PDA

View Full Version : TN TN - Dennis Martin, 6, Great Smoky Mountains Nat. Park, 14 June 1969



lostwithoutyou
06-14-2007, 01:09 PM
Dennis Lloyd Martin
Photo of Dennis:

http://www.charleyproject.org/images/m/martin_dennis.jpg

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: June 14, 1969 from The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: June 20, 1962
Age: 6 years old
Height and Weight: 4'0, 55 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Dark brown hair, brown eyes. Martin's hair is wavy and he has long, thick eyelashes. He was missing one of his upper front teeth at the time he disappeared. Clothing/Jewelry Description: A red t-shirt, dark green hiking shorts, white socks and black low-cut oxford shoes with a simple heel.
Medical Conditions: At the time of his disappearance, Martin's mental age was about half a year behind his chronological age.


Details of Disappearance
Martin was visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with his father, his grandfather, his older brother and two cousins on June 14, 1969. The family lived in Knoxville, Tennessee at the time. Martin was last seen between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. that day as he played a game of "Hide and Seek" in Spence Field in the park, near the Appalachian Trail. He disappeared behind a bush in the area and has never been seen again. An extensive search of the area did not locate any evidence as to his whereabouts. Martin was a special education student at the time of his disappearance. His case remains unsolved.


Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Tennessee Bureau Of Investigation
615-744-4000

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/martin_dennis.html

lostwithoutyou
06-14-2007, 01:11 PM
Forum about the Great Smoky Mountain three:

http://websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19312&highlight=dennis+martin

lostwithoutyou
06-14-2007, 01:15 PM
Today, June 14, 2007, marks the 38th anniversary of the disappearance of Dennis Martin. Even though this case is cold, it needs to be solved. If you have any information on the disappearance of Dennis Lloyd Martin, please call the Tennessee Bureau Of Investigation at 615-744-4000 or your local police station. Please keep Dennis and his family in your thoughts and prayers. ♥

pdxmama
06-15-2011, 07:04 PM
"There are three main theories as to what happened to Dennis Martin.

The first is that he simply got disoriented and perished in the rugged terrain. The other two are that he was attacked by a hungry bear, or taken by a human predator."

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/jun/28/missing-dennis-martin/

This article is a couple of years old but I hadn't seen it before and it has a lot of additional details plus comments afterward from a lot of locals and family. Yesterday was the 42nd anniversary of Dennis' disappearance.

Satch
06-15-2011, 10:51 PM
Another interesting article on the tragic Dennis Martin case:

http://tnjn.com/2008/dec/10/great-smoky-mountain-disappear/

Satch

Satch
06-16-2011, 02:40 AM
Here is a more detailed story about the case:

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/jun/28/missing-dennis-martin/?print=1

Three things that bother me about the story:

1. The scream the witness heard? WS, do you think it should have been investigated more thoroughly? What does the community think it might have been?

2. The footprint resembling the shoe type that Dennis last wore.

3.) The strange-looking "Moonshiner" man, a few minutes after the scream was heard. Who was he? What was he doing?

I think the investigators SHOULD have gone back following these leads!

Do you think Dennis got lost? Was abducted? was mangled by an animal? or fell and drowned, and why do you support your theory?

Satch

Satch
06-18-2011, 03:24 AM
So far,

I have my predictions at about 40% that Dennis got injured by falling in a pit, or drowning in a river. (The footprints that resembled the shoes that Dennis was last seen wearing, were said to be near a river.) 30% that he was mauled and killed by an animal, and 30% that he was abducted. I don't think he just got lost. Tragically, I believe something very bad happened to him that day. A question about the river:

Wouldn't LE be forced to drain the river presuming that he did drown to find his body?

The other 30% is an abduction. We have to assume that the location that a 6 1/2 year old boy could travel from time he was seen, to not being seen could not have been too far. We don't know the sounds that were on the mountain during the time that Dennis disappeared. How far away was Dennis from the adults were their voices and his voice would have been heard? Were their rapids that could be heard that could have been strong? So strong in fact that ANY cries of distress or communication could not have been heard?

If anyone is familiar with GSMNP and has studied the maps of were Dennis was last seen, the stories say that the boys "snuck around" to scare the adults? Were any of the families, the Martin's, or the other non-related Martin family, interviewed over the years as to the time-frame between how long the rest of the children were gone and came back?

Dennis took a different root, Alone. Stories are that he was told to take a different route because his bright-red shirt would be easily spotted. Who told him to take this route? How many different routes could Dennis have taken to go "around the adults?" What dangers were in those areas? Had Dennis been to this area with his family before? Did he know camping and hiking skills? I know that times were different back in 1969, but IMHO, NONE of those children should have been wandering around the campsite or any hike trails unsupervised!

Those children seemed MUCH too young to go wandering off without a responsible adult with them. The Dennis Martin case highlights the importance of safety in numbers, To be aware of camping and hiking environments at all times. To teach children and ANYONE who has not gone camping or hiking in a wildlife area that there are important wilderness and safety skills that need to be taught and reinforced so that people need to be safe.

Cases like these show that tragic consequences can happen TO ANYBODY out in a wilderness area within a matter of minutes. Dennis Martin's tragedy teaches us the importance of camping precautions, hiking awareness, and safety.

Satch

Satch
07-04-2011, 09:17 AM
Questions that I have

Why isn't there an age progression picture for Dennis Martin anywhere? Or maybe a better question would be, what would be needed to create an age progression picture?

I wonder if DNA had been used as forensic evidence back in 1969, if investigators could have matched up that child's shoe print found near the river? That's what keeps flashing through my mind, and in hindsight, something tells me that that shoe print, could have been Dennis' footprint.

We still need to find out if any rivers and streams were drained? What, if any underground, tools were used during the investigation? I am leaning more and more toward an accident situation. I think that Dennis, heartbreakingly, fell into an underground pit or cavern, or into the river, or was horrifyingly, mauled and eaten by an animal.

The abduction there has two sub-theories that are almost polarized IMO. The first is, some pedophile out there in the middle of nowhere just decides to grab a child. However, the contrast of that, would be the difficulty in walking through rugged mountain river and rocky terrain carrying a child. I believe that any vehicle transportation would be impossible. The time-frame just seems awfully short, within about three minutes being with family and friends to just vanish and never be found again. That would be a super fast kidnapping.

One can never rule-out what some sicko can or can't do in a case where an abduction may be possible. But I would like to find some way to ask or revisit this investigation with some thoughts to consider:

1.) Write ups of the case said Dennis disappeared behind a bush and was never seen again? Who saw him go behind a bush? What, if anything was in this close vicinity
that could have presented a serious threat to a small child?

2.) Other accounts say that "Dennis took off in another direction, alone" in the game with the other children to sneak up on the parents? As I think I asked above, or someone else may have questioned it, who told him to go in another direction? If that direction was out of sight, how is it known that Dennis disappeared behind a bush?

3.) The lead park investigators believe that Dennis "Got disoriented, and perished in the wild." Why do they hold that theory as top priority compared to an accident (i.e falling or drowning, or animal attack) or an abduction? The family believes he was abducted.

4.) From the campsite, how many distances could Dennis have gone from a starting point? What geographical hazards were in those areas?

5.) How many other people were on the mountain that day? Aside from the Martin Family and their friends and children of the Carter Martin family?

6.) Did Dennis know the dangers of wilderness and mountain terrain? His father's assertion that "Dennis really was not afraid of anything" really is a sad and frightening thought. Dennis could have ran after something anything from a butterfly to an animal cub, and gotten to close to a den, and was attacked. Or just be running along, oblivious to his surrounds, and slipped and fell being critically injured. So sad!

7.) An assessment of the weather and any other people in the area at that time could also provide additional information. I wonder, if a human were to scream for help in a tragic distress situation, how far away could a cry for help be heard? Assume no other people around? Now how much would the ability to hear a cry for help be diminished under normal quiet conversation?

Satch

Satch
07-21-2011, 11:33 PM
Hi Everyone,

This is a text from a PDF file taken from the following Google Search. I typed the following to get it 'Dennis Martin", search.

The first result is the text from that PDF File. It is taken from published information from the US Coast Guard and provides the closest to some main details and highlights of the search and resue efforts that the team did from about the day of Dennis' dissaperence to several weeks later. This seems to have been used as an educational resourse in schools. I have not checked any of the URL's mentioned in the article.

It also discusses some points of why the Martin family believes after reviewing the evidence that Dennis may have been abducted.

It's a long article, (11 Pages.) If you want to see it in it's original format in that first result, you will need Adobe Reader or an eqivlant PDF file reader on your computer. I am going to try to format the article for easy reading:

************************************************

Dennis Martin Case Study

Introduction

Purpose

This lesson is designed to introduce you to the Inland SAR Planning course and to highlight areas in which the course will concentrate.

It is also designed to get you thinking about SAR in your own agency and
location, to help us discover areas in which we might improve.

Caution

The Dennis Martin case was chosen because of its extreme complexity and the variety of examples it provides.

It is often easy to get caught up in the scenario, to finger-point, and to pick at the flaws of other people; but, that is not our purpose.

As You Read

Read as though you are the person in charge on scene. It is NOT intended that you try to pinpoint everything that went “wrong.” Rather, use the events in this case as springboards to discover similarities in your own agency and location.

o
As events unfold and information comes out, ask yourself if your agency
(or other agencies yours works with) ever experiences similar events or
information flows, at similar times, in similar manners/conditions.
o
As you identify “errors,” ask yourself if your agency (or others yours
works with) ever experiences similar problems.
o
Periodically ask yourself, “For the given information or conditions, what
questions should I be asking right now? Of what should I be deeply
concerned?”

Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 1

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

THE DENNIS MARTIN SEARCH
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
JUNE 14 - SEPTEMBER, 1969


DAY 1, SATURDAY, JUNE 14

Dennis Martin, 7 years old, was last seen at 4:30 p.m. in the Spence Field area on the
Appalachian Trail. Initial information:

o
Last seen wearing a red T-shirt, short green trousers, and low cut oxford shoes with a simple heel.
o
He was a quiet boy and would not normally call out, but he would respond to his name being called,
even by strangers.
o
He was in a special education group at school, his mental age was a half year behind his
chronological age.
o
Dennis, his nine-year-old brother, and two other unrelated boys had been playing near the Spence
Field area. This area consists of:
-Two shelters.
-The Appalachian Trail runs east and west through Spence Field.
-Two trails and one jeep road lead from Spence Field to other destinations.


o
His father later stated he began calling and looking for Dennis 3-5 minutes after he last saw him.
o
Some of the trails were quickly checked out by the father and grandfather.
o
The grandfather hiked out to report Dennis missing, arriving at the Cades Cove Ranger Station
about 8:30 p.m.
Initial search actions after Dennis was officially reported missing:

o
Family members and one other hiking group in the Spence Field area continued to search.
o
Three rangers from Cades Cove checked the area, the trails from Cades Cove to Spence Field,
and interrogated any hikers they found in the area.
o
ALL RESULTS WERE NEGATIVE, NO CLUES FOUND
o
A heavy rainstorm ( 2.5-inches) occurred at Spence Field at dark. All streams became high and
turbulent.
o
The three rangers and family members continued to search the immediate area the rest of the night.
o
Chief Ranger notified at 8:40 p.m.
o
The Park had no detailed search and rescue plan in existence.
Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 2

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

Plans for the next day’s search effort:

o
Base Camp at Spence Field.
o
Resources:
-1 crew, 30 men with 5 leaders.
-10 crews, 2-4 men each, and 10 leaders.
-A helicopter will be obtained if weather permits.
-Additional National Park Service personnel (NPS), local rescue squads, and a hiking club
were contacted to provide manpower. They were asked to be at the Bote Mountain Road at

5:00 a.m.
DAY 2, SUNDAY, JUNE 15

o
Weather is moderate.
o
Nine jeeps and three trucks are used to transport searchers from the Bote Mountain Road to
Spence Field, 7 miles away.
o
Searches of these trails continued, and initial searches of drainages began as more search personnel
arrived.
o
All hikers and campers spotted in the area were interrogated.
o
A large helicopter was acquired and was used to haul equipment for the base camp at Spence
Field.
o
Total number of search personnel on day 2 was 240.
o
Poor coordination and inadequate food and water for the personnel involved.
DAY 3, MONDAY, JUNE 16

o
The trail and drainage searches continued.
o
Many areas searched again, especially the immediate drainages in the Spence Field area.
o
An intensive grid search of Spence Field was conducted.
o
A heliport was established at Cades Cove, and several military helicopters arrive.
o
The news media arrives in force.
o
40 Special Forces troops, self-contained with communications, are requested.
o
Hundreds of offers to help search were received from individuals and groups.
o
Two bloodhounds arrive and are used during the day.
o
Some overhead team coordinator positions were designated.
o
The Red Cross establishes a food service operation for searchers at Cades Cove.
o
The total number of people involved on day 3 was 300, including personnel from the Park, the local
rescue squad, the Air National Guard, and other volunteers.
Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 3

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

DAY 4, TUESDAY, JUNE 17

o
Rain continued in the area.
o
Trail searches were extended, and field drainages were searched/re-searched again.
o
Another heliport was established at Russell Field.
o
The intensive grid search around Spence Field was expanded by adding 50 student searchers from
a junior college.
o
Additional NPS teams were alerted.
o
50 Tennessee Air National Guard personnel with two HH-52 helicopters arrive, and join the search
effort.
o
The north shore of Fontana Lake is patrolled and searched by boat.
o
Another heliport was established at Cades Cove.
o
The helicopters were unable to fly until 11:00 a.m. due to fog.
o
Meals for searchers began to be served at a Job Corps Center.
o
The total number of searchers on day 4 was 365, including 149 people from 20 different county
rescue squads, 40 special forces military personnel, 50 junior college students, 75 NPS personnel,
and 51 assorted volunteers.
DAY 5, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18

o
It rained during the previous night, and there is a 4,000 foot ceiling.
o
Four helicopters are in the area, but are unable to fly due to weather.
o
The grid search of Spence Field continued with 97 searchers.
o
A fixed wing aircraft with a loud speaker system was requested. Upon landing at Cades Cove, the
rear landing gear hit a rock and was knocked through the rear stabilizer, rendering the aircraft
unusable. After repairs, it returned to its base.
o
Small groups of searchers camped in various areas overnight (Tuesday), building large bonfires in
hopes of attracting the boy.
o
Large numbers of predictions by clairvoyants begin.
o
An over-abundance of unsolicited food began to arrive, including a semi-truck/trailer of lettuce.
o
22 more Special Forces personnel arrive.
o
An operations center for search activities is set-up at the Cades Cove maintenance building.
o
The special forces establish a communications unit.
o
The total number of searchers on day 5 was 615.
Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 4

