have thought long and hard of what I should be doing about this and
    it came to me after the stunned fog lifted. What would Max want done?
    The person who did this must be in tremendous pain also and must come
    forward, with our help if necessary. If alcohol is not a factor I
    will personally stand up in front of a judge be it municipal or the
    Almighty and ask for leniency.
    You may comment or join in at:
    Reward Fund remains at —

  2. Just less than a half a tear ago, I remember my favorite thing to do was guiding my son and his friends whenever they got bright ideas about how to act out their views and actions to bring more attention and make it appear as if they were different or having more fun than their peers.
    All that was abruptly changed when a few months ago my favorite thing to do was to go down to the 2400 block of PCH around midnight where those same friends of my son were gathered along the curb in the dark lit up by candles and the lights of passing cars. They would just huddle around a few of the others that would be using permanent markers to write a short poem or draw out one of Max’s favorite sayings or characters onto the cement sidewalk or one of the many skim boards and skate boards that they just a few hours before they had been riding alongside him. He may have been a little bit ahead but that was ok and made it easier to hear him calling out his random canting to keep up. Most of these young people were always in the arms of another looking so comfortable and you could see the familiarness of the group as a hole making it easy to see that stronger ones were making the others feel safe. Comfortable to cry out and let tears that had been held back for a few hours finally fall from their face to the ground there on that warm dark summer night. When it was noted that that I had arrived and was approaching from behind without turning to see, the group would part so naturally and fold in behind me. Those that new me well would try to pull that stupid hat that I wear from my head and those just used to seeing me with Max and now wearing his clothes were just happy to feel me brush past into the center. This was the only part of those days that made any sense to me at that time being that my fatherly instinct was still strong and so shiny that they all new something was about to happen knowing that this was Max’s dad, origin of his character, and would have to have something comforting to say. I have no idea where I would get the strength when that moment was apparent but they all would listen intently as if for the first time ever. I explained to them when these candle would finally go out that the same light would shine from each of them. The bond that they were creating here with each other would directly reflect it’s intensity and make the legacy of Max an enduring one. Ideas of the young give purpose, drawing them to this solemn place, fueling the task of continuing.
    My personal and sincere thanks goes out to all those who are helping me make my presence felt in hopes that this person will come forward soon.
    “Thank you” to all Who are making it known that it is not acceptable to commute through town taking the lives of our young and continuing on taking the hopes of future generations with you.
    “Thank you “to those who did not know Max personally but remember that smiling kid skating past the house never missing the opportunity to share the same. Those who left fresh eggs. home cooked meals, cookies, flowers and cards at our doorstep.
    “Thank you” to those who had the ability to bring the gift of well being and comfort to shade the sense of loss, lit candles and whispered prayers to themselves.
    On one hand I will never fathom how Max’s soul could have completed his mission at so young of an age. On the other hand it is so very easy to see the powerful affect he has had on the community.
    Thanks to all .

  3. im really sorry to hear about this.
    i know your going through a lot mr. c. but hold on. it will get better. you wont get your son back but you know hes in a better place and hopefully that will make you feel better. the good die young.

  4. Max,
    Maxy…how much I miss you, I can’t even begin to explain. It has been almost a year now, and i still feel the same pain that I did on that terrible August 19th, 2006. I can still remember your bright smile and how you and I would always hide in the hall closet at my house to scare my mom as she walked in the door from the grocery store. Or how we would be Asian and jump on my bed taking tourist photos. All those memories I will take with me for the rest of my life. You were my best friend and always will hold that title. I miss you my sweet Max.
    I love you forever.

