When someone brings up children disappearing, most would think it would be in the child's neighborhood, but a variety of unexplained vanishings happen in national parks with family members nearby. Former police officer turned investigator and author, David Paulides, digs deeper into the mystery surrounding 500+ undocumented and unexplained disappearances in parks per year in his book Missing 411.
Kids as young as three disappear only a mere seconds after they were left unsupervised, only to reappear safely a great distance away and across treacherous terrain. One theory is kidnappings, but if a 3-year-old was kidnaped, it is illogical to believe that someone would willingly walk or carry a kid to an undisclosed location a couple miles mile from where they once were. One such example happened when 3-year-old Rowen Grifton disappeared during a family outing in the woods and was found days later in the middle of a waist-deep swamp. Yes, a toddler who could not swim was found in the middle of a waist-deep swamp. When asked how he ended up there, Rowen said a man lured him into the woods by peeking out from behind a tree. Intrigued, Rowan pursued the man, and as he followed, he recalled animals watching him from the darkness but he was protected by some giant figure. While a 3-year-old would be considered an unreliable source, his story remained consistent, and authorities have nothing else to go on.
And there are so many more examples of this type of disappearance. These cases share many of the same details that Rowan experienced, like the time a young girl was found in the middle of a stream standing on only a log after she disappeared from a rural area. But she said, "A big hairy wolf had me." Sometimes, as David Paulie states "Kids would disappear without reason and reappearing 10-15 miles away in places over 5000 feet in elevation." It just doesn't make sense. An example of this is when a little boy in Oregon disappeared and was found nine hours later 12 miles away. But apparently he was able to cross two mountain ranges. Investigators trying to piece together the details were astounded, claiming that if they couldn't make the climb, how could the boy do this on his own?
Mysteries surround adult disappearances too. There's the story of Ronald Kirk, runner and former Marine, who knew the Red Rock Canyon Calico Basin area well when he went missing in late January. When he didn't return at the time he was expected, no one worried at first because of his experience and the fact he spent so much time in the outdoors. But that was the last time anyone would ever see him again--until months later only 200 meters from a rather popular trail. What makes it odd is how this area was searched many times but nothing was discovered. Another notable fact was that the cause of death was never determined. The only one who knows what happened is no longer alive.
These are only a few of the unexplained cases, but there are so many more interesting stories like the ones described in this article. To learn more, Google Missing 411, by David Paulides.