Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area


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Social climber
Escondido CA
Sep 8, 2013 - 02:44pm PT

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 8, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
Thanks again for everyone's efforts.

I am going to write a formal letter tomorrow requesting search warrants for a few things (Phone, email, etc). I am going to try and even research & draft something to save work for the understaffed PD.

Just an FYI, we Rec'd a statement from Matt's bank that showed his ATM transactions. Not sure which ATM he used in Mammoth Lakes (think the bank could easily answer that; his bank has no branch out there; my mom has access to this account but don't think tracking down video of 2 days prior would do any good). In any case, he withdrew $200 every 6 days like clockwork. His last withdrawal was on the 15th, so at most he'd probably have $150-175 on him; maybe less considering he stayed in town on the 16th.


Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 8, 2013 - 03:42pm PT

I'm really glad you're going to request search warrants! One more thought re the Morales family, which probably has occurred to you already:

Could they have been interviewed by the police already? The police said they interviewed a family that was staying in the sites next to Matt's, who I think left on Monday. I think that at least two Morales brothers and their families were staying at the campground and apparently interacted with Matt, and that some left earlier and others left on Monday. So maybe they were the ones who were interviewed? If so, they may feel that they've said it all and not realize they can help a lot by answering a few more questions.

While I'm sure the police found out useful things from whoever they interviewed, they may have focused on other issues than those that now concern us. Whether members of the Morales family were interviewed before or not, it would be great if they could be interviewed now by someone who was very concerned about finding Matt, a good detective, tactful, good at drawing people out, and familiar with Mammoth Lakes, Secor, and climbs in the area -- sort of like you, Sherlock Holmes, SplitPants, Todd, and HighTraverse or Cragman (or others here) all blended into one.

Perhaps some climbers can assist the detective, or maybe the police can encourage Morales family members to talk with private citizens such as yourself, Jill or John, and some other climbers familiar with the area?

Mountain climber
pac northwest
Sep 8, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
Re: the cell phone, LA Hiker's question and Tioga's explanation of location are both good. It would be good to find out whether the call or text to Matt's phone on the afternoon of the 17th was not received, or if the phone was actually on. (Most likely the first one...if a phone is off, incoming calls are routed to the last known site the phone "handshaked" with.

FYI, cell sites constantly send a list of phones in that site back through the cell network. The data is collected at central locations. When a phone is called, the network knows the cell site and call/text data are routed there.

Tioga's explanation of location is good without getting into irrelevant technical detail. Additionally, phone location can be figured out with only one tower but not too precisely. Bearing from the tower is known to about 20 degrees...distance is vague with only 1 tower. There should be a record of the cell tower and direction to Matt's phone at 0253 on the 17th. Also, the person at the PA climbing gym should have a record of when he sent the text. It should show up on his Verizon bill, or Verizon can retrieve it. Either he sent it at 0553 ET, or it was sent a long time before (then Matt turned on his phone at 0253).

Kenish, yes, I forgot that location can be estimated (roughly) with one tower contact only (using direction, signal strength and round trip time). The thing is that there had been no technical forensic work performed on the account, while precious time had elapsed and the data most likely had been purged. Not only the location could be estimated for 2.53am text--it could be estimated for the very last time the phone handshaked with any local tower, which happens in absence of any calls or texts as well, on ongoing basis (for routing). So, the last handshake could have happened even right before that phone went off/out of range. See detailed list I posted below. However, sometimes such data can be sitting in caches and not invalidated until the phone handshakes in another network area--which never happened. So, there's a small chance this data is still in some routing cache/table/database (while most likely it had been purged due to timeout, unfortunately). The last known phone location info would still be in the location register (or similar record), but I'm guessing it will be in the form of "base station ID" of last known "master" tower, which would be main Mammoth area tower, which doesn't add much info...(however, considering very strong interest NSA has in Location Registers, I would NOT be surprised if the HLR database actually stored full location data of the last update from phone)

This is CDMA network phone registration (his older VZ phone was likely on CDMA?)
The Registration Process
Registration is the process of a mobile associating itself with a particular cell in a particular network. There are nine types of registration.
1. Power on: when a mobile is turned on.
2. Power off: just before a mobile is turned off.
3. Timer-based: after a certain timer expires (ongoing)
4. Distance-based: if the mobile moves to a further cell
5. Zone-based: if a mobile moves in or out of a zone.
6. Ordered: base station requests the registration (incoming packets?)
7. Parameter change: if the mobiles parameters change.
8. Implicit: base station infers the mobiles position
9. Traffic channel (incoming packers?): for registration in active mode
Of these the first five are autonomous type of registration. They are called so,because the base station informs the mobile station at power on, to register if any of the events happen.

