Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Messages 1681 - 1700 of total 2274 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Stimbo

Trad climber
Crowley Lake
Sep 5, 2013 - 09:07am PT
How about this scenario:

Matt went into the backcountry to retrieve his mountaineering boots and ice axe that he had previously cached from one of his earlier climbs. When he first arrived, after his car broke down, he could have taken his ice climbing equipment into an area not knowing the current conditions. Once he was back there and saw the lack of snow and ice, he may have hidden his boots and axe, then bagged a summit in his tennis shoes (or whatever) and then with the lateness of day, sprinted back to Mammoth to avoid a bivy. When word came that his Subaru was ready for pickup, he wanted to return to the base of the route to retrieve his stashed gear. This would explain his leaving his helmet behind.

To test this hypothesis, and I apologize if something like this has been posted already, all of his recent ascents would need to be revisited. In particular, the base of snow/ice routes where he might have stashed his gear.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 5, 2013 - 09:41am PT
I've been re-thinking the possibility that Matt headed for the Tioga Pass area.
Unfortunately the ONLY connections between YARTS and the Yosemite Tioga Road shuttle bus are at Tuolumne Meadows store and lodge and these are the only YARTS' stops west of the Mobile station on 395.

Public transit doesn't get Matt within reasonable walking distance of any Yosemite summer snow/ice climbs which are all in the Tioga Pass area.

Rant:
What ARE YARTS (private bus) and Yosemite thinking to not have any stops at Tioga Pass?
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 5, 2013 - 09:50am PT
WBraun -- the family has Matt's cell phone records -- he received no calls on the morning of July 17th, but when he turned on the phone at 2:53am (which apparently was very uncharacteristic of him) he received a text from the night before from someone in Pennsylvania.

It's possible that he was checking his phone for the absence of a call -- that he had an early-morning ride lined up and that things were left that his ride would call him during the night if there was a problem.

It's also conceivable, though much less likely, that the driver was going to call him to confirm the ride and that -- not having received a confirmation -- he got ready and started walking...

Finally, of course Matt's turning on his phone at that hour could have had nothing to do with a ride -- he could even have gone back to sleep when he turned it off.

What I don't think the family has been able to gain access to yet is Matt's email accounts.

Stimbo -- interesting, but I think unlikely. For one thing, even if Matt had stashed his snow-related equipment temporarily, why wouldn't he have picked it up on the way back to town? Also, he had been in the area since June 28th and had had days on rock and days on snow, so he probably had an good idea of what areas had snow or not. For future reference, here's a timeline of his climbs, assembled by SplitPants:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2195321&msg=2213723#msg2213723





SplitPants

Social climber
LA
Sep 5, 2013 - 10:06am PT
he received no calls on the morning of July 17th, but when he turned on the phone at 2:53am (which apparently was very uncharacteristic of him) he received a text from the night before from someone in Pennsylvania.

It's possible that he was checking his phone for the absence of a call -- that he had an early-morning ride lined up and that things were left that his ride would call him during the night if there was a problem.

(Of course it's also conceivable, though much less likely, that the driver was going to call him to confirm the ride and that -- not having received a confirmation -- he got ready and started walking somewhere...)
-------

The 2:53 AM text message has been mentioned a lot. So I will add some of my thoughts to this:
-If someone sends a text message to a person and their cell phone happens to be turned off then the text message goes into what I call limbo/pending status.
-When the intended recipient turns their cell phone on, the system then recognizes the pending text recipient's cell phone is on and sends along the text message. So in summary I could send my husband a text message at 10am, his phone is turned off, he turns on the phone at 1pm and the text message appears. Records will show text message received at 1:00.
-So the person from PA could have sent the text much earlier in the evening when Matt's phone was off after 8pm.
-I looked at all of Matt's pictures multiple times and I did not see him wearing a watch. I don't wear a watch and use my cell phone to tell the time.
-The campground was noisy (I believe Matt complained about this)
-Late night noise woke Matt up, he rolled over to power on his phone to see what time it was
-Text message shows up (the text that could have been sent hours earlier-after Matt had shut his phone off to go to sleep) and now shows as a text received at 2:53)

In looking back at Matt's climbs and the timing of previous calls/messages I am not seeing where Matt got up super early. He had been in town since the 28th of June and to the best of my understanding he was a heavy user of the public transportation options available (perhaps Jill can chime in).

Then again, he could have had a pre-planned ride, hitch hiked etc....

I am just looking at the most simple explanation based on his previous days, noisy campground and no watch (at least not that I am aware of).



HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 5, 2013 - 10:25am PT
Split
Your explanation of the text message at 2:53 is cogent.
It gives us the last data point for Matt: awake and within reach of the cell tower.
(not necessarily in his tent at Shady Rest)
I don't believe we can extrapolate beyond that.
It does eliminate the possibility of his presence outside the immediate Mammoth area at that time. This exclusion is very important.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 5, 2013 - 10:42am PT
Split is 100% correct...

 the thing about the phone that makes me Nuts...I have looked at Matts Cell phone bill for the prior 2 months...NEVER, NOT ONCE was his phone on this early. Remember he was there for a month, he arranged rides, called people, got up in the middle of the night to pee pee, did everything he normally does....