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

Notes from the First Strategy Meeting, Wed, June 18, 1969, 9:00 p.m. Park Headquarters.

o CHIEF RANGER:
-Unable to transport men; Bote Mountain Road in bad shape.
-Need more helicopters, at least two more.
-Expect largest build up by Sunday.
-Rescue squads not physically prepared, but doing their best.
-Helicopters use jet fuel, not aviation gas. Losing time flying to base for fuel.
-Reaching cut-off point on field operations on Tennessee side; should turn to North Carolina


personnel for expansion of search personnel and area.
-Don’t worry about technical accuracy on grid search; keep men moving.
-Helicopters nullify need for huge base camp at Spence Field.
-What about sanitation in Spence Field?
-Mud is more than wheel-deep on jeeps.
-Diverting every volunteer into North Carolina, where the search will concentrate.
-Another operations center in North Carolina? What about Hazel Creek dock? Fontana

Dock?
-Want reference map to show area covered daily so we can record areas covered and effort
made.
-If we ever have this situation again, we will have a press coordinator on the scene to deal with

reporters.
-FBI Agent Jim Ride checking Martin family background for possibilities.
-Should pursue extra helicopter request; six or seven by Sunday?
-If grid is negative, boy is somewhere in low country.
-Tell select leaders to watch for circling buzzards and note any odors.


o
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT:
-Need to schedule normal daily work loads for personnel.
-When cut-off begins of NPS personnel, maintenance gets first priority due to heavier costs.
-We will have something going on this for weeks.
-Boy had been covering several miles, capable of covering several more miles.
o
NORTH DISTRICT RANGER:
-Impossible to keep records complete.
-When will contributions cease? Will we be prepared when they do? (food, etc.)
-Have plenty of jeeps now.
Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 5

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

-Another rain will “kill” jeep road.
-Ten jeeps are maximum numbers for operations on jeep road.
-200 persons about maximum for jeep transport.


o
PARK FORESTER:
-If boy got out of Spence Field, could he have mistaken Little Bald for the field?
-Special Forces intend to stay indefinitely.
-Helicopters not getting in to Spence Field today because of 4,000 foot ceiling. They could
have landed at 3,800 feet. A few heath balds in the area may be available for helispots.
-Reluctant to do any extensive clearing on heath balds.
-Good helispot available near Haw Gap (heath bald) on Jenkins Trail Ridge.
-Need to designate the following positions:

Plans Chief Operations Chief
Ground Traffic Officer Air Traffic Officer
Communications Officer


DAY 6, THURSDAY, JUNE 19

o
All grid, drainage, and trail searches continue.
o
Clairvoyant predictions increase and the Martins believe they are significant. The media has many
of the predictions and public pressure is heavy to check all of them.
o
All animal excrement found is checked, and all buzzards are watched.
o
Use of airborne infrared sensing devices was discussed, but dismissed as impractical.
o
The total number of searchers on day 6 was 690.
DAY 7, FRIDAY, JUNE 20

o
Additional NPS overhead team personnel arrived during the night.
o
An additional 200 Army National Guardsmen are called in.
o
All grid and drainage searches continue.
o
There is continued, substantial pressure by the press, radio, and television media.
o
The total number of searchers on day 7 was 780.
Notes from Strategy Meeting - Friday, JUNE 20, 1969, 8:00 p.m., Park Headquarters.

o
NPS AND SPECIAL FORCES:
-
Chief Ranger set up Plan A (if found alive) and Plan B (if dead). Under Plan A the boy would
be taken by helicopter to the Knoxville Hq. of the U.S. Marine Reserves and then by
ambulance to University of Tennessee Hospital. Under Plan B the Blount County Coroner
should be notified.

Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 6

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

-
Instructions to finders of boy:

1.
Determine if dead or alive.
2.
Notify Chief Ranger by most expeditious means available and give: location in detail, dead
(radio code 10-200), or alive (radio code 10-100-A).
3.
Climb tree and set flag, build smudge fire, use smoke bomb (military only), or other signal for
helicopter.
4.
Stand by while Special Forces rappel a man in by helicopter and secure boy in litter if alive,
or if dead, guard area until released by Chief Ranger or coroner.
5.
Get name and address of person(s) who found boy.
-Plans Chief stated the top country was pretty well covered now. Additional helispots will be
set-up at Russell Field, Thunderhead, Derrick Knob, Gregory Bald, Eagle Creek, Hazel
Creek, and Fontana. An auxiliary operations center will be set-up at Fontana for the North
Carolina operation.

-The Superintendent issued an announcement that the Laurel Creek Road will be closed at the
Townsend “Y” over the weekend, and bona fide searchers will be transported form the “Y”
to Cades Cove by bus convoys.

DAY 8, SATURDAY, JUNE 21

o
A road block was established at the Townsend “Y” at 5:00 a.m. to control the entry of volunteers.
The volunteers waited long hours in line, and many never did get into the search area and were very
agitated. Two CH-47 "Chinooks" and four other helicopters airlifted 600 searchers to Spence
Field.
o
An area with a one mile radius from Spence Field (approximately 3 square miles) has been
thoroughly searched. All immediate drainages have been covered, 250 feet up on each side.
o
The total number of searchers on day 8 was 1400 from 35 different organizations.
DAY 9, SUNDAY, JUNE 22

o
The road block for traffic control continued.
o
Estimates of the total area searched were 56-3/4 square miles, with 13-1/2 square miles receiving
intensive coverage.
o
It was felt all logical search areas had been covered. Nothing was found. The decision was made
to begin all over again on the morning of June 23. Search crews will start at Spence Field and
research the entire area.
o
The total number of searchers on day 9 was 1,000. Volunteer turnout was lower.
DAY 10, MONDAY, JUNE 23

o
Heavy rains in the area.
o
Helicopters unable to fly, and police dog was used with negative results.
o
The total number of searchers on day 10 was 427.
Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 7

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

DAY 11, TUESDAY, JUNE 24

o
The Federal Bureau of Investigation continues their investigation.
o
Two more dogs are used, with negative results.
o
The total number of searchers on day 11 was 482.
DAY 12, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25

o
Press release issued stating the search operation will be greatly reduced as of June 26. If the boy is
not found by June 29, the search will continue on a limited basis only for 60 days.
o
The total number of searchers on day 12 was 463.
DAY 13, THURSDAY, JUNE 26

o
The Martins phone the Chief Ranger stating they now feel Dennis may have been abducted,
reference a particular individual had been camping in Spence Field when the boy disappeared.
o
The total number of searchers on day 13 was 121.
DAY 14, FRIDAY, JUNE 27

o
One of the Martin’s neighbors in Knoxville had telephoned a Tennessee Senator asking for 300
Federal troops to search for a week. The White House was monitoring the search effort. The
decision was to accept the Federal troops, if offered, largely due to the NPS being accused by a
Tennessee Representative of not wanting or accepting outside help. These facts were considered in
extending the search effort.
o
The total number of searchers on day 14 was 68.
DAY 15, SATURDAY, JUNE 28

o
The Park was notified that the family was considering offering a reward.
o
Vulture activity over Sugar Cove was noted. It was discovered to be a dead bobcat.
o
The total number of searchers on day 15 was 196.
DAY 16, SUNDAY, JUNE 29

o
Search operations concentrated in an area from Spence Field to Russell Field.
o
The operation was closed down by 6:00 p.m. All searchers and equipment were brought out of the
area. The captain of a county rescue squad severely injured his back when he fell against the rear
bumper of a refrigerated truck.
o
The total number of searchers on day 16 was 318.
Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 8

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

Notes from Strategy Meeting - Sunday, June 29, 1969, 5:00 p.m., Park Headquarters.

o
At 5:00 p.m., a meeting was held at the operations center with Mr. and Mrs. Martin, FBI Agent,
Chief Ranger, District Ranger, and Sub-District Ranger. They discussed “where do we go from
here?” Points discussed:
1.
Absence of evidence to support kidnapping, etc. FBI cannot launch a full-scale
investigation, but investigation will continue; search will continue.
2.
Reward: up to the family.
3.
Chief Ranger assured Martin’s they are prepared to continue search 30-60-90 days
with three of their best men, who also can handle volunteer searchers.
Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 9

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

PREDICTIONS, SUGGESTIONS, AND SUSPICIONS

Predictions

o
From Jeanne Dixon, Washington, D.C.: “Look around area where boy was last seen playing. He went out on level ground, went down (was walking, did not stumble or fall) an incline and turned off to left at 40-50 degree angle and up a little, then went back down and would be underneath the
point of incline. The area where he turned left has shrubbery and thicket. Did not see any trees where he veered off to left, more or less bare ground.”
o
Harold Sherman, Los Angeles, California: “He will be found 2-1/2 miles to left of where last seen
by father or brother. Fell off steep place. Hung up in bushes.”
o
Jeffrey Owens, Gatlinburg, Tennessee: “Had dreams last two nights about lost boy. In dreams he is not very far from where lost. Night before last saw him lying on hill behind a log, but last night
dreamed he had dragged himself down to the river for water.”

There were numerous other predictions and suggestions, and the family was most receptive to
these:

Suggestions

o
A Mr. Billy Noland, Psychic Interpreter of New Orleans, La., arrived on 6/25/69; talked with the family and headed for Rocky Top on the Appalachian Trail. Here without funds and equipment.

Wants permission to stay in area for several days. Is sure he can find boy. (Without funds, food or shelter!)
o
On 6/26/69 Carson Brewer of the Knoxville News-Sentinel called and forwarded a suggestion received from a lady telling us to start looking in trees and treetops -- stop looking on the ground.
o
Telegram received on 6/22/69 from Glen Chandler, Rt. #1, Mascot, Tennessee: “Take several friendly dogs including the boy’s own, put package containing food and plastic raincoat around their necks. Release dogs 1-2 miles apart. Be sure dogs are lost same as Dennis. By chance one may
find his trail and follow him for friendship. Dogs could be released by helicopter. Thank You.”
o
Info called in to Cades Cove store, caller unknown: “Two branches go through Spence Field and come together. There’s a hole. You have to step in it to know its there. Fern growing out of it.”
o
Betty Phillips of Townsend, Tennessee, called to say a boy was seen by himself at Elkmont by a waterfall by Joe Jones who lives in a trailer court, first trailer on left marked private, at Walland.
Turn right at King’s Grocery and cross bridge to trailer court. We can check this by calling Joe Makee, a preacher, at Walland.

ALL OF THE ABOVE WERE CHECKED AND RE-CHECKED: NEGATIVE RESULTS

Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 10

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Dennis Martin Case Study

o
Memo to Chief Ranger from Secretary:
-
“Issac Welch of the Indian Agency talked with me Sunday AM at the information desk about the possibility (don’t laugh) of using the powers of an old Indian he knows to locate Dennis Martin. The Indian is not a tracker, but possesses special power and, with these, has located
people before. It would be necessary by jeep or plane to transport this man to Spence Field. If interested, phone Welch’s number.”

Suspicions

o
The Martin family had suspicions concerning several persons, especially during the latter stages of
the search.
o
(John Doe), Dandridge, Tennessee: Mr. Doe was one of the parties camped at Spence Field when Dennis was last seen. He stayed with Mr. William Martin during most of the search. A lady, unknown, claiming to possess extrasensory perception, had gotten in touch with Mrs. William
Martin through the Miami, Florida, Police Department and told her that Mr. Doe should be watched. (FBI Agent checked on this lady.)
o
Mrs. Martin felt that the lady in Miami and Mr. Doe, or others, could possibly have taken Dennis for reasons unknown.
o
Carter Martin, other Martin camped at Spence Field: Could someone have gotten the two Martin families mixed up and “kidnapped” the wrong boy?
o
As stated before the FBI has no evidence to start any large investigation on any of this. The fact should be noted the family may be avoiding acceptance of the possibility the boy will never be accounted for.

On-line maps available (as of 12/01/01) include:

hxxp://www.nps.gov/grsm/ppmaps/grsmmap1.pdf (park map)
hxxp://www.nps.gov/grsm/ppmaps/grsmmap4.pdf (trail maps)

Inland SAR Planning Course Read-Ahead National SAR School (tsar)
Dennis Martin Case Study (Rev 12/01) 11

TC Yorktown, VA 23690


Satch
07-23-2011, 02:31 PM
Questions?

1.) When the above article talks about drainage, does that mean that rivers and streams were drained bone dry? What does this process involve in draining a river or stream and how long (on average) would that take? How many rivers and streams are in the area?

2.) If draining involves all water being removed there would have had to have been some remains of some sort, if sadly Dennis had fallen and drowned.

3.) How were cliffs and canyons searched?

4.) I always thought an abduction was possible, but the least likely scenario, because it would be difficult to take a kid and navigate through rough terrain without a vehicle.

BUT

4.b) I did NOT know about the jeep road that lead to other areas. How far would Dennis have had to have traveled to reach the jeep round? My fear of an abduction has now been raised, because we know that Dennis would respond to strangers and if he could have been walking along the road and some sick pedophile tragically offered him a ride, or candy or something, than that would tragically explain why no clues of Dennis Martin have never been found.