The phone registration traffic would include info sufficient to determine location. If only any of this data could be dug out via forensics and somehow not purged, last phone location would be estimated.

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Sep 8, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
I tried to contact Connie/Arnold three times via PM on facebook. I have asked them to call me but have not heard from them. Jill

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 8, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
Regarding law enforcement.....

Mammoth PD has the jurisdiction here, since the last place Matthew was known to have been was within the Town limits.

If he DID go into the Ritter Range, as I believe, he is NOT in Mono County, but in Madera County....subsequently, it is likely Mono County Sheriff will have no input as far as further investigation, and would refer all inquiries back to Chief Watson.

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Sep 8, 2013 - 05:23pm PT
Cragman...The irony...Last i heard the Mono County Sheriff's were patrolling Mammoth Lakes on the night shift because of the austerity measures incurred by the Mammoth bankruptcy...? Whatever..!

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 8, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
RJ...it doesn't matter as far as YOU go.....you're being arrested by whichever agency sees you first, just for being you!

: )

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Sep 8, 2013 - 05:29pm PT
It's a coin toss Cragman...I don't care who throws the cuffs on me as long as i can spend more time in bridgeport with 3 square meals...RJ

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 8, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
It's all based on IQ, RJ....so you're going to the Juvenile Detention Facility.....

....but I digress....

...back on topic...

Sep 8, 2013 - 05:37pm PT
Not sure if this link will work. May have to be copied and pasted into browser. It's a .pdf document.


Interesting stuff about "jurisdiction" in state of California. According to this document, jurisdiction would be assigned both to police/sheriff at Matt's last known location and also to the police/sheriff of Matt's residential address. Possible you can get some help with the warrants, etc through Bethlehem, PA.

Social climber
Lehigh Valley, PA
Sep 8, 2013 - 05:59pm PT
I just went on FB and was able to see every one of the original posts from Arnold and Connie. They have not been deleted. As I mentioned earlier, they are ordered in a screwy way. The posts appear to be out of date order, even if you sort by "recent activity" rather than "top comments." I can't figure it out. So it's hard to follow, but all the posts appear to be there. Here is just one example from Connie that I cut and pasted just now:

Connie Silva Yes Sunday before he disappeared he talked to my son Arnold and showed him in the book where he planned on going . He was waiting for his car to b fixed he said they were giving him the run around
Like Reply 4 August 26 at 10:12am via mobile

LAHiker, you asked which thread: It is the one from August 24, where Matt is pictured wearing the white dress shirt, diamond-pattern tie, and glasses.

Supermama, I agree the police (and/or immediate family) should be handling contact with the witnesses, which is why I forwarded all the info I noticed on FB to Chief Watson back around Aug. 27 at the request of another forum member. He had said he was going to forward it to Detective Hornbeck.

I think SplitPants said recently that she asked Det. Hornbeck about the status of reaching Connie and Arnold, and he was going to get back to her. I think her guess was that he wanted to cross-check his notes to see if they were among the people he had already questioned from the campground. Split, did he ever get back to you on this?


Social climber
Sep 8, 2013 - 06:40pm PT
Thanks Outdoorgirl...

With it being an ongoing investigation I'm not sure what we are aloud to do or not, so I was just erring on the side of caution. That had been suggested early on in the thread. It is very frustrating to not be able to jump in and help. When I referred to the deleted messages, I meant on Connie's wall. When you go to her wall, they are not there, yet you can see some of the messages Arnold sent on his wall. It could just be a setting. I'm not sure.

