Every now and then I have a hard time getting to sleep - for whatever reason. Last night was one of those nights. After getting a little bored with the topics being discussed on the national sports talk station, I searched the dial for something a little more interesting. I happened upon a discussion on missing persons in national parks.
The program was on Coast to Coast with George Knapp as the host. His guest for the night was David Paulides, a former lawman turned investigative journalist. With some of his research highlighted in a couple of recently published books, Paulides has collected more than 450 cases of mysterious and baffling disappearances in our national parks over the last several decades.
The first hour, already in progress when I joined-in, focussed on missing cases throughout the western parks. However, Paulides spent the next hour discussing three disappearances in the Great Smoky Mountains, with most of that time spent on Dennis Martin, the six-year-old boy who disappeared at Spence Field in 1969. Over the years the father of the boy apparently refused to speak about the disappearance anymore, but Paulides was granted an interview at the Martin home recently. Paulides presents some interesting information about the case that was never discussed in the local press, including a quite fantastic observation made by Harold Key. I didn't know this either, but there were 80 armed Green Beret Special Forces that took part in that search for Dennis, that ultimately came up empty handed.
The interview was timely in light of the two young men that mysteriously disappeared in the Smokies back in March - just days apart from each other.
Although his conclusions as to what may have happened in many of these disappearances seems a little far-fetched, the interview and the facts surrounding the cases are quite compelling. If you wish to listen to the interview, the complete program is available here for download on the Coast to Coast website. Paulides was also featured in a fairly in-depth article recently published on a Las Vegas TV website.