5.) The animal attack is possible, but it sounds like if that were the case, isn't it true that most wildlife predators only carry their prey maybe about 100-300 yards from a kill? (I read that somewhere, I don't remember where.) I know that this is kind of of morbid thought, wouldn't you think that if an animal were to maul a human and eat the remains that some parts of the body would still be found? Unless the animal were to carry it's prey back to a live den, which would be heavily guarded by the parents of the wildlife. Therefore, I don't think any rescue people would go directly into a live animal den.

6.) Note that the article above does not mention the mysterious shoe-print of the Oxford type shoe several days into the search. Nor does it mention the "scream" the witness heard, or the unkempt man the same witness saw, much later that evening. The shoe-print estimated to be between 2.5-3 miles from where Dennis was last seen. The scream and unkempt man about 7-9 miles from where Dennis was last seen.

What are everyone's thoughts?

Satch

Bargle
07-23-2011, 05:52 PM
Questions?

1.) When the above article talks about drainage, does that mean that rivers and streams were drained bone dry? What does this process involve in draining a river or stream and how long (on average) would that take? How many rivers and streams are in the area?
No, they are talking about searching creeks and streams in the area. They should have called it the drainage area or watershed. Here's a link to a better definition.
http://www.expertglossary.com/water/definition/watershed-drainage-area


What are everyone's thoughts?

Satch

I still tend towards Dennis falling into a creek or stream and being washed away as the most likely possibility. The heavy rains later that evening may have carried his body miles from where he fell in. Please note, I am not familiar with the area in question. I don't know how large the creeks and streams in the area are. That the Park Rangers consider his being washed away as likely makes me think they must be of fair size. Possibly Dennis' body became snagged on submerged brush or some other underwater object which kept his body from surfacing. The rain would have made the creeks muddy, obscuring anything below the surface. I've been trying to look over the area using Google Maps, but I'm not having much luck. I'm on dialup, which makes things slow. Perhaps someone with cable would have better luck.
I think the heavy rains that night really ruined things for the searchers. Quite possibly washing away any indications of what happened.

Bargle
07-23-2011, 07:33 PM
Here's a link to a photo gallery about the search. #3 shows the field and surrounding area. You can see how thick the woods and brush become not far from the camp. It wouldn't take Dennis very long to walk or run out of sight.
http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/galleries/2009/jun/26/scenes-search-dennis-martin/12279/#section_header

Here's a link one of the maps in the case study. The original link no longer works.
http://web.archive.org/web/20030308040924/http://www.nps.gov/grsm/ppmaps/grsmmap4.pdf

Satch
07-23-2011, 09:23 PM
No, they are talking about searching creeks and streams in the area. They should have called it the drainage area or watershed. Here's a link to a better definition.
http://www.expertglossary.com/water/definition/watershed-drainage-area



I still tend towards Dennis falling into a creek or stream and being washed away as the most likely possibility. The heavy rains later that evening may have carried his body miles from where he fell in. Please note, I am not familiar with the area in question. I don't know how large the creeks and streams in the area are. That the Park Rangers consider his being washed away as likely makes me think they must be of fair size. Possibly Dennis' body became snagged on submerged brush or some other underwater object which kept his body from surfacing. The rain would have made the creeks muddy, obscuring anything below the surface. I've been trying to look over the area using Google Maps, but I'm not having much luck. I'm on dialup, which makes things slow. Perhaps someone with cable would have better luck.
I think the heavy rains that night really ruined things for the searchers. Quite possibly washing away any indications of what happened.

Thanks for the clarification. That moves me back up to thinking an accident or injury situation.

Satch

christee
07-23-2011, 10:04 PM
Wow it's been a while since I heard Dennis' name. I was 7 yrs old when he disappeared and every so often since then I've heard bits and pieces about his case. I didn't realize WS had a thread for him. I wish his case could be solved.

christee
07-23-2011, 10:57 PM
Here's another link to info about Dennis (I don't think it's been posted):

http://tnmissing.org/topic/482/Little-Boy-s-Disappearance-Forever-Changed

Satch
07-24-2011, 01:59 AM
Here's a link to a photo gallery about the search. #3 shows the field and surrounding area. You can see how thick the woods and brush become not far from the camp. It wouldn't take Dennis very long to walk or run out of sight.
http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/galleries/2009/jun/26/scenes-search-dennis-martin/12279/#section_header

Here's a link one of the maps in the case study. The original link no longer works.
http://web.archive.org/web/20030308040924/http://www.nps.gov/grsm/ppmaps/grsmmap4.pdf

WOW!

Everyone take a look at picture #3. This is my first view of the amount of trees and wooded area in that picture, and it is jaw-dropping to me how easily even some adults, let alone a 6-year old child could get lost in minutes.

It also reinforces my belief that none of those children should have been left unsupervised! Sadly, I think many children may have mistaken those wilderness type woods for a massive playground area. The Park Personnel, I recall talked about many dangers involving both animals and rough terrain that inexperienced hikers and campers may not have seen.

Satch

Bargle
07-24-2011, 01:50 PM
Yes, one of the problems with the search was inexperienced searchers getting injured and having to be aided. That's one of the reasons why searches these days are usually done by trained searchers. They're much less likely to get lost or injured while searching.

nerosleuth
07-24-2011, 03:04 PM
WOW!

Everyone take a look at picture #3. This is my first view of the amount of trees and wooded area in that picture, and it is jaw-dropping to me how easily even some adults, let alone a 6-year old child could get lost in minutes.

It also reinforces my belief that none of those children should have been left unsupervised! Sadly, I think many children may have mistaken those wilderness type woods for a massive playground area. The Park Personnel, I recall talked about many dangers involving both animals and rough terrain that inexperienced hikers and campers may not have seen.

Satch

From what I was able to find out about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it was created in 1934 and officially dedicated in 1940 by President Roosevelt. The link below shows some pictures of the park and gives some history about that area.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Main_Entrance_to_the_Great_Smoky_Mountains_Na tional_Park_from_Gatlinburg,_Tennessee.JPG" class="image"><img alt="Main Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg, Tennessee.JPG" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c5/Main_Entrance_to_the_Great_Smoky_Mountains_Nationa l_Park_from_Gatlinburg%2C_Tennessee.JPG/284px-Main_Entrance_to_the_Great_Smoky_Mountains_Nationa l_Park_from_Gatlinburg%2C_Tennessee.JPG"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/c/c5/Main_Entrance_to_the_Great_Smoky_Mountains_Nationa l_Park_from_Gatlinburg%2C_Tennessee.JPG/284px-Main_Entrance_to_the_Great_Smoky_Mountains_Nationa l_Park_from_Gatlinburg%2C_Tennessee.JPG


Here are some thoughts that I had about this park in the area where Dennis Martin disappeared.

1. How far was the Appalachian Trail from the area where Dennis disappeared?

2. Are there any underground caves or any old abandoned wells in the park? I'm thinking of an old forgotten cave or well that could have been remembered by locals many years ago before that area even became a national park.

3. Are there any creeks or streams in the park that flows into an underground cave?

4. Are there any sinkholes in the park? I suspect that there could be an unknown or forgotten sinkhole.


Now as for the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Mountains, I think this is one possible scenario here involving a child that isn't familiar with a mountain terrain.

Say you're walking on a level ground in the mountain and you're not paying attention to your surroundings. The next step you take the ground is suddenly off level by more than several inches. That is how many folks have taken a sudden tumble when walking on the mountains.

Kimster
07-24-2011, 06:28 PM
:rose: Dennis is our Featured Cold Case from 7/24 to 7/31/2011 :rose:

GracieLu
07-24-2011, 06:59 PM
oh wow, hubby, little one, and I just back back from the Smokys 3 weeks ago....

this just breaks my heart --- sending hugs and prayers out to Dennis!

GracieLu
07-24-2011, 07:07 PM
oh wow, hubby, little one, and I just back back from the Smokys 3 weeks ago....

this just breaks my heart --- sending hugs and prayers out to Dennis!

and to add on to this, (after looking at search pictures), we were at Cades Coves the very week Dennis went missing (42 years later) with our little then 6 year old (she turned 7 last week).... oh goodness, this just makes my stomach sick!

Satch
07-24-2011, 09:04 PM
Thank you for featuring this heartbreaking case!

Satch

Lucid
07-25-2011, 05:10 PM
I think I lean towards him simply getting lost and wandering. That would include injury, though. Those woods sound kind of dangerous with the mentions of hidden pits/ditches I saw in some of the articles. Part of me feels like (unless it were a serious deathly sort of injury) even if injured, there were enough searchers that he might have been heard crying?? I noticed some comments said the scream the one person heard was likely an owl. If a man was then spotted, perhaps the man startled the owl? You'd think if this man had anything to do with Dennis, they'd have seen the boy with him.

I think the bones found were most likely him. What other reason could there be for child bones in the forest?? Unless there were another missing child in the area at some point, but you'd think it would have been mentioned if there was.

How frustrating that some of this stuff was never even investigated.

Satch
07-25-2011, 07:59 PM
I think I lean towards him simply getting lost and wandering. That would include injury, though. Those woods sound kind of dangerous with the mentions of hidden pits/ditches I saw in some of the articles. Part of me feels like (unless it were a serious deathly sort of injury) even if injured, there were enough searchers that he might have been heard crying?? I noticed some comments said the scream the one person heard was likely an owl. If a man was then spotted, perhaps the man startled the owl? You'd think if this man had anything to do with Dennis, they'd have seen the boy with him.

I think the bones found were most likely him. What other reason could there be for child bones in the forest?? Unless there were another missing child in the area at some point, but you'd think it would have been mentioned if there was.

How frustrating that some of this stuff was never even investigated.

Hi Lucid,

Welcome! I think I agree with just about everything you said. Yes, also about your assessment of the skull bones. It is too bad that the person who found them did not initially report them A lot of the articles are running together and sometimes it is hard to keep them straight. If I remember the person did not report the finding of the skull bones to park authorities, because he had been involved with some other misdemeanor hunting offenses at the time. But one of the articles said in 1985, he told the lead park ranger who was assigned to the case about the "child skull." he found.

The ranger went back to investigate but nothing was found. The skull bones were found I think about three miles from where Dennis was last seen. Sadley, I think they might have been his remains. OMG, I've got goosebumps and chills just writing this because it is so emotionally sad and heartbreaking.

Lucid, do you think the shoe print that investigators found was Dennis'? The investigators did not go back to check that specific spot because they said it had already been checked. I think it might have been. I don't know how much of the rains would have washed the footprints away. But if I was on that investigation team, I would be examining that shoe print and the whole area with any other fragments from Dennis' clothes that could have been brought from the Martin home as evidence, or anything else for a possible match. And certainly that skull found should have been analyzed the same way.

I do think that the scream heard by the witness and the strange man he saw are not likely related to Dennis' disappearance, but the man still should have been questioned as to who he was, and what was he doing. I think the scream was probably an animal. The distance from the scream the witness heard and the man sighting does seem to be too far to be related to Dennis' disappearance. I believe the investigators were probably right on this assessment.

However, to not do more with that shoe print sighting or the skull bones found several years later, was just FLAT OUT WRONG!

Satch

ValerieKay
07-25-2011, 08:29 PM
I think the bones found were most likely him. What other reason could there be for child bones in the forest?? Unless there were another missing child in the area at some point, but you'd think it would have been mentioned if there was.

How frustrating that some of this stuff was never even investigated.

I agree with this. I can't believe the person who found the bones could be so completely selfish as to not report it.

dogperson
07-26-2011, 01:19 PM
I would think if the man had told about finding the bones in the first place that probably nobody would have pressed charges if this ended up to solving this case. He should have hightailed it out of there straight to the police department. I'm sure it probably is illegal to get ginseng from land owned by a national park but that pales in comparison to the finding of this poor little boy and maybe putting an end to the torment of his family.

I have always thought Dennis just became lost and ended up passing away of exposure/dehydration or something like that. Maybe he was distracted by something when he went around the other way to scare his parents. He could have stepped into the woods to take a look at something then somehow got turned around and started going the wrong way. It seems very likely that the child's bones were his but we will probably never know now. The odds of a pedophile/kidnapper lurking nearby at the very time Dennis was playing seems a lot less likely than him just getting lost.

These Smoky Mountain disappearances (Trenny Gibson, Pauline Melton, Dennis Martin) are pet cases of mine because I live just a short distance from the area and usually visit several times a year. That is a very vast forest out there, easy for a small child to be lost in.

Satch
07-26-2011, 06:54 PM
I would think if the man had told about finding the bones in the first place that probably nobody would have pressed charges if this ended up to solving this case. He should have hightailed it out of there straight to the police department. I'm sure it probably is illegal to get ginseng from land owned by a national park but that pales in comparison to the finding of this poor little boy and maybe putting an end to the torment of his family.

I have always thought Dennis just became lost and ended up passing away of exposure/dehydration or something like that. Maybe he was distracted by something when he went around the other way to scare his parents. He could have stepped into the woods to take a look at something then somehow got turned around and started going the wrong way. It seems very likely that the child's bones were his but we will probably never know now. The odds of a pedophile/kidnapper lurking nearby at the very time Dennis was playing seems a lot less likely than him just getting lost.

These Smoky Mountain disappearances (Trenny Gibson, Pauline Melton, Dennis Martin) are pet cases of mine because I live just a short distance from the area and usually visit several times a year. That is a very vast forest out there, easy for a small child to be lost in.

Good post, Dogperson!

What's your take on the shoe print that was found a few days after the search that resembled Dennis' shoes that he was last seen wearing? Investigators believed they were not likely to be his shoe prints because their had been a previous rainstorm before the prints were discovered, and they said that area had already been searched. But is it at all possible that the rain may not have washed away this print in question? Especially if this area was protected in some way? As I remember, the shoe prints the ranger said, resembled a track of "one shoe off and one shoe on." But he adds, "they stopped near a bush." and I do recall that a stream or river was nearby.

I believe if the weather had been more cooperative that the investigators might have been able to have said for sure what happened to him.