  5. I want to start out with a formal apology. I am sorry. Being responsible for the death of someone is something that I never wanted to have happen, but it did, and for that I am sorry.
    There are many what ifs about that fateful morning that I have turned over in my head many times. Plaguing me, forever causing me to lose sleep and never allowing me to be able to smile again. I do have to confess that alcohol was a factor, but general fatigue and lack of light probably all contributed to what happened. I claim full responsibility for what happened, but I still wonder even to this day, how on an empty road with nothing but my old broken car roaring down the street, system blasting with windows open, how he didn’t hear me. I’m not going to fully go into what Max could have done, like helmets or stay on the shoulder/ sidewalk, because he was right and I should have stayed out of his lane.
    I still regret having driven home at that hour, I should have done so many other things like chosen the fast lane, or maybe if I had remembered my glasses. All I know is that when I hit that dark figure, I paniced. I drove by the police station on my way back to see what had happened, but by then, there was already an officer on the scene. So I had to make a choice: College or Jail, what’s it gonna be? I chose college at the time, though I’ll always remember and feel sorry for what I did.
    I’m probably already going to hell for what I did, and I wish there was something I could do to make things better, but it’s not in my power. I also want to avoid jail, or being sold out for socially conforming. I still find it ironic that MTV added more money to capture me when they indirectly condone the sort of activities that I do and perhaps that Max would do. Maybe even one day I’ll be worth more than $34,000. But for now, it seems that drinking and driving is the only way that that’s going to happen.
    It’s scares me that an innocent night turned into a whole ruined lifetime for me. If I go to jail, the next years of my life are ruined. No conjugal visits and nothing but the most criminal of criminals to rub elbows with. Then when I get out, I won’t ever be able to get a good job or a decent house. If I don’t, I have to walk around knowing that I’m evil and I deprived someone else of having a good life. The continuing moral guilt is enough for me, I really don’t want to face LA’s jail system.
    What happened happened, and I don’t think that throwing me in jail for 2-20 years would really do a lot for society. I would ask for the death penalty, or to let me continue living my life so that someday I can do something good for humanity or something nice and grand to help us remember Max. I was thinking of buying a snowboard slope and naming it after max, or installing more streetlights and a bike-lane to that section of the PCH. One day I do want to apologize to Max’s family in person, however awkward that would be.
    I will give my word to all of you to never drive after drinking, and I will also wait long enough so that I’m sufficiently sober. Or perhaps even call a cab. Most of these days, I let my friends drive. It’s really a terrible that a trajedy like this had to enforce this ethos.
    Sorry again friends and family. I’m not asking you all to forgive and forget, but hopefully one day you all will accept what happened and move on. Max is definitely someone I’ll never forget. Once again, sorry.

  6. To “the guy who did it”;
    I read your 5-28-07 post with a heavy heart, 10 years ago my son was involved in a terrible tragedy much like yours. Details aren’t important but after he eventually did the right thing, his life straighten out. He is at peace with himself, he has reconciled with all. He and our family are back on track.

    I sympathize with Max, his loving family and friends. I empathize with you, your family and friends. You can right this wrong and still have those things you want in life.

    It’s been a year now, do the right thing. There is help for you out there, I believe you are truly sorry. Seeking the proper forgiveness will truly heal you.

  7. To: The Guy Who Did It

    I believe the death of Max Caputo has had a profound impact on your life and I also believe that you truly are sorry for what transpired that night in August – you would’nt be writing if you weren’t. Maybe you have even considered coming forth to make things right; anything to make your mind stop replaying this nightmare over and over again. Here’s a different perspective to consider and maybe help you find the peace of mind you so desperately want:

    Death is much like the stone that is cast into a pond. First, little ripples encircle the place of impact and then more ripples continue to flow outward creating another and another, each larger than the last. Max’s stone continues to create ripples as his short life and violent death sends widening circles of sorrow touching each individual who knew and loved him reaching even those who didn’t know him but wished they had. His parents, his sister, his friends, his community, we are all affected by what happened to Max. And that is what we all need and want to know. What happened?

    You say “being responsible for the death of someone” is terrible, but have you really taken responsibility here? Responsibility means owning your actions and bearing the weight of their consequences. You seem to feel that Max being in the wrong place at the wrong time shares responsibility for what happened when in reality, it was your actions alone on a course you chose.

    ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ don’t change the stark truth: you were drinking, you were speeding, you were not wearing glasses and you probably were not paying attention. Did you intend to hurt anyone? Absolutely not; I don’t think anyone who reads your letter believes it was anything but a horrible accident. Come forth and be responsible for your actions. If you take responsibililty, you will take the first step toward redemption and peace not only for yourself but also for those who love Max. This time the ripples could be new beginnings.

    You say “I wish there was something I could do to make things better.: There is. Come forth and tell the truth. Anger will arise only at your failure to do so. The family and friends of Max want to know the truth, the whole truth, so that the story of Max’s life has an ending also. It is not knowing what happened that keeps the pain alive. Ofteen times imagination is far worse than truth. Come forward and make it better.

    You say that it’s “not in your power” to make it better. You have no power over your life because you have not exercised your power within. You made decisions that night that were wrong. You have made decisions since that time and they are wrong too. Take power – swallow hard, take a deep breath, speak the words slowly and deliberately and truthfully, share your guilt and humiliation, answer the questions, tell the truth. Truth is power. Hiding from the truth makes you weak and makes you hated, even by yourself. Having only imagination to envision what kind of person would do this and would not stop or come forward leaves only an inability to understand, questions and no answers. Don’t make us hate you, let us share the pain you must feel also and reach out for the compassion each of us needs more than hate. You are not powerless if you come forward.

    You say “I have to walk around knowing that I am evil.” You are not evil, you’re scared and helpless bearing the burden of your secret. Not coming forward is the only evil deed here – evil because you are inflicting unnecessary pain on others. Tell the truth. Show the world you are not an evil person, just very young and very confused and very scared.

    I doubt that you are much older than Max was – maybe a few years older – maybe you are not even old enough to drink. No one doubts that drinking impaired your judgment that night in August, but what lesson have you learned? You are still impairing your judgment now and then but it’s OK now because you are not driving? Wrong. Is it possible that you really enjoy a drink now after killing someone when you were drunk? Take the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous and admit you have a problem. Have you noticed that drinking to forget doesn’t work either? Come forward and tell the truth about your problem and get the help you need. That works. Maybe then you will be able to smile again.

    You say you are sorry. How do you expect Max’s parents to take your apology seriously when you continue to repeat your mistakes? No wonder you think it will be awkward to talk to them. Be sorry for drinking, be sorry for making wrong choices, be sorry for only thinking of yourself and what you MIGHT lose, be sorry for your weakness and cowardice – they are all ripple effects of your drinking . If you are truly sorry, make the right choice this time for all the wrong choices you have made thus far. Come forward. Let people see your sorrow and be man enough to bear the weight of their sorrow upon your shoulders.

    Please take the first step toward forgiveness and healing, it is the very least you can do for the life you have taken and it will have a ripple effect also, maybe a good one. Tell the truth: Do it for Max – he would have come forward because thats the kind of kid he was. You will never be free until you take responsibility for your life and act with honor: Do it for Max – he would like the pain to stop for those he loved in this world because he liked nothing better than making people smile again.

  8. Joesph,
    From one parent to another, please accept my sincere love, hope and faith.
    When I spoke to Crystal this eve. she gave me the information so that I could go on line and perhaps in some way feel closer to you both.
    As I read the letters, looked at the choosen photos, the comments, the emotions, the extreme impact on the community as a whole, I realized the pride you must have felt when you saw, touched, and embraced the outpouring of sincerity. It is very obvious to me that you gave your son the greatest gift that life has to offer.

    I pray that your higher power guides you through the grieving process, and that those who share your life give 100% support in the decisions you must now make, and the difficulity to stay focused on your future
    The void you must be feeling will in time fill in….there are no replacements. He is Max. A wonderful human being. I commend you Dad.
    What you have in your heart from one child, some never have in a lifetime of children. How fortunate you are.
    Hold it close, and always know that to one person, you were a King.

    May God bless you and trust that justice will be served.

