For many people, the wilderness represents paradise since it provides an opportunity to get away from the rigors of everyday life and experience nature. This is why millions of people take trips into the wilderness every year in order to participate in activities such as hiking, hunting, and camping.
However, the wilderness can also be a very creepy and ominous place. If something goes horribly wrong, you are a long way from civilization and it may be impossible to seek help. It’s very easy for a person to disappear into the wilderness and never be seen again. In most cases, the likely explanation is that they simply got lost and succumbed to the elements, but some trips into the wilderness are shrouded in mystery.
The Disappearance Of Keith Reinhard
In 1988, 49-year-old Keith Reinhard was a sportswriter for the Daily Herald in Chicago, but he decided to take a leave absence for a unique outing. He moved to Silver Plume, Colorado, a small mining village near the Rocky Mountains. Reinhard became fascinated by the story of Tom Young, a Silver Plume resident who disappeared under mysterious circumstances the year before. On September 7, 1987, Young closed up his bookstore and walked into the mountains with his dog but never returned. Reinhard decided to open an antique shop in the former location of Young’s bookstore and started working on a novel based on Young’s disappearance. In an eerie coincidence, Keith Reinhard soon became the center of his own unsolved mystery.
On July 31, the remains of Tom Young and his dog were found in the mountains. They were both shot in the head and, since a revolver was found at the scene, investigators ruled that Young likely shot his dog before committing suicide. One week later, Reinhard closed up his shop and told people he was planning to climb the summit of Pendleton Mountain. After leaving the village, he was never seen again.
The circumstances of Reinhard’s disappearance were strange since it was a six-hour hike to Pendleton Mountain and he did not leave until 4:30 PM. At the time, Reinhard was not carrying any equipment and was not dressed appropriately for a mountain climb. A search of the area turned up no trace of him and, tragically, one of the searchers was killed after crashing his plane. There was some speculation that Reinhard staged his own disappearance. Others believed that both Reinhard and Young were victims of foul play and that their cases were somehow connected. Whatever the truth, Keith Reinhard’s disappearance remains a mystery.
The Cline Falls State Park Axeman
In 1977, Terri Jentz and Avra Goldman, a pair of undergraduates from Yale, decided to spend the summer going on a cross-country bicycling trip. On July 22, they stopped at Cline Falls State Park in a remote area of Oregon to camp for the night. However, both women were suddenly awakened by a pickup truck which came barreling into the campsite and crashed into their tent. The two women initially assumed this was an accident, but they were shocked to see a man in a cowboy hat emerge from the truck with an axe. He used his weapon to attack Jentz and Goldman before climbing back into his truck and driving away.
Both women were seriously wounded but still alive. Jentz managed to stumble to a nearby road and flag down a passing car for help. After a teenage couple stopped and went to the campsite, they saw the lights of another vehicle approaching them. It came to a brief stop before turning around and driving away. They suspected the pickup truck driver had returned to finish the job, but he fled the scene after seeing other people there. Jentz and Goldman were both taken to a hospital and wound up surviving the horrific attack. The investigation eventually uncovered a suspect named Dick Damm who was a known violent offender in the community.
In 1995, while being detained for another crime, Damm was questioned about the Cline Falls State Park attack and given two polygraph tests. He showed signs of deception, but the results were inconclusive since he had illegal drugs in his system and there was no evidence to link him to the crime. Even if the axeman is identified some day, he cannot be prosecuted since Oregon’s statute of limitations for unsuccessful murder attempts has since run out.