Satch

Satch
07-28-2011, 05:12 AM
Are Dennis' parents still living? Any other information about relatives and family friends? I would suspect that they have declined interviews in later years, and understandably so. Because to live with that pain and horror of not knowing what happened to your lost child and what he may have gone through. I can't even comprehend that kind of devastation. It's too emotionally upsetting to put into words.

If any family members do speak, I think it is important for them to know that Dennis, no matter where he is, will NEVER be forgotten!

Satch

dogperson
07-28-2011, 12:51 PM
I'm not sure what to make of the shoe print. It could have belonged to Dennis. He might have lost the other shoe somehow. I think one of the articles stated there were so many searchers all over the place that some of the evidence could have been obliterated.
Such a shame that the man who found a skeleton waited so long to report it. If this was Dennis then his family would have had some remains to lay to rest and a gravesite to visit instead of never knowing.
I too agree that the weather conditions heavily contributed to erasing all traces and I think it possibly contributed to Dennis' death also.
I believe that after Trenny Lynn Gibson went missing in the Smokies there was terrible weather for several days afterward also. Things like that can erase a person's tracks quickly and perhaps interfere with the tracking dogs' ability to pick up a scent.

Satch
07-28-2011, 01:47 PM
I'm not sure what to make of the shoe print. It could have belonged to Dennis. He might have lost the other shoe somehow. I think one of the articles stated there were so many searchers all over the place that some of the evidence could have been obliterated.
Such a shame that the man who found a skeleton waited so long to report it. If this was Dennis then his family would have had some remains to lay to rest and a gravesite to visit instead of never knowing.
I too agree that the weather conditions heavily contributed to erasing all traces and I think it possibly contributed to Dennis' death also.
I believe that after Trenny Lynn Gibson went missing in the Smokies there was terrible weather for several days afterward also. Things like that can erase a person's tracks quickly and perhaps interfere with the tracking dogs' ability to pick up a scent.

On the shoe print,

One of the newspaper articles also contained a video presentation with the ranger, and a summation that claimed that when the area was searched there were no children present. However, in most cases, unless the shoe print was protected by the elements of the rain, it would seem that it would have been washed away with any other evidence that could have clued to Dennis' disappearance and the paths he traveled.

That skeleton is the strongest painful and heartbreaking evidence for me, more than the shoe print. I agree with the other poster that unless there was documentation of another child or children getting lost and never being recovered in the Smokies, that those remains could have been Dennis'. I put the likelihood at about 60%. And the only reason that I don't go higher, is because we don't know the number of years or time element that those bones could be traced back. Do we know for sure that John Doe knows for sure that the remains resembled a small child? Or did John Doe just think that the bones looked like a small child and over the years, it was reported as such?

Had this evidence been turned over to the police and analyzed for DNA, it might have given this poor family some closure and peace so that they can finally sleep at night. And whoever told Dennis to go in a different direction in the first place from the other children who were planning to scare the adults? I don't know how you recover from that kind of sorrow and pain?

This case NEEDS TO BE SOLVED!

Satch

ThoughtFox
07-28-2011, 05:23 PM
I read a book about this case called Disappearances in the Great Smoky Mountains. My theory is that the boy fell into growth below where they were hiking, and they just couldn't see him. He might have died immediately so he couldn't respond to the calls of the family.

When a bear attacked some small children in Cherokee National Forest, clothing and blood left a trail to follow straight to the bear. But it's not impossible that Dennis wandered off and was then attacked by a bear on some side trail or in the forest. I would never take small children out on a trail like that in March or April because that's when hungry bears come out of hibernation and there just isn't much food around.


So far,

A question about the river:

Wouldn't LE be forced to drain the river presuming that he did drown to find his body?

You can't drain a river in the Smoky Mountains. First of all, there are spring-fed creeks that rush down the mountain sides and into the rivers. They could dam the river, but they probably wouldn't be allowed to because of federal protection of endangered animals only found in that area. So it's not only impossible, it would be illegal.

reb
07-29-2011, 01:02 AM
Poor Trenny. What happened? How & why did she get separated from the group? Did she fall, slide down a hill, get disoriented, get knocked out, injured.. then die from exposure, get attacked by an animal... what? I often woner about these cases... does the family eventually just give up & move on? I understand that just because people may not have an active presence on the internet, doesn't mean they don't still care about their lost loved one. And I guess you have to close the door at some point and move forward, to mentally survive. And some family members are now older and may not be aware of how many people are online discussing their loved ones. But regardless.. I can't help but wonder, is anyone still looking for her, and so many like her....?

Satch
07-31-2011, 02:31 AM
I am just going to speculate here,

But considering the weather reports and what we know about the case from the past, all the rain and fog, any indications of the temperatures. What do you believe is the most amount of time Dennis could have survived without injury? Just getting lost and wondering away? I won't venture a guess yet because I would be interested in knowing a time composite from other members.

The second point for consideration. It is assumed from the case reports that family members began searching within five minutes of of Dennis not returning. The story says that the adults knew that the children had snuck up on them before. This was Dennis' first overnight camping trip. But it sounds like he had been in the area before on previous family outings. Assuming that Dennis had some familiarity with the area, I am trying to think of how far he could have gone before he could not find his way back or no one could no longer find him?

How far could a little kid run or travel in five minutes to never be seen again? That's one of the things that is so haunting to me in my mind. Such a short time span to be missed by everyone through several months of searching afterwords.

Now, note that in studying these outcomes, this just assumes getting lost through natural causes without the issues of injury due to falling into a river, a canyon, or getting mauled by an animal. One of those outcomes could have happened in a short time. Even an abduction, but that seems like a stretch to me. Of course, if those skull bones were tragically Dennis' that rules out the abduction theory.

Another question for study might be, why does the family believe more in the abduction theory over anything else? I think tragically, the horror of the skull bones they might have have just rejected the thought of them being Dennis' remains. Maybe it is easier for the family to think abduction, because for them, it might be the only way to their glimmer of hope that Dennis might be alive and that he might someday escape and return to them.

Maybe that hope for the rest of their lives is better for them in coping than a tragic closure if that skull had been analyzed and turned out for the worse, that yes, it was this poor little boy.

I think it's so hard to try to differentiate that yes, you can't give up hope, but closure can be important too because it can bring peace to the pain. What do you all think about this?

Satch

SyraKelly
07-31-2011, 08:00 PM
I stumbled on to Dennis's story this morning and have been reading all day.
I am haunted to by how far could he have gotton in 3-5 mins.How far were the footprint and skull found from where he was last seen?I am trying to picture in my mind how he went into the brush and turned around to see his father.I don't think he would have let them out of his sight,unless he saw something and wander towards it and got lost
I have also read a lot of stories over the yrs about crazy people stalking the trails for people hiking alone..it is very possible someone saw this family and saw Dennis and stalked him.The Trail Side Killer comes to mind and there was other family camping and a little girl was kidnapped-I think I remember her name as Susie and the killer kept calling her mother-what a thing to do to a mother!
It would be wonderful if the family had some type of closure and could rest,but keeping Dennis in the news,even after all these yrs can still lead to a tip about what happened to him.I don't know what happened but I will keep Dennis and his family in my prayers.

ValerieKay
07-31-2011, 08:49 PM
I agree with everyone else that it would be extremely helpful to know where the foot print and the skeleton were in relation to where he was playing. Also, where were the adults in relation to the kids, and in what direction did he run to hide?
http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/galleries/2009/jun/26/scenes-search-dennis-martin/12263/
This link posted by someone else earlier shows the area they were in. If he ran off to the left, he could have tripped and fallen down the big hill. If he hit his head and was knocked out, he couldn't call for help (or if he did, it's possible they wouldn't have heard him). I think it's quite possible for him to have just kept sliding or rolling down that hill until he was so hidden they never saw him. The following rain would have help to cover his body more or wash it further away.
By the time the searchers got near to where he had rolled to, he may have already been dead or unable to respond.

Satch
08-01-2011, 02:45 AM
I agree with everyone else that it would be extremely helpful to know where the foot print and the skeleton were in relation to where he was playing. Also, where were the adults in relation to the kids, and in what direction did he run to hide?
http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/galleries/2009/jun/26/scenes-search-dennis-martin/12263/
This link posted by someone else earlier shows the area they were in. If he ran off to the left, he could have tripped and fallen down the big hill. If he hit his head and was knocked out, he couldn't call for help (or if he did, it's possible they wouldn't have heard him). I think it's quite possible for him to have just kept sliding or rolling down that hill until he was so hidden they never saw him. The following rain would have help to cover his body more or wash it further away.
By the time the searchers got near to where he had rolled to, he may have already been dead or unable to respond.

Ranger McCarter said that the skull remains, according to one of the linked articles in the thread, were found about 3 to 3 and a half miles downhill from where Dennis was last seen and in the same direction as the shoe print, found "by the West Prong."

We would really need to try to find out the direction he went, and the hazards in the immediate area. One question inquired if Dennis may have turned around and saw his father. I have no recollection of that, so if anyone can expound on that, this would also help in studying the case!

The reports kind of mesh together over time, and because sadly so many years have passed, it is hard to keep the information straight. But it has been said that Dennis "disappeared behind a bush and was never seen again." But than, there is information that says that Dennis took off in another direction, alone. Did the adults or other children SEE him disappear behind the bush? Behind anything for that matter? Or was the view of everyone else abstracted from site? When the other children were playing, or the adults looking, did anyone look back to see the direction that Dennis was going? Again, if they did not, how do we know that he disappeared behind a bush, or thicket brush?

I was reading another article on the case, or maybe it might have been on a comment section on line somewhere, and one of the people familiar with the area was saying that because the thicket is so intense and extreme, you could have someone as little as 5 feet away, and not be found. A comparison was drawn that one time a small plane went down in the Smokies, and it took about A YEAR for them to find it. It might have been Ranger McCarter who cited this, not sure. However, he said, if it took a year to find an airplane, it could be almost impossible to find a lost child in that type of terrain. Any roaring rapids could drown out sounds of screaming, yelling, crying, or distress as little as ten feet away.

Do any of you have Google Earth installed on your computer? I don't. But maybe if you do, you might want to check Great Smokey Mountains National Park and narrow the searches down for the following where each event took place: Google Maps might help as well. Here are key places and events in this heartbreaking case:

Russell Field: This is where the whole family was the day/night before the tragedy. They hiked the next morning to Spence Field.

Spense Field: The site of the tragedy, where Dennis Martin vanished without a trace after splitting off from his brother, and the unrelated Martin family friends' children when planning to sneak up and scare the adults at the site. This was on June 14th, 1969. The time is estimated to be between 3-4:30 PM depending the account you read. Don't know how much the articles account for time zone changes. 4PM seems to be the most accepted time of the tragedy.

Sea Branch: (Rowan's Creek) The area where a witness heard a "sickening scream" on the afternoon that Dennis Martin vanished and saw an unkempt man about three minutes later moving in the woods toward the scream. The time frame he gives is about 7PM. The distance is about 7-9 miles from Spense Field. Researchers and investigators saw that was too far for Dennis to have traveled. McCarter said that the witness heard a child scream. Other reports just say it was a sickening scream. The FBI did not investigate this area because they believed it was too far. McCarver said "It is possible for a physically strong man to carry a small child between the two points." He believes more significantly, that "Dennis could have reached that area alone."

I don't know though. Carrying a kid for 7-9 miles. That seems almost impossible. Most investigators account for the investigators assessment that the distance was too far and the scream heard was an animal.

West Prong (Near Pigeon River): The area where the Oxford type shoe print similar to what Dennis was last seen wearing was found. Investigators did not examine the shoe print finding in detail because the area had already been searched. However, it is noted that there were no small children involved in the search. This print was found at least after one rain storm had already been in the area.

Tremont's Big Hollow (also try Tremont Big Hollow) The area where the skull bones of a small child were found a few years after Dennis went missing. The man knew McCarter, but did not report the skull until 1985, because he had been illegally hunting ginseng, and did not want to be prosecuted. Ranger McCarter and investigators searched in 1985, found nothing. It is believed that over the years, animals destroyed the remains. The area is 3-3 and a half miles away from where Dennis was last seen at Spense Field, and 9 miles away from where the scream and unkempt man were reported by the witness.

I do believe that an injury situation in the Dennis Martin case is very possible. He might have fallen into an underwater area, being whisked away too fast to call for help. Horrifyingly, he may have also fallen into an underground area and might have been either killed or so severely injured that the searches could not do anything because it was too late.

It seems like there were many areas underground or underwater that no matter how many searches and types of equipment they had, the rescue team may not have been able to penetrate those areas.

Satch

Bargle
08-01-2011, 07:01 AM
A small thought that hit me this weekend. When the adults first started searching for Dennis, he might have deliberately run and hid from them, thinking he was playing a funny joke on them. Then he actually did get lost and was so far away by then, they couldn't hear him. Night came and he he wandered even further away with the rain washing away his tracks.

SyraKelly
08-01-2011, 11:30 AM
guys I found some really good photos of Spence Field where Dennis was last seen,I think I read they were by the shelter and these photos show just how dense it can get.I am still trying to figure how to post them,I am not good at doing it,but I will try and try today until I get it..

SyraKelly
08-01-2011, 12:04 PM
http://www.backpacker.com/appalachian_trail_shelter_photo_gallery/slideshows/14?position=3

I hope this works.let me know what you guys think?This is Spence trail.I will go and see if I can find where his footprint was found.

SyraKelly
08-01-2011, 12:09 PM
here is Pigeon River pics
http://www.google.com/search?q=west+prong+pigeon+river+pictures&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=0Jb&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1024&bih=523&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=XM82Tu6NCsLdgQf7sb0S&sqi=2&ved=0CCAQsAQ[url]

SyraKelly
08-01-2011, 12:15 PM
here is some more of West Prong

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/west_prong.htm

Satch
08-01-2011, 01:32 PM
A small thought that hit me this weekend. When the adults first started searching for Dennis, he might have deliberately run and hid from them, thinking he was playing a funny joke on them. Then he actually did get lost and was so far away by then, they couldn't hear him. Night came and he he wandered even further away with the rain washing away his tracks.

