Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ze M » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:43 pm

[Checks in many years later]

Wow you guys are still searching!
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby adamghost » Tue May 01, 2018 9:43 am

This was one of the things I point out in the upcoming blog; Bill knew he wasn't going to Carey's Castle when he was on the phone to Mary. He'd already written out directions to Juniper Flats Trailhead from the west entrance to the park; they were found in his vehicle. It's unclear what transpired during the call but for whatever reason Mary came away with the wrong impression.

RichardK wrote:One point about Carey's Castle. Per OtherHand's summary, when Bill called Mary Thursday morning, he stated that he was westbound on I-10 at Monterey Avenue. Carey's Castle is eastbound. Bill was not going there. Mary assumed it because it was first on his itinerary. Bill never corrected her.

Per RSO Martinez, Ewasko places call to his fiancée ,Mary, in Georgia. Martinez
stated Ewasko told Mary he was w/b on I-10 in the area of Monterrey Avenue.
Cell phone records indicate that his phone was transmitting off of the Thousand
Palms Verizon cell tower, which is consistent with the location he gave Mary.


Dementia could include other things than the gradual onset of Alzheimer's. It could come on suddenly due to hyperthermia, dehydration, stroke, etc.


Perry wrote:Richard, I was thinking about that recently also. And she said he was going to have dinner at Pappy and Harriet's.

Here's a visual:

https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=33.84973,-1 ... ail%20head

F: Pappy and Harriets

D: Juniper Flats Trailhead

B: Monterey Exit on I-10

H: Hayfield Exit on I-10 (for reaching trailhead to Carey's Castle)
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Wed May 02, 2018 5:33 am

On a different track:

I've recycled Perry's acme topo, but the ABCDs changed on me. So point H is the bandana (moot now) and Hill 5787 the obvious target for a return journey from the summit of Quail, becomes J... "Confused? You will be..."

Strikes me that if for any reason Bill continued more than a few hundred feet past point J (Hill 5787) then the contours to the south, south west, west and even far to the north west look more than sporty to say the least. I don't see an obvious descent anywhere around point L (Hill 5642) and could imagine Bill being driven ever north westerly as he tried this or that descent, continually risking being cliffed out, backing up, and trying again further along. Point B (Hill 5784) looks as bad, and it's only at point D (Hill 5426) where we seem to have a few possible exits (I say possible, but I bet they're all scary on the ground):

1. One's the NNW gully into the western end of Smithwater that everyone's had an eye on for nigh on eight years, and covered numerous time by Tom and others.

2. The other's directly to the north west of point D (Hill 5426) which exits directly onto Covington Well (Dry). I think there's been plenty of foot traffic there too.

3. Finally, we have the gully that starts just to the south of point D (Hill 5426) and goes pretty much ENE. Maybe pingable further down, and conceivably within the error margin of the ping arc. I can only see a few helicopter tracks from the original SAR, and nothing since... not advocating anyone climb up or down that gully but a debris scan at the foot of the gully might be worthwhile. As would a check of the bases of each of those gullies to the south.

Why wouldn't Bill look at his map and note those contours himself? Because he might have had the 24,000 topos for Indian Cove and Keys View (check out the itinerary, I believe those "areas" to be the formal names of the topos he had with him) but I don't think he had East Deception Canyon or Joshua Tree South; and those are the maps you'd really need to understand the perils to the west and north west of Quail. As someone notes a *long* time ago, there's a topo crossroads of sorts (marked as point F on the topo) which is the upper left corner of the Keys View topo, bottom left corner of the Indian Cove topo. Bill walked off his maps.

Why wouldn't Bill turn on his phone and make a call from anywhere along the western lip? Dunno. I can't imagine that Bill with only the contents of two 12 ounce bottles of water in him was thinking straight. Maybe a mixture of pride (and cost) meant he didn't want to trigger a SAR, and he was determined to self-rescue... until he'd descended into some largely unpingable gully and it was too late. Similar rationale as for the SWC theory, I'd say.

Why wouldn't Bill make a u-turn and try again to retrace his steps to the south east? It's human nature to see covered terrain as some kind of investment, even if it's in obviously the wrong direction. Again, a similar rationale to the SWC theory.

Why did he pass his exit point in the first place? Because he's a map and compass guy, and he forgot to reset his declination from 5 degrees West for Marietta Georgia to 11 degrees East for JTNP.

I'm wrong of course, but it's been fun to think this one out.

Ric

https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=34.00003,-116.25000&z=15&t=T&marker0=34.00159%2C-116.24660%2C7.1%20km%20ExNE%20of%20Little%20San%20Bernardino%20Mountains%20CA&marker1=34.00789%2C-116.26570%2C6.0%20km%20NE%20of%20Little%20San%20Bernardino%20Mountains%20CA&marker2=33.99750%2C-116.23845%2C7.6%20km%20ExNE%20of%20Little%20San%20Bernardino%20Mountains%20CA&marker3=34.01639%2C-116.27549%2Cunnamed&marker4=33.99924%2C-116.25673%2Cunnamed&marker5=34.00003%2C-116.25000%2Cunnamed
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Fri May 04, 2018 1:38 am

Ze, that is funny. I was wondering if you had moved or changed interests.

Ric, I haven't figured out how the lettering system works on Acme after a link is created. It would be nice if the user could choose.