People have suggested he got up to use it as an alarm clock, go to the restroom, maybe needed a light, or do whatever.... (NO!!! The phone being on at 2.53am PT is the biggest, most obvious, undisputable Red Flag we have).


His phone bill is clockwork....Everyday the Phone comes on around 6am and goes off everyday around 9pm..FOR 2 MONTHS, CLOCKWORK!, NOT A SINGLE EXCEPTION...

WHY ON THE DAY HE GOES MISSING DOES IT BREAK THE PATTERN? Everyone says to look for things "out of the ordinary" in SAR, look for what does not belong, etc...

The phone being on at 2.53am PT is the biggest, most obvious, undisputable Giant Red Flag slapping us in the face we have.

It can only mean 3 things:

1. He was in trouble and tried to call for help.
2. He was expecting a pre-arranged ride from somone he did not know
(expecting they would call him for example, if they did not see him at
the discussed meeting spot)
3. Someone else had it and turned it on.

If we ever figure out why his phone came on, we will have all the answers.

~Ron
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Sep 5, 2013 - 10:46am PT
His phone bill is clockwork....Everyday the Phone comes on around 6am and goes off everyday around 9pm

Can you tell when the phone goes off/on from the bill?
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 5, 2013 - 10:47am PT
SplitPants and HighTraverse,

Excellent points. I do find it a bit odd that (based on his cell phone records) Matt turned on his cell phone at such an early hour only on the 17th, not on any other day that he was in Mammoth Lakes. That might imply that it had something to do with what he was doing rather than just because he was awakened by noise. (And this was mid-week -- aren't campgrounds usually rowdier on weekends??) But as HighTraverse points out, we just don't know.

I do notice that Matt's phone was on at 5am on July 15th, when the timeline says he might have taken YARTS to Tuolomne (but that was unconfirmed). But 5am and 2:53am are rather different, in my opinion.

I hope that Matt's family can gain access to his email accounts soon, and also that Detective Hornbeck (or someone) can also quickly interview the people who came forward to say that they had had contact with Matt in the days before he went missing.

ETA: Ron, we were posting at the same time... I agree it's weird though maybe he could've had a special concern about the time if he'd lined up an early ride with someone he didn't know...





tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:00am PT
@ Dave, yes we can tell when it goes off as Split describes the timestamps

EDIT: I should say goes off between 9 and 10 +/- at the latest. Comes on at 5am +/- at the earliest over the course of the time.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:19am PT
So...If he was expecting a pre-arranged ride from somone he did not know.....

possible but again....he did this before and did not turn his phone on this early..it still breaks the pattern.

I am leaning to #1 - he was in trouble and tried to call for help...

put yourself there...Its 3am, its mid-week (quite), the people to the left and right of you are gone. No one is nearby. Someone attacks him, grabs his body and gear, tring to dispose of the evidence or make it look like a hiking accident or grabing the easist thing of value.



KellyDoesntClimb

Social climber
Dunwoody, GA
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:39am PT
Checking in, my map at maps.google.com is now empty but has a link to one that is better for me to edit. I can't figure out how to edit it while in earth mode, which would make the trails/highlighted areas more accurate, but the fact that it has layers makes it easier to view. You should be able to check or un-check the timeline (green) and see the red (searched) and yellow (not searched).


https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zH95mGu2yK0M.k0POTplcpetE
James Wilcox

Boulder climber
The Coast
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:57am PT
regarding an attack in a campground. While anything is possible, in all my time spent in Eastside Sierra campgrounds(considerable) I've never heard of this type of random attack or violence. Arguments and fights have broken out from time to time, but usually among people that know each other, and typically alcohol-infused. But if Matt was attacked at 3:00 am I gotta think someone heard something who was nearby. Noise in a campground that early in the morning is not appreciated and usually gets attention.
Now, if he had been woken up by noisey neighbors, and turned on his phone to check the time, you'd think he would quickly turn it back off. Leaving it on does seem to indicate an objective.
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 12:12pm PT
^^Agreed.

I had two guys attempt to break into my truck at 0420 in January of 2012 while I was sleeping in the back out at the hotsprings just 10 mins south of Mammoth. Yelling some expletives at the top of my lungs was all it took to scare the shet out of them and run away. Thugs just aren't that bold to stick around, especially in a campground with other people around.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 5, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
James Wilcox said:
Now, if he had been woken up by noisey neighbors, and turned on his phone to check the time, you'd think he would quickly turn it back off. Leaving it on does seem to indicate an objective.