WOW!!!!

It is interesting that you brought this up, because I'll bet that very few (if any of the investigators even thought of this.) In fact, I didn't think of this until I read your post. I wonder what the investigators would say if they read this?! This certainly makes sense. Sure, hide somewhere for a joke and than as they call out his name, move further and further away trying to be funny. And than, Dennis becomes more focused on the joke than his surroundings, and either gets so far away that no one sees him, or meets up with a tragic fate being unaware of his area.

There was a comment on some message board from some guy's father who was involved in the search. Both parties agree about the ease in which someone could get lost our injured in the Smokies if they were not experienced and aware of their surroundings. The son claims that his Dad said, there are several areas of foliage. Foliage is deep thicket of trees, flowers and terrain that is bunched together, and he claims that when you go off the trail if you are not careful, there are some areas of foliage that actually have deep holes and caverns. He believes Dennis was walking along, got into an unsafe area somehow, and slipped and fell in a pit covered by foliage.

This kind of goes along with the posts above, about him falling and injuring himself so badly in the fall, or tragically being killed because of the impact of the fall. The foliage would cover up the very deep cavern or pit, and it would be impossible for the investigators to find him in that instance.

I don't know if the rescue teams searched pits or caverns and/or what equipment they would need to get down to them, for their own safety as well.

Satch

ValerieKay
08-01-2011, 01:52 PM
The theory that he fell into something; a pit, cave, mine, whatever is good except...his body would never have been found. If those bones were his (and we don't have any reason to suspect they are anyone else's), how did they wind up above ground?

SyraKelly
08-01-2011, 01:55 PM
http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~dunigan/gsmnp/googlegsmnp.php?lat=35.5617&lon=-83.7322&scale=14&mt=3&trail=AT

I can not find Pigeon Lake or Tremont Hollow,but I did find Spence Shelter and West Prong.hope this helps in trying to follow a route he might have taken.

ValerieKay
08-01-2011, 02:20 PM
I tried to do the Google Earth thing, but I couldn't find some of the locations. The ones I did find weren't the correct distances from each other, so I don't know if any of it is right.
I found a pretty detailed map of the park, but it doesn't show any of the locations we're looking for. :waitasec:
http://www.planetware.com/i/map/US/great-smokey-mountains-national-park-map.jpg
I'll keep looking and see if there's a better map out there.

Satch
08-01-2011, 06:15 PM
The theory that he fell into something; a pit, cave, mine, whatever is good except...his body would never have been found. If those bones were his (and we don't have any reason to suspect they are anyone else's), how did they wind up above ground?

That's a good point. If you saw my earlier post, I believed that those bones were Dennis' by about 60%. Now I put it up to 75% or more. The more I think about it, I just cannot get away from the skeletal remains as evidence that they were his bones. There were two other cases of human disappearances in the Smokey Mountains in 1976 and again in 1981.

Trenny Gibson in 1976

Thelma Pauline Melton in 1981

Dennis Martin vanished in 1969 and the reports of the skeletal remains specifically said a "small child." and that this was found a few years after Dennis vanished. The exact year would be best for historical reference. However, a few years later, would probably be between 1971-1974 in that range. Way before the other two disappearances. Trenny Gibson was 16, but 1976 is a little too far from 1969 to represent "a few years later."

The ultimate question I guess for the Webslueths forum would be, could this man who claimed to have found the skull bones come to Webslueths here to post anonymously and talk in more detail about the experience? I would hope that he would not be chastised for not reporting the skull, until 1985. It just seems that he holds one of the keys to the strongest piece of physical evidence in this case. Very powerful evidence. And since he waited until 1985 to report the find, I think the details that the man would have could be of incredible importance and insight. Given the magnetite of this case, maybe some of the details may be a little hazy, but there are at least generalizations that I am sure this person has never forgotten.

The only thing I could guess would be Dennis' body going from below ground to above ground might be weathering erosion. However, that would be a lot of erosion over an approximate five year period of time. From a scientific perspective, I don't know how long it would take for a body to decompose to a skeletal structure. (Sorry for the morbid details.) Bad weather over time would have certainly hastened the process.

I think the main focuss is the skeleton as evidence and any possible relationship to the Oxford Shoe print in terms of distance and time elements. The questions raised by the poster above are outstanding!

Satch

Satch
08-01-2011, 06:32 PM
Here is Wikipedia information about Spense Field and Tremont, which I assume is part of Tremont's Big Hollow. Note that Wikipedia is not always the most accurate because anyone can add to the database, but at least it might be a good starting resource:

Spense Field: Spence Field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Spence-field-appalachian-trail.jpg" class="image"><img alt="" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Spence-field-appalachian-trail.jpg/275px-Spence-field-appalachian-trail.jpg"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/e/e2/Spence-field-appalachian-trail.jpg/275px-Spence-field-appalachian-trail.jpg

Tremont: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremont,_Tennessee

Satch

Satch
08-02-2011, 07:05 AM
This link below shows a picture of one of the Spense Field shelters, and a very brief, slightly inaccurate account of the case. It states that the other Martin children, the Carter Martin Family were cousins. Other accounts say that the Dennis Martin family met them on the mountain, but were not related.

The picture of the shelter does not take into account the vastly wooded area and the thicket of these areas. It seems to imply that the children went around the shelter and Dennis, "never returned from his side of the shelter." This is a contradiction to him disappearing behind a bush or brush. It does however say that the shelter has since been replaced with a much larger one.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/710686/hiking-in-the-great-smoky-mountain-national-park

Satch

nerosleuth
08-02-2011, 06:07 PM
Foliage is deep thicket of trees, flowers and terrain that is bunched together, and he claims that when you go off the trail if you are not careful, there are some areas of foliage that actually have deep holes and caverns.

I just thought of something that wasn't considered. Now when you walk in a mountain terrain, you have to be careful walking through foliage. Snakes, especially venomous snakes, are known to hide in the foliage.

One possible scenario here is that he could have accidently been bitten by a venomous snake hidden in the foliage.

Satch
08-02-2011, 08:23 PM
I just thought of something that wasn't considered. Now when you walk in a mountain terrain, you have to be careful walking through foliage. Snakes, especially venomous snakes, are known to hide in the foliage.

One possible scenario here is that he could have accidentally been bitten by a venomous snake hidden in the foliage.

Yes,

I have heard there are poisonous snakes in the area, and tragically, if Dennis was running along as part of a joke to get as far away from the adults as possible, he could have yelled, or cried out and not be heard. He also could have cried out and not have have been heard if a strong wind, or rushing creek drowned out his cries for help, just running or walking around, normally.

On average, how long would it take a person to die from a venomous snake bite if help is not reached and the poison is not extracted from the body?

Satch

ValerieKay
08-02-2011, 11:40 PM
Yes,

I have heard there are poisonous snakes in the area, and tragically, if Dennis was running along as part of a joke to get as far away from the adults as possible, he could have yelled, or cried out and not be heard. He also could have cried out and not have have been heard if a strong wind, or rushing creek drowned out his cries for help, just running or walking around, normally.

On average, how long would it take a person to die from a venomous snake bite if help is not reached and the poison is not extracted from the body?

Satch

Depends on the snake and where on the body they're bitten. If he had been with someone when he was bit, there most likely would have been time to get help. But if he did get bit he may have been in too much pain to walk back, or got scared and ran further away.

Cincinnati Kid
08-03-2011, 10:24 AM
I don't think the boy's disappearance had anything to do with him coming in contact with an animal (bear, cougar, snake, etc.). If such an encounter took place, his body would no doubt have been found in that immediate area. In addition, the sound of an attack by a large animal should have resulted in enough noise to have been heard by the family members and others who may have been closeby.

The Smokey Mountains bring many people to that location. Most are visitors there to take in the wonder of it all, but there are those who use such settings for their criminal activities. The outdoors - especially in a place as large as the Smokies - provide those who think in such ways as a better place to abduct a child than a shopping mall or a playground. I tend to think abduction when no body is found after a certain period of time. I really doubt the story of the guy who said he came across a child's skeleton years later, but was afraid to admit it because he was there doing something illegal. If he had that kind of a find, all he had to say was that he was there just enjoying the park.

I don't know if this is still the case (or was in 1969), but the park has used persons who were incarcerated in the area to perform clean-up and similar duties there. I assume such individuals were not being incarcerated for a violent offense, but it's just an example of persons of a criminal mindset being mixed into that setting.

Satch
08-04-2011, 12:24 AM
I don't think the boy's disappearance had anything to do with him coming in contact with an animal (bear, cougar, snake, etc.). If such an encounter took place, his body would no doubt have been found in that immediate area. In addition, the sound of an attack by a large animal should have resulted in enough noise to have been heard by the family members and others who may have been closeby.

The Smokey Mountains bring many people to that location. Most are visitors there to take in the wonder of it all, but there are those who use such settings for their criminal activities. The outdoors - especially in a place as large as the Smokies - provide those who think in such ways as a better place to abduct a child than a shopping mall or a playground. I tend to think abduction when no body is found after a certain period of time. I really doubt the story of the guy who said he came across a child's skeleton years later, but was afraid to admit it because he was there doing something illegal. If he had that kind of a find, all he had to say was that he was there just enjoying the park.

I don't know if this is still the case (or was in 1969), but the park has used persons who were incarcerated in the area to perform clean-up and similar duties there. I assume such individuals were not being incarcerated for a violent offense, but it's just an example of persons of a criminal mindset being mixed into that setting.

Good post Cincinnati Kid!

So you do not believe the skeleton story at all? I still kind of do, because why would John Doe say that otherwise? Maybe the family does not believe it either. What is strange, and the thing that puts doubt on this credibility is, "I am not gonna report it, because I fear being prosecuted for hunting guising, a misdemeanor offense." And let's say that this alleged skeleton story happened in, 1972. We don't have an exact year. And this guy waits from 1969 to 1985 to report it? If you are going to bring about closure to a case as important and tragic as Dennis Martins' you don't wait over 15 years to come forward!

Now we are back to the abduction theory, and we know that Dennis was not particularly fearful of people so yes he could have tragically been enticed by a stranger. But don't you think that his screams and crying would have been heard by the family members? How would an abductor carry a child through rugged terrain? Wouldn't Dennisbe crying, yelling at the top of his lungs in fear in an abduction situation

Has anyone read Ranger McCarter's account of the Dennis Martin Case, in his book, Lost: Disappearances in the Great Smokey Mountains? I am not sure on this, but I think there was a little boy who went missing in the Smokies way back around 1919. He vanished as his mother was hanging out clothes and went into her cabin for a second. I believe his name was Abe Ramsey. But I don't know if he was found or not.

I bring up this other 1919 incident because in my view, it does only take a matter of seconds to be unaware of something in an area as vast as the Great Smokey Mountains. It would also be interesting to learn the nature and extent of Dennis' disability. If he was diagnosed with a learning disability, I know someone, who also as a visual perception deficit. This is when people can't judge distances, directions, and places in their mind in relation to their environment. In other words, they have no "Mental Map Abilities."

Every time I look at the millions of trees in the Smokies, those areas are so dense with thicket that a small child could very easily become lost just by naturally walking around. Now if a person has some kind of visual perception impairment, just magnify the difficulty that they would have getting around from place to place. And now picture them doing the same thing in bad weather. Now account for their vulnerability to environmental hazards and potentially crazy people who might be in the area. All of these are serious concerns in this very sad case.

Cincinnati Kid, what's your take on the shoe print, and the scream the witness heard several hours later on the day Dennis vanished? What about the unkempt man the witness saw?

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
08-04-2011, 08:55 AM
Satch -

Thanks for your comments.

No. I don't believe the skeleton story. I think the guy that claimed it was just trying to build himself up.

The child falling into a stream or something similar is possible given the reports of such dangers in that area. I go with the abduction theory mainly because no body or clothing was ever found in all these years. Certainly, there is the question of how someone would get the child out of the area. However, a person (or persons) who chose to do something like that could have planned it in advance. This isn't to say someone targeted the Martin child ahead of time, but predators are much like sharks or other animals who seek prey. They place themselves in certain areas and wait for opportunity. Although the disappearance of Trenny Gibson over seven years later is probably a better example of abduction, it tends to show me that such criminal activity can take place in the Smokey Mountains. Such a criminal mind may also have taken something to take the body away from the area such as canvas which to others might just seem like a rolled-up tent or other camping equipment. The abductor could have remained in the vicinity for a time before going to a car or being picked up by another party.

With regards to the shoe print, it may very well have been from the Martin child's shoe since it was said to resemble the oxford-style he had on. My question would be - how common was that style then? Could many other children of that age and size have been wearing them, too? The scream heard later on may have been connected. It was heard some miles away from where the child disappeared and a few hours later, but if you consider an abductor would have left the area, that may account for the distance and time. However, the strange-looking person seen after the scream by the witness was not said to be carrying anything. To me, that might mean that if that man was involved in the abduction, he apparently had left the body behind, most likely where that scream took place. Yet, no body has ever been found.

Satch
08-05-2011, 03:57 PM
Satch -

Thanks for your comments.

No. I don't believe the skeleton story. I think the guy that claimed it was just trying to build himself up.

The child falling into a stream or something similar is possible given the reports of such dangers in that area. I go with the abduction theory mainly because no body or clothing was ever found in all these years. Certainly, there is the question of how someone would get the child out of the area. However, a person (or persons) who chose to do something like that could have planned it in advance. This isn't to say someone targeted the Martin child ahead of time, but predators are much like sharks or other animals who seek prey. They place themselves in certain areas and wait for opportunity. Although the disappearance of Trenny Gibson over seven years later is probably a better example of abduction, it tends to show me that such criminal activity can take place in the Smokey Mountains. Such a criminal mind may also have taken something to take the body away from the area such as canvas which to others might just seem like a rolled-up tent or other camping equipment. The abductor could have remained in the vicinity for a time before going to a car or being picked up by another party.

