Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
The only strange thing here is the host did not report Matt missing when he never returned, even though he paid for that night in advance. He just threw his tent into storage when Matt never came back and went on like nothing happened, never called the police. Nothing, the police actually had to call him a week or so later.

tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
Exactly Crank, that has not made sense to us either.
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
tdg119, in answer to your question, closest is Blue couliar probally under 10 mi from shady and a relatively easy approach.
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
HighTraverse-
Do we know which cell tower his 2:53 AM ping was from?

The cell information should include the strength of the signal, duration of the signal, the nature of the communication (text,data,phone) and the general direction the signal came from. It would be nice to see that information.

tdg119-
He just threw his tent into storage when Matt never came back and went on like nothing happened, never called the police.

So its possible the equipment could have be stolen from storage if it sat there for a week? Or could have been misplaced and still be in storage. I wonder what the procedure is if someone leaves their stuff in storage and its never claimed. Does it eventually find its way to a govt auction and just get auctioned off? knowing that someone could have lifted those items. Once my girl friend (now wife) left her day pack in a parking lot in Yosemite.. I filed a missing items report and it eventually found its way to lost and found and got shipped back to me with camera and climbing shoes intact. Just wondering about that process with Matt's stuff. has someone familiar with Matt's belongings (instead of a Sheriff/LEO who may not recognize it as being his if its not labeled) looked in the storage area or requested those items that are missing.
cyberdee

Trad climber
Lynwood, CA
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Just a thought...Could he have taken the Gondola up to the top to sight see and play on some snow and ice? This type of outing would not "require" all the usual gear one would take on a solo all day hike. If he did go up the mountain, would he think it would be not much of a challenge to hike back to the camp ground from there? The cell phone ping at 2:53, from the top tower,??????

Maybe somebody could look at the video records from the gondola security cameras. If he did go up there that would give you a little more targeted search area.
SplitPants

Social climber
LA
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
I confess that I have been "lurking" for the past couple of weeks reading the posts on this forum and on the facebook page. This story makes me very very sad. Matt's family, friends and students love and miss him a lot!
I also want to say that I am impressed with the local community and everyone that is trying to help (especially Cragman, just WOW!). Me and my husband call Mammoth and June our second home. No place like it on earth and full of such wonderful people:)

I joined the forum this morning and decided to post because I want to communicate a couple of things and there is something bugging me really bad. First, we just got back from spending a few days in Mammoth and June. We saw Matt's Missing flyers at every single place in town and a few places in Bishop. Everyone knows!

Without going into too much detail (it pains me to talk much about it) a few years ago I had a roomate that went missing. Long story short it is VERY difficult when an adult goes missing and there are little clues. It makes the job much more difficult for law enforcement. In the case I was involved in we (family and friends) ended up having to do a lot of the "footwork/research." The outcome of what happened was horrific and the case is not over. It resulted in an arrest and a pending death penalty trial:(

So you ask how does this relate to Matt's missing case? One of the things that I experienced in my situation was STRONG instincts (no I am not a psychic). I have read through the posts more than once and maybe I have missed some facts, but something is really bugging me. Here is a list of my comments & questions (please accept my apologies if I have missed the answers within previous posts):

1. The last phone registration at 2:53 am on 7/16.
2. In reading the posts this seems to be out of character for Matt?
3. I know from experience that usually when law enforcement cell records are obtained under warrants they can have fairly detailed information. From my personal experience I learned that the records can tell a) what tower was pinged b) triangulation c) length of time (in our case they were able to tell us that the phone registered for 17 seconds and was then shut off) d) phone and text messages. The only information I am seeing posted is the date/time and tower. Is that all of the information that is available? When was Matts phone turned on? When was the phone turned off? Can the police help more accurately pinpoint that last location point of phone registration (this would be when the phone was turned on at 2:53 am)?

4. Does anyone know what Matt purchased from Rite Aid?
5. Did anyone look at the security cameras at Rite Aid to see what clothes Matt was wearing?
6. What about computer usage at the library? There are forensic tools that can examine a computer even if the browser search history has been deleted.
7. Has anyone examied the last email and/or forum posts to obtain the IP address(s)?
8. Has anyone checked with the coffee shop called Looney Bean that is next to Rite Aid? I belive they have a computer there that is used by customers (fyi there is a laundry place next door to the coffee shop as well).