I re-read Tom's summary and the FOIA narrative, browsed the radio log and incident log. Maybe somebody can answer some questions I have:

It appears there are details in Tom's summary that were not in the FOIA packet. He obtained some documents from Mary, so presumably he interviewed her to get the additional details?

Apparently there were at least 2 psychics. The FOIA narrative only mentions the second psychic on July 15. It appears that some info from a prior interview with Mary is missing, either by mistake or redaction.

Bill rented the car from LAX. Why didn't he just fly into Ontario or Palm Springs? Surely it's not because he liked driving in LA traffic. I know the tickets for Palm Springs can run a little higher, but would LAX save any money over Ontario? Maybe he had business or friends in LA.

incident card wrote:Michael Thomas [redaction] Mr. Thomas is at the Oasis VC says he has info on the lost person. Transmitted in the blind to have anyone on search to call dispatcj [sic]"

Is there any info on what Mr. Thomas said? Perhaps it was not included in the FOIA packet by mistake or redaction.

And is "oyster bar" a radio code for something, or a restaurant parking lot to pick up and drop off people?

The radio log mentions finding various other things. I converted them to lat/long and put them on a map here:
https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=33.96480,-1 ... 8681331761

H: June 28 2 sets of tracks heading north 0575143 3758902
Conversion: 33.96796 -116.18662

B: July 1 8:51 Team 1 found underwear 0572894 3758693
Conversion: 33.96623 -116.21098
incident card wrote:...THE BRAND OF UNDERGARMENTS DID NOT MATCH.

F: July 1 9:12 Team 4 found tracks headed north 05713693 3762213
Conversion: 33.99808 -116.22720

D: July 1 10:32 Team 6 found wool garment 7082 6025
0577082? 3756025?
Conversion: 33.94187 -116.16589

And lastly, is anybody interested in searching with me sometime in May on a weekend? The email function doesn't work on this forum, but PM's work.
If you need help signing up as a new member, please send an email to Contact @ Mt San Jacinto . info (without the spaces)
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Myth » Fri May 04, 2018 6:01 am

Perry - from the context I believe the radio logs refers to the Oyster Bar location in Joshua Tree National Park:
https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=33.99209,-116.15037&z=18&b=hyb

From street view you can see the sign for it.

I always thought it was one of the stranger attractions!

I'm out all May. I'm writing this from the road - business travel, family travel, May is packed! And then it will probably be too hot to search.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby RichardK » Fri May 04, 2018 10:07 am

Perry wrote:Bill rented the car from LAX. Why didn't he just fly into Ontario or Palm Springs? Surely it's not because he liked driving in LA traffic. I know the tickets for Palm Springs can run a little higher, but would LAX save any money over Ontario? Maybe he had business or friends in LA.


As a frequent flyer into and out of California, the cheapest tickets are generally for LAX. The minor airports cost more. Also, the schedules are much more flexible for LAX. It sees more flights than Ontario and significantly more than Palm Springs.

By the way, Delta just dropped service from Atlanta to Ontario entirely. Ontario is now accessed through their Salt Lake City hub.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby OtherHand » Fri May 04, 2018 11:35 am

From several emails from Mary, the "psychic" situation is this: Mary had a friend with some abilities that was teaching a class in remote viewing. The problem was presented to the class to work on. I can't recall if the psychic who said Bill wasn't in the park was the same one though.

Bill's flight was on Delta from Atlanta to LAX, nonstop. He left Atlanta at 8:35 AM and arrived at LAX at 10:14 AM, so he would be in a window of lesser traffic. To fly to either Ontario or Palm Springs would have required a connection (so more travel time) and likely cost more.

The Oyster Bar is a fossil formation of ancient shells.

I don't have any further info on Michael Thomas beyond what was in the narrative from JTNP.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby bretpct » Sun May 06, 2018 1:05 am

Perry wrote:
incident card wrote:Michael Thomas [redaction] Mr. Thomas is at the Oasis VC says he has info on the lost person. Transmitted in the blind to have anyone on search to call dispatcj [sic]"

Is there any info on what Mr. Thomas said? Perhaps it was not included in the FOIA packet by mistake or redaction.


Found on pages 9-10 of the narrative, Mr. Thomas is reporting that local hiker Greg Mendoza arrived at Juniper Flats parking area at 10:20 AM and saw no cars, returned at 5:30-6:00 PM and saw Bill's car in the parking lot, with fresh boot tracks heading up Juniper Flats Rd.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby halhiker » Mon May 07, 2018 4:15 pm

We’ll have to wait but this may be him.

https://www.nps.gov/jotr/learn/news/hik ... n-park.htm
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby sh44 » Mon May 07, 2018 5:39 pm

Good find halhiker!! Also the same from the Desert Sun:

Hikers found skeletal remains in Joshua Tree National Park

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/lo ... 588690002/

"Hikers found skeletal remains in Joshua Tree National Park on Thursday.

Investigators with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department collected the remains—found along the Stubbe Springs Loop trail—but the deceased remained unidentified on Monday, according to the park service.

He was lost: Crews looking for Joshua Tree hiker who left note warning of disappearance

Then he was found: Senior hiker found alive after days of wandering around Joshua Tree

The trail where the remains were found is "rugged and occasionally hard to follow, but ideal for solitude and adventure seekers comfortable in the desert backcountry," according to the hiking website ProTrails.

The remains as well as evidence from the scene have been collected and are undergoing testing and analysis by forensic specialists, according to the park service."
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