With regards to the shoe print, it may very well have been from the Martin child's shoe since it was said to resemble the oxford-style he had on. My question would be - how common was that style then? Could many other children of that age and size have been wearing them, too? The scream heard later on may have been connected. It was heard some miles away from where the child disappeared and a few hours later, but if you consider an abductor would have left the area, that may account for the distance and time. However, the strange-looking person seen after the scream by the witness was not said to be carrying anything. To me, that might mean that if that man was involved in the abduction, he apparently had left the body behind, most likely where that scream took place. Yet, no body has ever been found.

Great observations,

I think that it is possible if Dennis got injured or something, he could have fallen into a pit, cavern, or river that could not have been reached by search and rescue teams. This would have him falling into an underground area that might have been unsearchable. I think we have to consider areas of the Smokey Mountains that might have been unsearchable because of them being underground or underwater situations. Remains from his body or clothing may never have been found in those areas, because support crews could not get to them.

The abduction would be hard, but not impossible. Cincinnati Kid, you mentioned a tarp or something being used as camping equipment, and this is a horrifying thought. But maybe someone could have snuck up behind him in a thicket or underbrush and maybe just put that tarp over his head, muffling his screams for help. A big tall heavyset guy could have taken him in that tarp to anywhere and done who knows what to this poor kid. They take him out of the area, and no evidence is found because there is no evidence to find. When I say out of the area, I mean out of the park completely.

If the Oxford shoe prints were his, it was said that they stopped near a river and/or stopped near a bush. Due to the close proximity to the river, if the prints were Dennis' a drowning is very possible. And since they can't drain rivers in the Smokey Mountains, we are back to the impossible to search area theory.

Satch

annemc2
08-05-2011, 06:02 PM
I hate to say this but I think it would have been relatively easy to lure Dennis away. I have a 6.5 year old son and some kind of smooth talker could probably have him following him through the woods with no problem (makes me sick to think about but if the bad guy knew what a kid wanted to hear...). Even something as simple as "your mom and dad are want you to wait for them with me over at my camp. Come on! We'll go fishing until they get there - I have an extra pole just for you!" ((shudder))

Yeah, I don't think Dennis would have necessarily been hollering and fighting. He was probably pretty naive and trusting, especially with his being a bit developmentally delayed.

Cincinnati Kid
08-05-2011, 06:28 PM
Thoughts as to how a predator may have undertaken such an evil deed are not pleasant ones, but in looking into such a tragic matter as the loss of a young child, various avenues must be examined and considered however unpleasant.

It does concern me that areas in the ground where a human being might fall in and be unable to be found are a cause for concern. Is or was there some kind of warning about these posted in that area? Such a hazard is as dangerous as a predator or wild animal - maybe more so.

Satch
08-14-2011, 09:09 PM
Another article I found on-line about Dennis Martin,

This is unique because it is the first time it mentions SPECIFIC ROUTES that the family took the day before and during the day Dennis went missing, as well as the direction that Dennis went in when he ventured off by himself. The names of specific sites in this article I had not seen in other places:

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/06/unresolved-search-and-rescue-cases-are-scattered-throughout-national-parks

Although not implicitly stated, the conclusion from this writer is that Dennis probably got lost or injured in the wilderness and died of injuries, starvation, dehydration,these type of natural causes types of things, because although there was incredibly massive amounts of help, the search teams were not adequately trained to do the kinds of preparation that they would do today.

This is very insightful to learn, because I keep reading "new details on on old, cold, case." Maybe this new information will be of even more help to us all.

Satch

nerosleuth
08-15-2011, 12:06 AM
Another article I found on-line about Dennis Martin,

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/06/unresolved-search-and-rescue-cases-are-scattered-throughout-national-parks

Satch

That was an interesting article. One of the comments at the end of the article mentioned the possibility of Dennis being in a crevice of a fractured rock.

I do wonder if Dennis and his family have ever been inside a cavern on a cave tour anytime prior to their trip to the national park.

If Dennis have been inside a cave before, then it could be possible that he saw a crevice opening somewhere, thought it was a cave and went inside that crevice opening.

Now the area where Dennis disappeared, just how far is it from the North Carolina border? Is it possible for him to have walked into North Carolina?

Cincinnati Kid
08-16-2011, 08:58 AM
The article is interesting and provides details of the group's movements leading to the child disappearing. I noted that at no time does the author suggest a predator or abuction as a possible theory.

One question I would have for father and grandfather - did they see any other hikers or persons in the Spence Field area after they arrived or on the last portion of the trail as they reached that area?

There is no doubt that the Smokey Mountains has rough terrain and dense areas of growth, but in the 42 years since young Dennis went missing, you would think something would have been found unless he was taken from that location.

Satch
08-16-2011, 08:49 PM
The article is interesting and provides details of the group's movements leading to the child disappearing. I noted that at no time does the author suggest a predator or abduction as a possible theory.

One question I would have for father and grandfather - did they see any other hikers or persons in the Spence Field area after they arrived or on the last portion of the trail as they reached that area?

There is no doubt that the Smokey Mountains has rough terrain and dense areas of growth, but in the 42 years since young Dennis went missing, you would think something would have been found unless he was taken from that location.

That's what I think too. Unless of course, what I come back to. Dennis falling and slipping into an underground area that no search or rescue teams could penetrate. If Dennis let's say, he drowned in a river. Would the chances of his remains being found in that river be literally moot? Would erosion have just washed everything, including the bones, away to nothing?

Or falling into a pit or cavern or canyon, some other underground structure that the searches could not get to in order to find the body. Trapped in an underground passageway. Did divers search the rivers? Did experience land dwellers go down into underground areas and explore to look for remains? Or was all of the searching done above ground?

The article also shows a new period of time were Bill Martin went back to camp thinking possibly that Dennis may have returned there for dinner. This was not mentioned in other sources. It is possible that during this backtracking point in time, that Dennis could have ventured further away into an opposite direction from his father who was first to begin to search.

When the grandfather reached the ranger station about 8:30 that night, how many, if any family members were looking for Dennis at that time? I recall that Bill hiked back down to the ranger station with the grandfather, but I think other accounts say the grandfather hiked to the ranger station alone as Bill contained to search.

The point being that the freshest clues probably were left from the time that Dennis went into the woods on the Appalachian Trial up to just before the storm hit that first night. Do we know the time that the storm hit the first night? Up to that time, if search and rescue was in place, maybe there would have been a better understanding of where Dennis went, and what happened to him.

It would also be interesting flash forward to 2011, and see what the search and rescue team would have done that they didn't do back in the Summer of 1969.

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
08-16-2011, 09:44 PM
As I noted in an earlier post, it concerns me that there were (and maybe still are) places where a person could fall into to the point that they could not be found - especially in locations apparently easily accessable by the general public such as the Martin family. Are there any kind of warnings posted or are visitors expected to know of the possibility of such places as a part of the wilderness experience?

Satch
08-17-2011, 01:13 AM
As I noted in an earlier post, it concerns me that there were (and maybe still are) places where a person could fall into to the point that they could not be found - especially in locations apparently easily accessible by the general public such as the Martin family. Are there any kind of warnings posted or are visitors expected to know of the possibility of such places as a part of the wilderness experience?

I share the same concerns as you, Cincinnati Kid.

I found it interesting that the recent article, just as you said, does not mention any abduction theories other than the family believing this by offering the $5000 reward money.

I like how the article gives specific names to locations that the family hiked to and from, stayed, and searched.

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
08-17-2011, 10:30 PM
Knoxnews.com features a taped video of retired Great Smoky Mountain Park ranger, Dwight McCarter. He states that the Martin family feels their child was taken. While they are willing to look at other explanations, they really believe he was stolen according to statements by McCarter on that video.

Satch
09-08-2011, 05:19 AM
Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if Dennis' parents are still living, or any brothers' and sisters, or other relatives, were known to share any information that is not mentioned in the published documents of this case?

Keeping the case alive, and someday getting the answers as to what happened to Dennis, is needed to bring closure to this grieving family.

Maybe someone can shed some new light on this cold case. It deserves to be solved, and the family needs peace.

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
09-09-2011, 09:36 AM
Based on the ages given at the time of Dennis' disappearance, the father, if living, would now be in his mid-70's. Not sure of the mother because I didn't see any age given for her in the stories, but it is assumed that if she is still alive, she would be close in age to her husband. The brother who was there would now be in his early 50's. You'd figure the grandfather, if still alive, would be around 100. Unfortunately, such a tragic event like the loss of a child may tend to shorten the lives of those who are left behind. The family was listed as being from Knoxville, but the last-name is so common that attempting to match it to those living or dead from in and around that area is quite difficult.

Trident
09-19-2011, 06:51 AM
I've read the book about disappearances in the Great Smoky Mountains, and many other books/articles about the missing. Two things stand out to me: the first being the name, Martin, but this may be a celestial fluke; secondly, I've read about cases, one I cannot find any more, where a child went missing from a church-sponsored hike. He was found quit a bit later on the side of a mountain, on rocks, and it is theorized he was taken by a cougar - one had been seen in the area - unfortunately I can't find the url right now, but will search for it.; Even back in the sixties, there were drug dealers with underground labs, etc. - they could not afford to let anyone who stumbled upon them to live.

I lean toward a cougar attack - it would have been swift, silent, and the cougar would have carried the body off to eat at its leisure. The rain did not help.

Just some opinions.

Satch
09-19-2011, 09:15 AM
I've read the book about disappearances in the Great Smoky Mountains, and many other books/articles about the missing. Two things stand out to me: the first being the name, Martin, but this may be a celestial fluke; secondly, I've read about cases, one I cannot find any more, where a child went missing from a church-sponsored hike. He was found quit a bit later on the side of a mountain, on rocks, and it is theorized he was taken by a cougar - one had been seen in the area - unfortunately I can't find the url right now, but will search for it.; Even back in the sixties, there were drug dealers with underground labs, etc. - they could not afford to let anyone who stumbled upon them to live.

I lean toward a cougar attack - it would have been swift, silent, and the cougar would have carried the body off to eat at its leisure. The rain did not help.

Just some opinions.

Hi Trident!

Welcome to the forum! That is very interesting information. Would a cougar just attack for no reason? Or maybe Dennis got too close to the animal's den in a tragic fate?

The only thing I remember hearing is that if an animal attack happens, the predator will not carry it's prey more than a couple hundred feet maximum. So if Dennis was attacked by a cougar, there would be no remains that could be found at all?

Satch

Trident
09-19-2011, 12:25 PM
Hi Trident!

Welcome to the forum! That is very interesting information. Would a cougar just attack for no reason? Or maybe Dennis got too close to the animal's den in a tragic fate?

The only thing I remember hearing is that if an animal attack happens, the predator will not carry it's prey more than a couple hundred feet maximum. So if Dennis was attacked by a cougar, there would be no remains that could be found at all?

Satch

I have in my hand the book, "Cougar Attacks", by Kathy Etling. This book lists, with some detail, all the reported cougar attacks up until 2001. I gave it a swift perusal this AM and discovered that many attacks are by healthy cats looking for a quick meal - that's why they choose women and children, less energy and risk. Also, I learned, attacks that are not witnessed, often leave nothing but clothing behind, as was the case that I stated above (still looking for the url). The cats attack, looking for prey, because they are hungry, hunting for a meal, not because anyone stumbled on their den. As for the "the predator will not carry it's prey more than a couple hundred feet maximum", can you give me a url on that? It's not that I don't believe you or the source, I just wonder what type of predator the source is referring to. If it's bears or wolves, that may be quite true; in the case of cougars, I'm not so sure.

As an aside, I believe the cougar would have been drawn to the area by the noise. Cats are nosey.

Also, as an aside wolves, despite the cosy press they've been given were, at one time, very ferocious predators, not that this bit of information has anything to do with this case, just stating facts which may fly in the face of some "experts" with a sweet bent. Predatory animals can be quite ferocious killers and I don't believe from what I've researched, one can say for sure what any one predator will do in any given situation.

On the other hand, the Martin name also has unlimited possibilities.

Sometimes I wish I could see a thing through a filtered tube, but, alas, I cannot; I see everything in most all of it's ramifications, and I know I've failed to see some of the more hidden ones. Maybe Ocam's razor is the best approach - a hungry cougar took the child, dragged him away because there was no one there to stop he/she, took him up to the den, and ate him. Someday a hiker may stumble upon the clothes, or not, because it has been a very long time.

I have many books dealing with animal attacks, all kinds, should you, or anyone else, be interested. Good Lord, I spend my life researching the stranger things in life.

Thank you for the welcome.

Satch
09-19-2011, 08:56 PM
I have in my hand the book, "Cougar Attacks", by Kathy Etling. This book lists, with some detail, all the reported cougar attacks up until 2001. I gave it a swift perusal this AM and discovered that many attacks are by healthy cats looking for a quick meal - that's why they choose women and children, less energy and risk. Also, I learned, attacks that are not witnessed, often leave nothing but clothing behind, as was the case that I stated above (still looking for the url). The cats attack, looking for prey, because they are hungry, hunting for a meal, not because anyone stumbled on their den. As for the "the predator will not carry it's prey more than a couple hundred feet maximum", can you give me a url on that? It's not that I don't believe you or the source, I just wonder what type of predator the source is referring to. If it's bears or wolves, that may be quite true; in the case of cougars, I'm not so sure.

As an aside, I believe the cougar would have been drawn to the area by the noise. Cats are nosey.

Also, as an aside wolves, despite the cosy press they've been given were, at one time, very ferocious predators, not that this bit of information has anything to do with this case, just stating facts which may fly in the face of some "experts" with a sweet bent. Predatory animals can be quite ferocious killers and I don't believe from what I've researched, one can say for sure what any one predator will do in any given situation.

On the other hand, the Martin name also has unlimited possibilities.

