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 Perry » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:11 pm

It seems strange that Ewasko was offering financial advice to his clients even though he had gone through 2 bankruptcies himself. And how was each client's profit verified? His company was paid on contingency of increasing profits of other businesses. I'm not saying for sure that he had access to clients' bank accounts, but I have to ask that question. How does this type of business relationship normally work? Would he trust a printout from the client? "I see from this sheet of paper that your profit did not increase. Looks like you don't owe us anything." Or do they walk into the bank together?
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby bretpct » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:52 am

Feanor wrote:This is somewhat old news, but the half-buried remains found on June 2nd were identified as Henry Stange, who was believed to have been murdered: http://www.hidesertstar.com/the_desert_trail/news/article_4249e66a-b07e-11e8-be21-03ee9d7b7013.html

A couple were arrested earlier this month for the murder, but the Riverside DA declined to file charges and they were quickly released. I haven't seen any other updates. In any case, it seems that we can be sure that this was not Bill.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this leaves the Stubbe Springs body found in May of this year as the only outstanding unidentified remains in the park, and that has been unofficially confirmed as Michael Rodriguez.


When I learned those remains had been identified, I researched Stange a little bit and went down a rabbit hole of the bizarre world of amateur radio and its operators.

Fellow radio operators knew the remains at JTNP belonged to Stange as early as June 11, 9 days after the remains were found. See this reddit thread. If you hover your mouse over "Submitted three months ago" the exact post date will pop up.

Stange was a bit of a rascal, and his antics on frequency are all over youtube. There's even a video of a guy driving through Temecula trying to prove that Stange is jamming the radio frequency he's on.

There's a picture of him embracing the woman who was arrested and released, Ashley Stapp, and according to a forum post somewhere I can't find, he had been referring to his girlfriend named Ashley for a couple months before his murder on the apparently infamous radio repeater 147.4350. Only listen to this if you're prepared to hear some childish, and frankly upsetting language from men of questionable mental stability.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ed » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:55 am

Perry,

Sounds like you have some source of information on Bill Ewasko's business affairs that I have missed, perhaps because I read this thread only intermittently.

Yes, the fact that the second bankruptcy occurred after the financial crash began is very relevant. But it sounds like it was early in the financial crisis, it was his second bankruptcy, and financial crises take the long-hanging fruit first. And Holly Hayick's comment was 'knowing what Bill was like', indicating she saw a fundamental problem with Ewasko, not a temporary situation-specific one. And can we be sure that the conclusion of a bankruptcy proceeding has taken care of all problems? I am not, particularly if there was a failure to make a full disclosure. On the other hand, he does not seem to have lost his license to practice whatever he was doing. It does not take much for the SEC to bar you from the financial industry, either permanently or for some time.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:34 am

Ed, this web page was online as late as 2015:
https://web.archive.org/web/20150905111 ... ll-ewasko/
It seemed odd to me that it was left online for so long after he was presumed to be deceased.

More about the company:
https://web.archive.org/web/20150706200 ... rs.com:80/
Obviously not updated after 2010. I'm guessing the company folded around the time that Ewasko disappeared.

And it looks like this kind of sort of answers my question in a vague way:
https://web.archive.org/web/20150706225 ... /warranty/
Maybe contracts can grant permission to view tax returns directly through the IRS?
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ed » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:55 pm

Thanks, Perry.

Normally, you can't get into too much trouble advising other firms, no matter how bad the advice may be. It is a buyer beware world. But this looks potentially more dodgy:

'Bill also served as Assistant Chief Financial Officer for a non-profit group managing a venture capital fund and affordable housing division.'

Here you are playing with other people's money, and 'affordable housing' could be a code word for low-quality mortgages, which were what triggered the financial crisis in 2008. And 'non-profit' for investors who are even more gullible than normal.

I assume Bill's bankruptcies were personal rather than business? Advising firms may go out of business, but I don't think they normally declare bankruptcy. They typically don't have much in the way of assets and liabilities.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Alchad » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:53 am

Hi, Just by way of an introduction, I'm not a hiker and originally happened on to the search for Bill via the Otherhand.org website when Googling for info on a completely different subject. However as often happens - at least to me anyway - I got sidetracked into reading the search and rescue blogs, and after digging deeper and doing more online research, ended up here. I'm also a Brit by the way which is probably irrelevant but I'll just mention it anyway.

I found the story of Bills disappearance fascinating because it has aspects which make it more of a mystery movie rather than a conventional missing person case. I also have to say how incredibly impressed I was by the dedication and time both "Otherhand" and a lot of you on this forum have put into trying to find him, really hope your efforts are rewarded one day and his family and friends can discover what happened.

However, after reading through the various blogs and all the posts on this particular thread, I've a few comments/observations which I just wanted to offer up.

Firstly, the one thing I find difficult to understand is the Carey Castle issue. The accepted understanding seems to be that a hike there was on Bill's itinerary, but after concern expressed by his fiancé, he apparently scrubbed it. So we have the situation that on the Thursday morning he was driving towards JTNP, in the opposite direction from Carey's Castle. On the drive he spoke to his fiancé by phone BUT, not only did he not mention he wasn't going there, rather he stlll seems to have left her with the impression that's where he was going. So much so that's the first place she told the Rangers to look when she contacted them to say he was missing. This just seems a very strange thing for Bill to do, why didn't he put her mind at ease? Odd, just very odd. It was also stated that Bill had joked that he'd bought a can of pepper spray, I'm not sure when this conversation with his fiancé had taken place - the Thursday morning? Or perhaps the previous evening? Again, to me the pepper spray is slightly odd, Googling about hiking to Carey's Castle I came across a few reviews that suggested it was a tricky hike from both a physical and navigational aspect, but not from the risk of being mugged.