And lastly did the police department obtain a complete listing of other camping customers that were staying at the Shady Rest Campground at the same time as Matt? Were any of these customers interviewed? Were any backgrounds of the campers checked?

Has there been any search in places close to town? Perhaps a local search effort planned to start from Shady Rest? If not this might be a good idea to do in addition to Cragmans effort.

In the case I was involved in it all came down to the last phone registration and e-mail.

My heart and prayers go out to Matt's family, friends and the locals putting their personal safety on the line in their search for Matt.




jeg

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
Hi all,
My name is Jill. My husband John and I were with Matt in Mammoth up until July 7.I know we spoke with Cragman on the phone but here are some answers to some of your other questions.

QITNL...The one ice axe missing is from a set of technical tools. If they were sold or stolen I think this would be done as a set. Matt climbed a total of 3000ft of ice this summer. This is why he had his Nepal Extremes. They were the only boots he had with him for his step in crampons.

Splitter....He just bought those boots this Spring, don't think he would sell them. He doesn't hike/climb with "extra stuff". He would drop it off at his car at the shop up the street if he didn't want to leave it at the camp site.

Crankster...We have been up dating Tiffany with our information and then she would post any useful information. We gave her the list of climbs he climbed in prior days and she posted them for us.

We have been following these threads daily and added and necessary information via Tiffany as needed. His car was in and out of the shop since we met him there on June 28th. He knew driving to mammoth something was wrong with his car and dropped it off at the shop the first day. They tried changing the thermostat twice but when Matt would test drive it, he knew it wasn't fixed. He finally took it in for the 3rd time on July 5 and was told it was the head gasget. He was told they couldn't start working on it until July 9. He would text my husband every few days up until July 13 and would give him an update on his car and what climbs he did. This is how we were able to composite a list of climbs he climbed with my husband and climbs he soloed.

I can't Thank you all enough for trying to find our friend. There are some truly great people out there and Matt is one of those "great people"
Be safe Cragman and Thank You so much.
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
@tdg119 Hey Ron/Tiffany
I sure the Police/Law enforcement got Matt's cell phone records.. and probably did some basic triangulation. Is there any chance you could get that raw data and post the information here. I'm thinking the collective minds of the forum may have some experience in cell phone triangulation combined with others that have an intimate knowledge of the geography of the area.
mattyj

Mountain climber
Truckee
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
Cragman, thanks for going back out. I'm probably reading too much into it, but given the boots Matt had with him I kept feeling like that glacier was an obvious spot. Wanted to go search it on our day out but there just wasn't enough time. I'm not familiar with the Minarets, but the part that gives me doubt is that I haven't been able to find any nontechnical routes that go through the center of the glacier.

his calls at 8:12 and 3:09 on the 16th were from town (according to the ping off the tower) and the 4:30-4:35 calls to/from the garage were pinging from on top of mammoth or north of there. Which makes no sense. Why would he be in town all day and then go up to mountain.

Keep in mind that cell phone pings are notoriously unreliable, and past location data gleaned from tower logs probably even more so. It would hardly be unprecedented for the cell company to place him near the summit when he was actually in civilization - say, at the base of the gondola.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:46pm PT
The MLPD told us they only requested cell tower pings for calls not text messages.

The last ping they said was a call at 4.30pm PT on July 16th received off the Mammoth Mt. Cell Tower. Direction was pointing North West. Not really too relevant because we know he was back at shady rest at 8pm. We also know this was the call to the repair shop when they told him his car would be ready on the 18th.

The MLPD said they did not request text pings, we asked them to get these ASAP! No word yet, that was 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, the MLPD has not been very responsive.

We really really really need the ping location of the 2.53am text on the morning of July 17th. The PD is not providing this to us. We called Verizon; they will not give it to us.

I will post the phone logs.
~Ron
crankster

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
Jill, thanks, that answers a lot of questions. Makes sense to me that he headed out for the day with the gear list described. Cragman is searching the most likely spot - the Ritter/Minaret's area.