Sometimes I wish I could see a thing through a filtered tube, but, alas, I cannot; I see everything in most all of it's ramifications, and I know I've failed to see some of the more hidden ones. Maybe Ocam's razor is the best approach - a hungry cougar took the child, dragged him away because there was no one there to stop he/she, took him up to the den, and ate him. Someday a hiker may stumble upon the clothes, or not, because it has been a very long time.

I have many books dealing with animal attacks, all kinds, should you, or anyone else, be interested. Good Lord, I spend my life researching the stranger things in life.

Thank you for the welcome.


Greetings,

The reference that an animal generally would not carry its prey more than 100 yards is something that I read about in theories on the case. Sadly, I don't remember the URL link. Sorry!

Satch

Trident
09-20-2011, 08:54 AM
Aha, I finally found the case I was looking for:

"

The boy disappeared in October 1999 while hiking in the Comanche Peak Wilderness Area (pictured, left) with a church group and authorities believed he was grabbed by a mountain lion while running along the trail alone, although no evidence of a lion attack was ever found."
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/2270799/detail.html

There are several other articles which allude to a cougar attack, and after reading all the facts - some saw a cougar in the area - it seems a very reasonable assumption. This is a very sad, but interesting case. I believe it's probably what happened to the Martin child, but that's only my opinion.

Cincinnati Kid
09-20-2011, 09:56 AM
All theories on this disappeance are of interest and should be considered. However, although a cougar may silently attack, would not the attacked ten-year old have cried out - at least at the beginning? While the animal may have dragged the youngster for a distance, would not some of the clothing he was wearing have become torn in the attack and perhaps left behind? Also, would not his remains - including his clothing - have been discovered during the search that began shortly afterward?

Trident
09-20-2011, 12:00 PM
All theories on this disappeance are of interest and should be considered. However, although a cougar may silently attack, would not the attacked ten-year old have cried out - at least at the beginning? While the animal may have dragged the youngster for a distance, would not some of the clothing he was wearing have become torn in the attack and perhaps left behind? Also, would not his remains - including his clothing - have been discovered during the search that began shortly afterward?

Oh, I totally agree that all theories should be considered, especially (to me) the coincidence of both families being named Martin. What are the odds against that? They would be astronomical, I imagine, but in quite of few of these cases here, there are strange coincidences. I believe the Bible tells us we are put here for God's pleasure/enjoyment/entertainment, not sure of the exact word, but I often think these "quirks" are thrown in for someone's amusement.

Whether or not Dennis cried out, I have no idea. If the attack was swift enough he may not have had a chance.

In the case I referenced earlier, there were clothes found 3-4 years later, and then a skull, in a place where rescuers had to climb on hands and knees.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/2260533/detail.html
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/2257430/detail.html

Of course, someone could have lured Dennis away, but once again, I believe the odds of a predatory human just happening to stumble upon a vulnerable child in a huge national park would be off the charts, not impossible, because nothing ever is, but very much against it.

Has anyone kept track of either of these families? Just curious if any other strange things have happened to them.

All posts are my opinion only

Cincinnati Kid
09-20-2011, 03:01 PM
I don't recall reading where clothing and/or a skull found 3-4 years later was determined to be from Dennis Martin. Anybody know? He was reported as wearing a red t-shirt on the day he disappeared. To my knowledge, that was never found.

Satch
09-20-2011, 07:25 PM
Oh, I totally agree that all theories should be considered, especially (to me) the coincidence of both families being named Martin. What are the odds against that? They would be astronomical, I imagine, but in quite of few of these cases here, there are strange coincidences. I believe the Bible tells us we are put here for God's pleasure/enjoyment/entertainment, not sure of the exact word, but I often think these "quirks" are thrown in for someone's amusement.

Whether or not Dennis cried out, I have no idea. If the attack was swift enough he may not have had a chance.

In the case I referenced earlier, there were clothes found 3-4 years later, and then a skull, in a place where rescuers had to climb on hands and knees.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/2260533/detail.html
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/2257430/detail.html

Of course, someone could have lured Dennis away, but once again, I believe the odds of a predatory human just happening to stumble upon a vulnerable child in a huge national park would be off the charts, not impossible, because nothing ever is, but very much against it.

Has anyone kept track of either of these families? Just curious if any other strange things have happened to them.

All posts are my opinion only

The thing is though in the swiftest of attacks, let's assume an animal attack, I think there would be clothes that would be found. Clothes would not be taken back to an animal den. They would be scattered in fragments. Even if blood was washed away from the two big storms in the Dennis Martin case, it just seems that saturated clothes would be found, and they were not.

John Doe who claimed he saw a human skeletal remains of a child several years later, was not verified by other sources. The remains, he claimed were found near "Treamont's Big Hollow." Just for reference, how far is "Tremont's Big Hollow" from where Dennis went missing.

For those who believe the skeleton story, most think it was Dennis' remains. However, many don't believe the skeleton story, so they consider it moot. I would love to hear from the lead Forrest Ranger and investigator for his own thoughts about that skeleton.

Trident, what are your thoughts on the child's shoe print resembling Dennis, found where Dennis was last seen? The prints were found near a river, but the trace of them was lost near a bush. I still lean towards Dennis drowning or falling into an area that was unsearchable, for instance an underground pit or canyon.

If the skeleton story is true, hard to believe that after all these years that it took say three for four years to find it, consider the impact of the thousands of miles that were searched. (Unless weather erosion, brought the remains from underground to an above ground area.) Also hard to believe that Joe Doe would wait till 1985 to report it because of him hunting guinsing, a misdemeanor offense. No way he would be prosecuted, if he had found evidence that could bring closure to this case!

Satch

Trident
09-21-2011, 12:26 AM
I don't recall reading where clothing and/or a skull found 3-4 years later was determined to be from Dennis Martin. Anybody know? He was reported as wearing a red t-shirt on the day he disappeared. To my knowledge, that was never found.

No, it wasn't Dennis Martin, it was another child in Colorado. I was comparing the two cases. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

In the case I referenced earlier, there were clothes found 3-4 years later, and then a skull, in a place where rescuers had to climb on hands and knees.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news...33/detail.html
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news...30/detail.html

Cincinnati Kid
09-21-2011, 01:09 PM
I still feel a predator is possible in this case. I really don't feel that predators just stumble into something (such as being in that point in the Smoky Mountains at that time). Through trial and error, such individuals learn where they might find a child alone and prepare for such encounters in advance. It could be in a shopping mall, a schoolyard or a national park. Criminal activity - even that so heartbreaking as what the predator deals in - knows no boundries.

Trident
09-21-2011, 01:41 PM
I still feel a predator is possible in this case. I really don't feel that predators just stumble into something (such as being in that point in the Smoky Mountains at that time). Through trial and error, such individuals learn where they might find a child alone and prepare for such encounters in advance. It could be in a shopping mall, a schoolyard or a national park. Criminal activity - even that so heartbreaking as what the predator deals in - knows no boundries.

So, you are thinking a child predator, a two-legged pedophile, was wandering around the Great Smokey Mountains National Park on a rainy day and just happened to luck out when Dennis seperated from the other children, grabbed him within hearing-distance of several children and adults, and dragged him off?

I don't mean to make light of your ideas, they are yours, and I respect them; God knows, you could be right - it just seems to me the odds are so long against that happening. I believe the park had many more four-legged predators, at least at that time, than it did two-legged ones. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the human predator theory.

On that same note, and I admitted you could be krect, and me wrong. Do you know how many murders happened in that park in a rough time period of, say ten years? I know there have been several murders there, but the ones I've read about happened at night, to people camping out.

Cincinnati Kid
09-21-2011, 09:43 PM
I think we respect each other's theories and opinions. If you read the previous posts here, you will note that I gave this possibility some time back and even pointed out how it might have been carried out. My main feeling for this is that in the 42 years since it happened, no trace of the young man (body, clothing, etc.) has ever been found. One reason could be that he was totally removed from that area.

Just a few other thoughts. There was a report some distance from the boy's last-known location that what was believed to be a child's cry was heard and a strange looking man was seen right afterward. With regards to rain, no rain began to fall in the area until some time after the Martin youth was last seen. It might be pointed out - as I did in an earlier post here - that the boy's parents have expressed their belief that he was abducted.

With these thoughts in mind, I think the possibility of abduction should, at least, be considered.

Satch
09-23-2011, 07:00 AM
I think we respect each other's theories and opinions. If you read the previous posts here, you will note that I gave this possibility some time back and even pointed out how it might have been carried out. My main feeling for this is that in the 42 years since it happened, no trace of the young man (body, clothing, etc.) has ever been found. One reason could be that he was totally removed from that area.

Just a few other thoughts. There was a report some distance from the boy's last-known location that what was believed to be a child's cry was heard and a strange looking man was seen right afterward. With regards to rain, no rain began to fall in the area until some time after the Martin youth was last seen. It might be pointed out - as I did in an earlier post here - that the boy's parents have expressed their belief that he was abducted.

With these thoughts in mind, I think the possibility of abduction should, at least, be considered.

The reports are that Dennis was last seen between 3-4 PM, and that a man heard a "sickening scream" about 7PM. He thought it might have been a child scream, but could not pinpoint an exact time frame. The witness and his family who heard the scream were about 9 miles away from where Dennis was last seen. (Investigators discounted the scream because they claimed the distance was too far from where Dennis was last seen.)

Many claim the witness heard an animal, some say a Bobcat. About three minutes later the same witness saw the unkempt man moving in the direction where the scream was heard. The witness who was camping with his family did not know about the search for Dennis until after he returned home and than reported what he had seen/heard.

I don't think the unkempt man is related to Dennis' case. If he had taken Dennis, wouldn't it be likely that he would have had the boy with him?

I still want to find out where John Doe's skeleton was found. It was said near Tremont's Big Hollow. But how far was that from where Dennis went missing? For those who believe his story, and some do, and others don't. It would be helpful to get that location of the skeleton.

A child's shoe print, was found about 3 miles from where Dennis was last seen about 2-3 days after Dennis went missing and after at least one major storm had already been in the area, hampering the rescue operation. Investigators had already been in that area, but the rescue team did not include children. (Presumably who would wear that kind of shoe.)

Also for study, under normal quiet weather conditions and conversation is how long could Dennis Martin have traveled to be out of hearing distance for a call for help? Investigators have said the sound of strong wind, or a roaring creek, could drown out a child's distress cries as little as 10 feet away. Thicket and underbrush could possibly miss a small child, hiding as little as 5 feet away!

I read that a plane went down in the Smokies once, and it took a year to find the remains. I think the lead forest ranger on the case said that.

Satch

Satch
09-24-2011, 11:53 PM
Here are a bunch of newspaper clippings on the case that someone blogged. There is some inaccurate information, of June 12-13th, 1969 as the dates of the articles in the blog. Dennis went missing on June 14, 1969. One of the articles mistakes his age as 8 instead of just turning 7 a week before.

I read most of them. The only thing in one of them was that one rescuer said that a couple of times he had to fend off snakes. In summation, they talk about the bad weather and rough terrain. Post if anything new comes about. At least it's good to have some news clips in one place:

http://coldcaseshardcopy.blogspot.com/2011/07/missing-in-smoky-mountains-dennis.html

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
09-26-2011, 10:05 AM
Those articles are of interest. In looking at those from the immediate days after the boy went missing, searchers are optimistic, which is sad now when you know nothing was found. I wonder what kind of coverage the Knoxville News Sentinel had on this story when you figure it's close to the Smokies and the family was from that city?

I noted the reference to how long it took to find a plane that had gone down in the Smokies to show how hard it could be to find a small child.

While the heavy rain that moved into that area has been blamed for making it harder to find traces of the Martin child, I wonder if that may have caused more direct problems for him? This isn't discounting the possibility that he may have been abducted, but if the boy was there when the rain began and then poured heavily, he may have sought somewhere to keep dry. This could have caused him to stray into a dangerous place where wild animals lurked or caused him to be further cut off from searchers. Might a child of that age, who was alone and certainly frightened, panicked when the heavy rains came and ran over a cliff, fallen into a ravine or an opening of some kind?

Satch
09-26-2011, 06:04 PM
Those articles are of interest. In looking at those from the immediate days after the boy went missing, searchers are optimistic, which is sad now when you know nothing was found. I wonder what kind of coverage the Knoxville News Sentinel had on this story when you figure it's close to the Smokies and the family was from that city?

I noted the reference to how long it took to find a plane that had gone down in the Smokies to show how hard it could be to find a small child.

While the heavy rain that moved into that area has been blamed for making it harder to find traces of the Martin child, I wonder if that may have caused more direct problems for him? This isn't discounting the possibility that he may have been abducted, but if the boy was there when the rain began and then poured heavily, he may have sought somewhere to keep dry. This could have caused him to stray into a dangerous place where wild animals lurked or caused him to be further cut off from searchers. Might a child of that age, who was alone and certainly frightened, panicked when the heavy rains came and ran over a cliff, fallen into a ravine or an opening of some kind?

Good thoughts!

I think back to a post that someone made on the board that as his Dad and others started calling out to him, Dennis to be funny, could have moved further and further away, focusing on being funny, losing awareness of his surroundings and either fell someplace, or got lost someplace.

It's really sad that if the family had set some important ground rules before going up to Smokies for the children. "We all stay together, because the Mountains are a dangerous place. No one goes off alone." Little Dennis would still be alive.

I'll bet that NONE of the surviving Martin family members, as painful as it may be to go back to the Smokies, travel alone in the mountains anymore. Maybe after the months and months and months of searching, they don't go up there anymore.

I can't imagine Dennis' poor siblings or whoever told him to take a different route so his bright shirt would not be seen when coming around to scare the adults. Just devastating for them.

Satch

Trident
09-29-2011, 07:13 AM
A couple of days ago I authored a long post which "disappeared", LOL, stuff happens. Since then I've been too bummed out to try replicating it.

This case is old, very old, forty and more years old. There is no way of knowing what, exactly happened to the child, UNLESS someone finds some evidence. Cinn Kid has a human predator theory, Satch???, and i believe he was taken by a cougar. Has anyone been in contact with an official/family member? Has anyone done any searching on their own - not that I'm recommending it - just asking? How would anyone "solve" this case after so many years? It is interesting to conjecture about it, but how would we ever prove the truth?