    With heart, soul and a big giant hug,


  9. Dear Jacquie, Thank-you for the beautiful letter you wrote to my husband. Joseph, our daughter Cassi and I have discovered that there is an amazing population of kind, loving people extending themselves and their prayers to us.
    We appreciate them all, Catherine Caputo

  10. To the guy who did it,
    I understand that you are sorry, and I understand that you are trying to make the best desicion for YOUR life. But think about my friend Max. Please just even if you don’t turn yourself in, apologize to Catherine, Cassi, and Joseph. That would make you a more respected person. Don’t try and rationalize what you did so you can make yourself sleep better at night. Face the fact that you killed my best friend, a son, and a brother. Please.

  11. i miss him so much. it really sucks to think about all this, everytime i walk down the steps to the beach, whether it be at thalia, 1000steps, agate, pearl, at. anns, even Wahoos! i think of him and the impact he left on so many people.-
    rest in peace max d. caputo. you are truley missed.

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  15. To the guy who did it.
    I cannot fathom what you must be dealing with right now…the weight on your shoulders of knowing that you killed someone, especially such a great kid as Max.
    I don’t know if you will ever read this…but I am going to say a few things anyways.
    Max was a great kid, he might not of had his head on straight about the future…but he knew the difference between right and wrong. There is no way you can possibly turn this around and say that he is somehow responsible for what happened that night. If you knew him you would know that Max doesn’t drink, he lived a perfectly happy life full of laughter and joy without the use of stupid substances. I only wish all of us could live up to the same morals that Max had himself. As far as hiding in the dark and not coming forward, you are a coward. Coming forward can only make things better and that power is in YOUR hands.
    I don’t know what happens after death, but I would like to think that there is something else out there. You might think that you are going to hell for what you did, but that can change. If there is a god, the only way to make it right in his eyes is to tell the truth. You say that you should keep living your life and one day you will do something good for Max, but the only good thing you can possibly do is to come forward!
    The pain that you feel when you wake up in the morning and feel when you fall asleep at night is never going to go away. I think you would be amazed at how good it feels to confront your problems and deal with them, rather then hide. Be mature, put yourself in the shoes of Max’s friends and family. Wouldn’t you want to know who killed your best friend, or your son or daughter? It might not seem like it would make a difference, but its the comfort of knowing who you are and finally having all the pieces to the puzzle. We all know it was an accident, people make mistakes and when you can come forward and forgive yourself that is when even YOU will feel better about the situation. Until then, nightmares of that night will haunt you and torment you, no matter how hard you try to ignore or forget the accident.
    Things like this don’t just happen, and people do not just get over it. His family and friends are going to think about him everyday and every night, wondering what happened. It is possible to accept what happened unless you truly know what did, and for that to happen all of us need YOU!
    It might seem odd, but jail would be better than living with the guilt you have on your shoulders, and seeing all the people you hurt. Although it was a mistake, you deserve to go, and maybe then you can accept yourself and stop blaming other people around you, it wasn’t MTV, it wasn’t Max, it was your fault, your responsibility, and you need to deal with it.
    Honestly, do you really think that one day the pain is going to go way, that one morning you will wake up and feel better, like the weight has been lifted? Time is not going to make things better, only worse, and the longer you wait the WORSE it gets. GROW UP…face the consequences of your actions and stop being selfish. Show some common decency and stop being a heartless, pathetic ass.
    Stop avoided what you did, stop trying to numb the pain, ITS NEVER GOING TO GO AWAY and I hope it never does unless you confess.
    I loved Max, I live my life better because of the impact he left on my life, and I know that every other person out there that knew him feels the same way. Just remember that the pain will never go away, and you didn’t just change Max Caputo’s life, you changed everyone’s life who knew him. Max is not the only person you killed, you are killing each and every one of us who knew him.


  16. do the right thing.
    as much as you want college, the right thing to do is confess. youve hurt too many people to be this selfish. read this:

    DEU 28:65 Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place
    for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind,
    eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.

    66 You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and
    day, never sure of your life.

    67 In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the
    evening, “If only it were morning!”–because of the terror that will fill
    your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.

    i hope this helps. do the right thing. confess.

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