Another unfortunate accident shows how easily things can go wrong: http://www.sierrawave.net/26125/man-falls-to-death/


Be careful, Cragman - throw on a helmet!
jeg

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
The 2:53am on the 17th was a text received not a call. Detective stated, Verizon can not ping a text just calls or if your phone is currently on.
Here is the info on the phone call on the 16th. Everything else after that were texts.
8:12 am to 3:06 pm, July 16, 2013 - Lat 37.638167 Lon -118.961611, 1601 Meridian Blvd, Mammoth Lakes, Ca. Directly south of the library. Directly north a mile or two is where Greene was camping.



4:29 pm to 4:35 pm, July 16, 2103 Lat 37.630528 Log -119-033078, 5920 Minaret Rd, Mammoth Lakes, Ca, top of Mammoth Mountain.

MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
tld119-We really really really need the ping location of the 2.53am text on the morning of July 17th. The PD is not providing this to us. We called Verizon; they will not give it to us.

You would probably need a court order to request the logs directly from Verizon. Law enforcement can get them directly, but they have their own bureaucracy. I recalled (but don't quote me) a law was enacted to allow law enforcement to directly request cell phone records due the time sensitive nature of SAR operations. I thought I remembered reading about a kidnapping or something that was hampered because Law Enforcement didn't have immediate access to cell phone records. Someone else may know more about this.

Yes I think this information would give more insight as to Matt's the last known whereabouts.
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
Jeg-The 2:53am on the 17th was a text received not a call. Detective stated, Verizon can not ping a text just calls or if your phone is currently on.
Thanks Jeg
So they can only tell the phone was on when it received the Txt at 2:53am. They can't tell how long it was on for?

Also the text should have had other information. Did they know who it was received from? I doubt they will have the content of the text.
jeg

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Aug 23, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
Mguzzy...My husband was in the storage area to collect all of matt's belongings, so he would of had a good look to make sure nothing was left behind.
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Thanks Jeg.. It was a question that I felt needed an answer
jeg

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Aug 23, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
We can not get any more info. from the detective via verizon about the texts. No ping info for texts and the text was from one of Matt's friends. He no longer has the text and can not remeber what it was about.

East side underground.... Anyone know about Blue Coular? I know it sounds corney but someone had a dream about Matt and "blue diamond"
crankster

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:04pm PT
Blue Couloir is a popular backcountry ski (see pic from web) on the Mammoth Crest. Doesn't seem like a place for an ice climber.

Cragman, any snow/ice in Blue Couloir?

Credit: crankster
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
Blue couliar is where I would go if I wanted to test out ice gear/ boots. Very easy approach, not to far out there and one could round trip from shady without shuttle. decievingly steep and definately will find neve/ice, certianly alot closer than the Ritter range which would be a huge day from shady imo. Just an idea, who knows? Good luck
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:14pm PT
Jeg-We can not get any more info. from the detective via verizon about the texts. No ping info for texts and the text was from one of Matt's friends. He no longer has the text and can not remeber what it was about.

I forgot that I read that earlier in the thread... I spoke with my wife who is in the legal profession and she agrees, to get the records directly from Verizon will likely require a subpoena/court order showing just reason for the records. Your best bet in the short term is to work with the local authorities since they already have them.

Do you know what kind of phone he had? Knowing the specs and capabilities of the phone may provide some light on how well it can be triangulated. I'll see if I can dig up the cell phone tower locations in the Mammoth Lakes area and put that on a topo. Mountainous terrain does odd things to cell phone signals reducing ones ability to triangulate with certainty.

I've been trying to piece together a timeline and map of Matt's last known whereabouts. I'm sure law enforcement has already done this. It might be useful to have here as well. Here's the first volley:

16Jul2013
8:12a-3:09p -in town south of library - Lat 37.638167 Lon -118.961611, 1601 Meridian Blvd, Mammoth Lakes, Ca.

4:30-4:35pm -calls to garage from top of Mammoth Mtn -Lat 37.630528 Log -119-033078, 5920 Minaret Rd, Mammoth Lakes, Ca,

17Jul2013
2:53a -text received from friend -no location information
When were the other texts sent/received? When were the purchases made and where? If anyone else has information we can add to the timeline, please do.
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