The other issue which many others have mentioned concerns the apparent failure of Ranger Grayson to notice Bill's car in the Juniper Flats car park during the initial part of the search ( assuming it was there! ). As far as I am aware, no one has ever tried to contact Ex Ranger Grayson and ask him about this. I don't know if there is a record of whether he has a middle initial, but even if he didn't, or it is not known, I did a quick Google of the LA phone directory and identified 9 possible "M. Grayson's" in LA , and I'm sure with a bit of research half of these could be reduced ( too old, too young etc) to just a few possible candidates. I just wondered if anyone would be willing to approach these Mike Graysons to try and track down the right one and ask him for his version of the search. Ideally could the reporter who did the NYT story be persuaded to try a follow up piece. Just speculating the options are many - ranging from phone hung up/ door slammed in face through to absolute and utter conviction that he had driven by and there was no car there. Whatever reaction it would surely be informative??

On the same subject of the car and car park. Just to show how easy it is to construct conspiracy theories- you could easily, if you were that way inclined start to doubt Mimi Gorman's story about firstly not seeing the car on her way to Keys View, and then when she did see it, decide not to stop because she wanted privacy. It would be pretty obvious to see that there was nobody in the car and as the only reason a car would be there would be for the occupants to go hiking, the odds were that they would be miles away and she would have been able to eat her lunch in peace. Absolutely not offering this for consideration in the slightest, other than to demonstrate how things can get twisted.

Just my thoughts, thanks if you've bothered reading them.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby OtherHand » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:26 am

My recollection of the call Bill made to Mary the morning of his hike was that he told her he was currently westbound on I-10 and wouldn't be doing Carey's Castle. For whatever reason she didn't believe him and thought he was saying that so she wouldn't worry. And he also said he'd be having dinner at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown, which is something that wouldn't be feasible if he were going to Carey's Castle (very opposite directions).
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi Alchad, welcome to the board. Members need not be hikers or local. Interesting thoughts you have. Your location could explain if an occasional post is in the middle of the night here in California.

Hopefully somebody will interview Mike Grayson and Holly Hayick. I don't feel like doing all that work to find them, but maybe somebody else does. There's also the author of the FOIA write-up, Jimmy Pritchett II. He might not be allowed to say much if anything.

I suspect any discrepancies between where Ewasko's fiance thought he was going and where he actually went are either due to poor communication on Ewasko's part or misremembering by his fiance. It still bothers me that whoever had the phone number for "Ken and Helen" and said he didn't know Ewasko apparently didn't say his name is not Ken, or maybe he did and that detail just didn't get mentioned in the report.

Mimi Gorman's decision to not have lunch in the parking lot was probably a quick decision. It was, after all, not a very important decision to make at that moment. Hikers return but new cars also arrive.

I've been wondering if we should seriously consider the possibility that Ewasko commited suicide? Filing for bankruptcy when you are 63 or 64 can make it nearly impossible to retire. The company may have been failing at the time, given that the web site was apparently not updated after 2010. "Want 2010 to be more profitable than 2009?" (The copyright notice was automatically adjusted to match the year by using code.) But the theory that he took shelter in rocks or fell into a crevice also makes sense.

Today Stephen and I went to Juniper Flats parking lot and then hiked around Quail Mountain at approximately 5,200 to 5,500 feet, looking inside and around rocks that had not been previously searched. Nothing. I did see a giant nolina or yucca bloom (dry seed pods) that was quite impressive and also a very big fly I think that looked like a big bumblebee.

I noticed a couple things. First of all, I share the opinion that it's very easy to see all the cars in the parking lot, regardless of colors, while driving south on the paved road. Secondly, it's easy to see footprints and identify ours on the trail and very easy to do this on the dirt road. I could even do this off-trail in a sandy area. Off-trail in a hardpacked and pebbled area was quite difficult to identify my own footprints.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Alchad » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:33 am

Perry,

Thanks for the welcome. Time of posts - yes think there's a 7 hour time difference, early evening here when I posted.

Re the Ken and Helen thing, not sure if you saw this, it's on page 48 of this thread by "Rach"

...…..While I'm here rambling I figured I'd talk about something else I haven't seen mentioned
Ken and Helen
A short search turned up a husband and wife team who were hike leaders for the Coachella Valley hiking club. They don't seem to be on the list of leaders anymore. Seems the club lists their planned hikes for that quarter and you register your interest about a week and a half before. They also blog their hikes and interestingly nothing is in the blog for june and july of 2010. I guess Bill wrote it down as something he was interested in but never contacted Ken or Helen as they had no hikes planned during the time he was there and would explain why Ken doesn't know who he is.......


It's the only time I've ever seen this information mentioned on any post or blog. I did a quick check on the Coachella Valley Hiking Club and did see a Ken and Helen mentioned as members.

Regarding missing things. You mentioned "The author of the FOIA write-up. Jimmy Pritchett 11. I've certainly missed this, the only FOIA I know about is that by Otherhand. I'd appreciate a link to the Pritchett one.

ALSO, just in terms of knowing as much as possible, as far as I've read, we haven't seen anything about what Bill said in his phone call to the Condo owner. Be nice to know.

Regards

Alchad
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:13 am

Alchad, that sounds like a good explanation. I must have forgotten or not seen that post. Here's something funny: I just figured out today that I can jump to a page number by clicking on "Page __ of __" in the lower right.

The author of the FOIA narrative is listed in the bottom area of each page where the signatures are.

I forgot how Otherhand knew about Ewasko's call to David Rosso. It would be nice to have the original documents converted to text for easy searching. On Windows and some versions of Linux, CTRL + F will find words and phrases in a document, and there's probably something else that works with Mac's.
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