James, I don't think we know that Matt left the phone on. (Unless you meant he left it on for it to receive that text, which sometimes takes a minute or so.) In fact, we may have some evidence that his phone was either off or out of range after he received that text at 2:53am. Namely, it says on the timeline that the phone was called three times later that day -- only one time is given, 2:48pm -- but that no longitude/latitude are given for those calls -- the only address given is that of the main cell tower in Mammoth Lakes -- and the police said that was because the phone was off or had no signal.

(Ron, when you said you could see from the phone bill when the phone was turned on or off, did you mean you could actually see that info? I thought you meant that you could infer the approximate times the phone was turned on and off by noting the time-stamps of calls and texts that were sent or received.)

I gather that Matt's campsite was near the edge of the campground -- maybe on purpose, because it would be quieter there? But I think an attack would be noticeable even there. Also, if an attacker's motive was theft, why would they take only one of the ice axes and not the helmet? Though I have no idea why Matt turned on his phone so early, the items that were missing point to a coherent and reasonable objective: a climb involving possible snow.

As SplitPants pointed out, after turning the phone on for whatever reason, Matt might have gone back to sleep. If he did so, and then turned the phone on again briefly when he got up again, I don't think that would be on the bill unless he got calls or texts during that time later in the morning...
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Corret LA - "infer the approximate times the phone was turned on and off by noting the time-stamps of calls and texts that were sent or received"

LA you said "an attack would be noticeable even there" Do you mean someone would hear screams for help etc?

My suspicion IF it was an attack it was not random, but deliberate. Like 99% of all murders. - by someone he knows, with a motive.
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
The phone being on at 2.53am PT is the biggest, most obvious, undisputable Giant Red Flag slapping us in the face we have.

AFAIK there's been no further effort to localize the 0253 text. Somehow, misinformation is out that phone location is only available from calls and not texts. Calls and text use the same wireless "container" and location info is no different in either case. (There may different legal processes involved to obtain the info).

Early on I commented that the Verizon logs show the 0253 text location as north of the cell site atop Mammoth Mountain; the town and campground are east. Maybe I misinterpreted the log. If not, important info is being set aside.(Not trying to be right...but based on the posts that followed, it's been puzzling that it hasn't been pursued any further). Since time and expense are required for a search warrant and for Verizon to retrieve the information, the family ought to use an alternate process such as a court order.

IMO an abduction followed by elaborate evidence-hiding is very unlikely (of course not impossible). Targets of a well-rehearsed crime have an item or knowledge of great value to the attacker(s). If foul play happened in the campground it would be someone looking for booze, drug, or gas money at random, and a scuffle would get lots of attention in the crowded campground. The campground is in ML city limits and the MLPD are actively investigating, I would assume they have ruled out foul play at the campground.

My understanding of SAR is no clue is ever ruled out...but with limited resources, the most likely scenarios require and receive the most attention.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
Tiffany or Ron said:

LA you said "an attack would be noticeable even there" Do you mean someone would hear screams for help etc?


Yes, I mean someone would probably have heard screams for help. And even if they didn't, an attacker would have to have removed the body, which generally leaves evidence (blood, drag marks). But there was no blood found in or on the tent, right? Matt's clothes were still neatly folded, which is unlikely after a fight (unless the attacker folded them, which would have taken time and isn't usually characteristic of an attack).

My suspicion IF it was an attack it was not random, but deliberate. Like 99% of all murders. - by someone he knows, with a motive.

Well, maybe, but did Matt have any enemies? It sure doesn't sound that way.

In the unlikely circumstance that foul play was involved, robbery might have been a motive. But it's unlikely that a robber would know enough to take the big pack, Sportivas, ice axe, and crampons while leaving one ice axe and the helmet (and maybe some other climbing stuff) to make it look like Matt was going for an objective involving snow but not rock climbing. It's unlikely a thief would have left such a coherent collection of items by accident -- only a fellow climber would know to do that. A fellow climber who was a thief wouldn't be able to use the gear because others would recognize it. I guess such a climber/thief could sell it, but what climber would murder someone for a few pieces of gear??

While in general I think foul play is unlikely, I think it might become a bit more likely during a ride with someone Matt didn't know (whether a prearranged ride or someone Matt might have hitched a ride with a little later in the morning). At least then the gear would have been selected by Matt for a reasonable objective. Or Matt could have been hit by a car when walking along a road in the pr-dawn hours. (Onyourleft has checked the most likely road for that, but of course that doesn't rule it out.) But it still seems to me that a climbing accident is more likely.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:40pm PT
Early on I commented that the Verizon logs show the 0253 text location as north of the cell site atop Mammoth Mountain; the town and campground are east.
- Kernish where are you getting these logs. The info I have doesnt show text locations

pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
Ron, Tiffany, etc. Would it be possible to post as an attachment the original or a revision of flyer that is posted in Mammoth Lakes so that readers can forward it on to their friends who may be going to Mammoth Lakes area?

My heart and prayers are with you.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 5, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
Credit: tdg119
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