Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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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.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
@ Jeg - that is weird about the dream with the blue diamond. I had a dream 3 weeks ago where Matt was holding a blue diamond shaped crystal. I told Tiffany about at the time but just chalked it up to nonsense ~ Ron
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
Do you have the location of Blue Couloir? At least descriptively?
SplitPants

Social climber
LA
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
Mguzzy you are correct.

1. Application for Search Warrant (approved by local judge or magistrate)
2. This document in general contains:
-Property/Evidence to be Seized (in this case it would read something like "Detailed records of both incoming and outgoing calls and text messages for phone number XXX-XXX-XXXX for time period XX/XX/XXXX to XX/XX/XXXX")
-Premises, Person, Vehicle, or other item(s) to be searched (in this case it would read something like "a complete database search or all records in the custody and/or control of Verizon for the above listed accounts")
-Probable Cause Affidavit this section contains a narrative of the event(s)/circumstance(s) that justifies the issuing of the warrant. This is generally a sworn statement of the investigating officer/applicant and is counter signed when authorized by the court/judge. Basically it contains the legal grounds for issuance of the warrant.

In general there is a statement to the party of which the warrant is issued that gives them a directive that they are to execute the search warrant within a specified period of time (typically 48 hours).

Does anyone know if formal search warrants were issued for phone, e-mail, banking, credit card(s), video footage from Rite Aid and/or campground records?

Also has anyone checked Bishop Gear Exchange to see if any of Matts gear is there (long shot, but they have a lot of used gear on consignment there).

Sending prayers to family and friends........
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Blue couliar is located on the south -east end of the mammoth creast . easily viewed from the lakes basin. out of cold water trail head take the trail to emeral lake up towards Hamil . Blue crag is the prominate feature you see on the crest looking SE. from Mammoth Mt. If Mattew was a solid ice climber blue couliar probably would not hold any interest to him, it's just the closest ice to town that I can think of, Bloody is bone dry, after a couple of poor winters only the most north facing are holding snow /ice. Sorry I don't have any photos on my computer. Cheers
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
Thanks 'Pants for the clarification.. My paralegal wife would have dug it up as well. Do you know what jurisdiction this would need to be filed in? The location of the search or the home of the corporation?

SplitPants-Also has anyone checked Bishop Gear Exchange to see if any of Matts gear is there (long shot, but they have a lot of used gear on consignment there).
yeah seems odd that there are distinct and significant climbing gear of his is missing. No mention that any rack items were taken or if items from his climbing rack was accounted for. I'll have to reread that part of the thread where that hypothesis was being formulated. does anybody know?
SplitPants

Social climber
LA
Aug 23, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
MGuzzy
Mammoth Lakes falls within Mono County. I would think the family knows if MLPD went through a formal search warrant process. If MLPD did I would think under FOIA they could obtain copies, though it varies for active investigations.

One of the problems we encountered in the past is that missing adult cases without firm probable cause can be a problem in obtaining search warrants. I am no lawyer, just speaking from what we went through (I ended up finding the probable cause that enabled issuing the search warrants). In Matts case I would think that the abandoned car and campsite along with length of time would be sufficient, though recommend asking the detective. I can say that unfortunately due to drastic town budget cuts the MLPD was hit hard (they are down to 9 paid officers). There has been a lot of "activity" in the town lately and honestly I think the department is stretched very thin (heard from a friend that most officers end up having to work most all of their days off).

I am curious about forensics on the computer at the library, IP address(s) from e-mails, video from Rite Aid and REALLY curious as to the guest registrations at the campground.

I have had nothing but good dealings with the staff at the Gear Exchange (fyi it is the same company as Mammoth Mountaineering in town). If anyone has pictures or solid descriptions of missing/unaccounted for gear I recommend contacting them directly. I would be happy to (have time on my hands), but I am lacking information. I recommend someone call them just to mark it off a list of places/things checked (process of elimination). They are very helpful, especially at the Bishop Gear Exchange. [Edit] Also if any of Matts gear is found there the store keeps contact information such as phone number and name for each person that has consigned gear

If taking all of the information from these posts and putting it together in a detailed timeline document would help anyone let me know and I would be happy to do this (it is the least I can do to help).



LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Aug 23, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
Regarding the missing gear, people here have argued convincingly that it points to the Ritter Range or some other place with snow/ice as a destination and that unfortunately Matt could easily have ran into trouble there. It’s wonderful that Cragman, Martyj, and their colleagues have been searching these very dangerous places.

But even if one of those places was his intended destination, we don’t whether he might not have met with trouble before he got to the trailhead, or even before leaving town. We don’t know his mode of transportation (walking? hitching? shuttle?) and whether something might have happened en route.

It would be weird if psychics and dreams play a role in finding Matt, but stranger things have happened. I do hope that places near town that are similar to those the psychic described can be searched, even if it seems as if Matt could not have been overlooked if he’d had an accident in such a place. Are any of the ravines with water or other places similar to the ones she thought of on the way to one of the possible big hikes that Matt might have been going on??

Regarding people’s dreams about blue diamonds/crystals, could it be relevant that ski trials in the area (including one to the Earthquake Fault that people mentioned) are marked with blue diamonds? (There's also Crystal Lake and Crag...)
http://www.cityconcierge.com/mammoth-lakes/winter/blue-diamond-trail

To Matt’s family and friends, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. To those who are trying to solve this and especially those who are putting your lives on the line searching, you have my appreciation and admiration.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 23, 2013 - 03:15pm PT
We're all starting to hypothesize so I'll add another unlikely scenario.
Someone (a climber) might have only wanted his lovely big pack, crampons and new boots and nothing else. Is his ice axe also missing?

There's a major (and likely) assumption that Matt took this gear with him. The negative is also a (unlikely) possibility.

My best hunch is Matt went out in the Minarets/Ritter/Banner area with an ice-climbing objective and meant to be back the same day.
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