The main thing we have to focus on is getting the police to investigate. One of the brothers could have been Carmelo Morales. He is on her friends list on Facebook. Another Morales on Carmelo's friends list is Anthony Morales. They are all friends with Connie and Arnold and all live in Bakersfield, Ca. Definitely worth looking into. Here is Arnold Morale's link to a picture of his camper:


Someone in the area may remember them if they see a picture of the camper. They had just purchased it this past winter, according to Arnold's info on Facebook.

CyDuke...thanks for the info. Ron and Tiffany should look into this and see if Bethlehem can help. It can't hurt. They have a much larger police force.



Social climber
Lehigh Valley, PA
Sep 8, 2013 - 06:53pm PT
Supermama, not sure what you mean about the wall on facebook...do you mean timeline? I post comments all the time on people's threads, and they do not appear on my own timeline as far as I know.

Good work on uncovering the names on the other potential Morales family members via the friends' lists.

And yes, so important to get the police investigating the Silva/Morales family if they haven't already. Time is wasting...


Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 8, 2013 - 07:32pm PT
Dan Watson

Mammoth Lakes, CA
Sep 8, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
This is the first time I've been on in a few days and I will be leaving town tomorrow afternoon for a week. Will someone please PM me with a summary of what is being asked about Morales/Silva so I don't have to filter through all the comments to get the history. I'll see about getting that started before I leave.

As for jurisdiction, what Cragman says is correct. This is technically a MLPD missing because that's the last place he was known to be. He's also correct that the areas identified are in Madera County. Mono County Sheriff's Office overseas the Mono County SAR.

The Sheriffs are not patrolling Mammoth Lakes. The reality is both agencies are short staffed. We only operate 20 hours a day and the Sheriff's Office is dark 6 hours a day. We work cooperatively, but they are not going to take over our investigation. We have followed up on reasonable leads and requests, including interviewing people in the campground, at the auto repair shop, Rite-Aid, Verizon, the found glasses, and others. When I have a summary of what is believed can be learned from Morales/Silva, we'll determine if that's possible.

I know this is frustrating for all. There have been many theories posted on here including recommendations to bring in psychics, analyze dreams, and theories of where he went from well meaning people. We can't search, but will continue to do what we can for appropriate requests.

Boulder climber
Sep 8, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
@ tradmanclimbs - That is so rad.

Sep 8, 2013 - 08:07pm PT


Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 8, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Chief Watson,

Thanks for your explanation. I assume that someone in the family or in the core group here will get you that summary of what can be learned from the Silva/Morales family so you can evaluate it tomorrow and act on it if that's what you decide.


Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Sep 8, 2013 - 09:50pm PT
This is CDMA network phone registration (his older VZ phone was likely on CDMA?)

@Tioga- Verizon is totally CDMA, and their coverage in the Mammoth area is excellent. There would no reason for Matt to roam on a GSM network. As you point out his phone is older so it wouldn't have GSM capability anyway. (FYI for others, there are 2 incompatible cell phone communication standards in the US. CDMA is older, while GSM is newer and in wider use internationally. Verizon is CDMA; AT&T is GSM. Generally, if a phone has a SIM card it's GSM). Also, if Matt's phone was made in 2000 or later it will have location features for e911.

A cell site has 9-12 antennas arranged in a triangle. Each antenna covers a narrow "sector", like panels in an umbrella. There is a record of which antenna(s) received the signal- the phone's bearing from the cell site can be reckoned from the info.

I believe MLPD provided all the phone "breadcrumbs" they could without a search warrant. A paralegal friend (assistant to a PI) recommended the family obtain a court order to force VZW to investigate and disclose more detailed logs, and I forwarded her suggestion last week. Was a court order pursued, or was it deemed too costly or not relevant?

Frustrating as it is, the recommendations to assist and work with MLPD, and not "freelance" are wise. Don't track down and communicate directly with others without MLPD or family consent. People have their reasons to not come forward (that's why anonymous tip lines exist). Questions posed or worded incorrectly can guide people to provide misleading or incorrect info. Worst-case, unofficial contact could interfere with criminal investigations and trials (of course we hope that doesn't come into play). The family and MLPD should decide how to proceed before we post names, dissect their family tree, (admittedly on public webpages) or worse yet, directly contact potential witnesses. My $.02 worth.

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