Cincinnati Kid
09-29-2011, 08:47 AM
One way would be the discovery of remains that through D.N.A. testing would show the identity. If these were found in the Smokies and it would be the Martin youth, it would be a good indication that he perished there although an exact cause of death after all of the years might be difficult. Showing it was an abduction might be more difficult unless the person responsible makes some kind of a death bed confession that might be somehow verified. I think the parents and brother may still be living, but I haven't heard about them being contacted by anyone (media, for example) who would make their current feelings known.

Satch
09-29-2011, 05:48 PM
One way would be the discovery of remains that through D.N.A. testing would show the identity. If these were found in the Smokies and it would be the Martin youth, it would be a good indication that he perished there although an exact cause of death after all of the years might be difficult. Showing it was an abduction might be more difficult unless the person responsible makes some kind of a death bed confession that might be somehow verified. I think the parents and brother may still be living, but I haven't heard about them being contacted by anyone (media, for example) who would make their current feelings known.

I agree with CK,

I am split on the theories of what happened to Dennis. It varies, but is usually about 50% naturally getting lost or injured, 30% animal predator, 20% abduction.

A part of that 50% is Dennis falling into a land structure or water structure which would be non-investigatable by the rescue team. I agree with CK that without the presence of evidence, which could be tested with DNA, I believe that we will never know what happened to little Dennis Martin because of the age of this case.

If that skeleton story were true, and I am on the fence as to whether I believe it or not, had those bones been analyzed for Dennis' DNA and if it would have been shown to be his, we could than assume what park investigators believe. Dennis got lost, and perished in the wild. The bones could have been brought up from a land or water surface due to erosion and weathering after all these years. Even if DNA showed this, will still would likely never know the paths he took, exactly how long he survived before he died.

If that skeleton story is a hoax, which CK believes, or the bones would not match Dennis' DNA, we are back to square one. Going on an abduction theory is possible, but after all these years, to have no clues, no ransom notes. In one of the stories, there was some communication between the Martins and another man who participated with them in the search, and the FBI as I recall suggested a "watch" on this person, according to the Martin family. I am not sure, but believe this is how the Martin's arrived at the theory that their son had been abducted.

Interviews with living family members or relatives I think would be needed. If someone saw something on that day that could give clues as to a resolution of this case, it would put to rest a 40+ year old mystery.

If Dennis Martin's death was not due to a natural parishment or animal attack, it would have to be by human cause. I could see how all three options could be possibilities.

Satch

Satch
09-30-2011, 08:10 AM
I agree with CK,

I am split on the theories of what happened to Dennis. It varies, but is usually about 50% naturally getting lost or injured, 30% animal predator, 20% abduction.

A part of that 50% is Dennis falling into a land structure or water structure which would be non-investigatable by the rescue team. I agree with CK that without the presence of evidence, which could be tested with DNA, I believe that we will never know what happened to little Dennis Martin because of the age of this case.

If that skeleton story were true, and I am on the fence as to whether I believe it or not, had those bones been analyzed for Dennis' DNA and if it would have been shown to be his, we could than assume what park investigators believe. Dennis got lost, and perished in the wild. The bones could have been brought up from a land or water surface due to erosion and weathering after all these years. Even if DNA showed this, will still would likely never know the paths he took, exactly how long he survived before he died.

If that skeleton story is a hoax, which CK believes, or the bones would not match Dennis' DNA, we are back to square one. Going on an abduction theory is possible, but after all these years, to have no clues, no ransom notes. In one of the stories, there was some communication between the Martins and another man who participated with them in the search, and the FBI as I recall suggested a "watch" on this person, according to the Martin family. I am not sure, but believe this is how the Martin's arrived at the theory that their son had been abducted.

Interviews with living family members or relatives I think would be needed. If someone saw something on that day that could give clues as to a resolution of this case, it would put to rest a 40+ year old mystery.

If Dennis Martin's death was not due to a natural parishment or animal attack, it would have to be by human cause. I could see how all three options could be possibilities.

Satch

I am studying this case in small bits and pieces just to see if anything sticks out from the smallest piece of evidence. Right now, I know that many don't believe the skeleton find. But, let's assume that this evidence is true. The John Doe report says that the "skull of a small child was found near Tremont's Big Hollow." Still trying to find out how far Tremont's Big Hollow is from the area where Dennis was last seen.

I know many might think after all these years, how could you draw any conclusions from that? Skeptics would say after all these years and how those areas were searched and re-searched, how a skull could be missed?

But really when you get down to it, if that skull story is true, what is so sad is that to my knowledge that is the ONLY piece of evidence that could have been the Martin boy, and that's going on a belief in a John Doe story, that has understandable skepticism in the first place.

It would be interesting to hear what the deputy ranger has to say about John Doe and the skeleton. We know that no remains were never actually found, but for John Doe to give out at least a location "Tremont's Big Hollow." might be something we can put with the scream 7-9 miles away that the witness heard later on the evening that Dennis disappeared, as well as the child-type shoe-print found about 2.5-3 miles out a few days into the search.

Is there any association or geometric relationship between known or rumored places where Dennis could have gone? If those proximities could be mapped out, for example let's do a time interval to illustrate:

By average approximation, within a 5 minute period of time from the Spence Field Appalachian Trial going I believe it was Northeast? I know the other children went in the opposite direction. How many different directions or hazards would there be in those directions? Are we talking about 5 different routes, 10, 20, 50 or more?

I looked at some of those pictures and I would get lost just looking at them! We have to study the most logical areas or hazards within the areas of distance that would take the smallest amount of time to get to first.

Than, I would say, work your way outward from the smallest directional areas. The more different directions Dennis could have gone, unfortunately, the greater likelihood that some evidence was missed along the way.

I still think that if it had not rained several hours later that evening and into the night, that perhaps evidence could have been picked up. Does anyone know during what point of the search the bloodhounds were brought in? (Normally, the Smokies do not allow dogs to be brought into the park.)

The strongest evidence, I think would be within those first 5-10 minutes that Dennis vanished up to just before the first night storm. The rain either destroyed or altered probable evidence.

Satch

PS. Went back to check:

The skeleton was alleged to be found by John Doe 3-3.5 miles away from where Dennis was last seen, and in the same direction as the Oxford Shoe Print.

The scream the witness heard was about 7-9 miles from where Dennis was last seen.

dogperson
09-30-2011, 01:17 PM
I think I'm a little confused about why the child's skull report might have been a hoax? I respect all opinions, I just can't seem to find that theory in this thread. If I were the man who reported it, I would have been afraid to make up a story about finding a skeleton & not reporting it many years earlier.
If this story is true then I think it must have been Dennis. Too much coincidence for it not to be. My own personal primary theory is that he somehow got disoriented or decided to hide, as another person mentioned, and did not answer people calling for him, and somehow got turned around & ended up deeper in the woods.
I guess a kidnapper/pedophile could have been lurking since there were kids there. Just wondering how he/she might have subdued or coerced Dennis into going with them.

Cincinnati Kid
10-01-2011, 12:38 AM
It would be interesting to find how far it is from Spence Field where Dennis was last seen to Tremont's Big Hollow where the skull was allegedly seen. It probably takes getting a detailed map of the Smokey Mountains in order to try and plot the mileage. I tried downloading one on the computer only to have it lock up on me. Looking at something like that is probably best done from a map you could view in person.

I still question that any remains were found by the individual as he said. As I noted previously, he waited some years before saying anything and gave the reason that he was doing something illegal at the time of the discovery. If you reported something as important as that, you would not have had to to say what you were doing. All attention would be to what he found not want he was doing when he found it.

Hoax or not, knowing the distance between the two locations would further help to determine if it was reasonable that the child could have covered that much distance.

Satch
10-01-2011, 08:18 AM
It would be interesting to find how far it is from Spence Field where Dennis was last seen to Tremont's Big Hollow where the skull was allegedly seen. It probably takes getting a detailed map of the Smokey Mountains in order to try and plot the mileage. I tried downloading one on the computer only to have it lock up on me. Looking at something like that is probably best done from a map you could view in person.

I still question that any remains were found by the individual as he said. As I noted previously, he waited some years before saying anything and gave the reason that he was doing something illegal at the time of the discovery. If you reported something as important as that, you would not have had to to say what you were doing. All attention would be to what he found not want he was doing when he found it.

Hoax or not, knowing the distance between the two locations would further help to determine if it was reasonable that the child could have covered that much distance.

Hi CK,

Did you see the post I edited above? The alleged remains were found 3-3.5 miles away from where Dennis was last seen, in the same direction as the shoe print, and 7-9 miles away from the scream heard by the witness on the evening that Dennis vanished.

A good observation about the shoe print. We know it was found several days into the search. We know that at least one vicious storm penetrated the area that first night, and there were 2-3 more storms in the days and weeks that followed. One report cited fog in the area as well.

Investigators IIRC thought that the shoe print tracks had been made at last one day after Dennis disappeared. He vanished on a Saturday, they believe the tracks were made on a Sunday. I believe their approximate location was around or near the West Prong River. What is the distance relationship to this river in reference to the Appalachian Trial at Spence Field where Dennis got lost?

We have reports that when investigators tried to follow the "one-shoe on, one-show off," prints, that the stopped near a branch. If this river was in close proximity, and if indeed those child's shoe prints were Dennis', that could lead to a drowning being very possible. Downstream current over time and erosion could have carried Dennis' remains several miles.

A Geologist might be able to study how far river rapids could carry the remains of a body or bone structure from its original entry point. This is one theory that could possibly explain the skeletal remains if the skull story is true.

Furthermore, in a river-hazard situation, strong undertows, whirlpools, current speed and velocity could create huge insurmountable odds for almost anyone in a very short period of time, especially a panicked small child who is lost. Strong currents could have lured Dennis away within minutes. This could have happened tragically before even a beginning rescue operation was attempted.

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
10-01-2011, 11:11 AM
Maybe the print found was from Dennis. Falling into that river and with the waters probably moving swifter because of the recent heavy rainfall may well have resulted in the child's demise and make the finding of his body all the more difficult.

You do wonder what may have caused the boy to venture so far from where he had become separated from his family. Of course, becoming lost in such an area can make much older people panic and do many things much less a child of his age.

Satch
10-02-2011, 04:02 AM
Maybe the print found was from Dennis. Falling into that river and with the waters probably moving swifter because of the recent heavy rainfall may well have resulted in the child's demise and make the finding of his body all the more difficult.

You do wonder what may have caused the boy to venture so far from where he had become separated from his family. Of course, becoming lost in such an area can make much older people panic and do many things much less a child of his age.

Good point,

And to a little kid, perhaps someone who had a documented disability, they don't see the dangers of the Smokies, and would probably not have the time or knowledge to react in a dangerous situation. Even an experienced older person could have trouble and get lost in such a wilderness area.

Knowing how many scattered directions a little kid can run at once, and considering that perhaps everything that Dennis thought on that tragic day was on scaring the family and NOT his surroundings, he could have treated this place like running on a playground. Small children often don't have a firm grasp of what lies ahead, around, or beneath in a future situation.

Does anyone think that the family was tragically negligent in letting the kids run up there out of site? Or do you take the position that, "No, they knew what they were doing?" Or could you say, "Times were so different back in 1969 that it is too hard to say. What would be considered neglectful now, would not be considered neglectful than?

The purpose of the above paragraph is NOT to blame anybody, but just to explore the thoughts and feelings of the children being allowed to go out of site of the adults. The Martin's sound like VERY experienced hikers and campers. It seems that the children would know the safety rules. However, it is easy for children to forget about dangerous situations when they are playing and having fun.

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
10-02-2011, 09:04 AM
It's certainly understood that this is not intended to blame anyone. Certainly the adults who were there that day have most likely blamed themselves since it happened. I just think the father and grandfather were taking a break from the hiking they had done and the youngsters still had some enery to burn off so let let them go about it.

I have never felt that "times were different" from that time to now or even the years before that and I have seen that mentioned in various posts in various places. People have disappeared since time began and these kind of incidents have unfortunately been documented for decades - just look at the postings on this board alone. I, personally, have done research for various things that required looking back in old newspapers and have found stories of crimes that are just as horrible today as they were when they happened many, many decades ago.

cj327
12-20-2011, 02:55 AM
I don't have a lot to add to this discussion, other than my experience. I grew up near the Smoky Mountains and hiked and backpacked there at least several times a year, every year. Although I have been in the vicinity of where this disappearance occurred, I don't have specific memories of that area. But I can say that the vegetation certainly changed a lot over time, so those old b&w photos linked to earlier are likely a much better representation of the conditions than a google search of Spence Field Shelter, which turns up a lot of nice color photos. The Smoky Mountains has a lot relatively young forests, as it was almost totally logged before it became a park. So at the time (1969) trees in some areas were perhaps only half as old as they are now, 42 years later

One thing I will say, in the area immediately surrounding the shelters, the brush is not as thick as it is further back in the woods. It has been beaten down by people hanging around the shelter. Lots of little trails, for sure. And the possibility of getting confused on the little trails, and lost. The kids were probably playing on these when they separated.

One thing not mentioned in this thread (unless I missed it is this): the three older kids who went one way around the parents and let Dennis go the other way ALONE....they are ultimately the ones who made the biggest mistake here. No one is of course going to place blame on these young kids, but it is likely that the parents would never have thought that they would let their little brother/cousin go off alone in the forest at age 6! I hope I never would have done that at their age, but I don't know.

I doubt the abduction theory for this simple reason: what are the odds of a kid getting lost, separating from siblings like they did, and an abductor just happening to be lurking where those kids were playing? This area is quite a hike in from the nearest road, so the abductor would have had to have been a dedicated hiker/backpacker in decent physical shape.

The abduction theory is a way that the adults in the family could have taken the guilt away from Dennis' siblings/cousins for losing him, even if it was done totally unconsciously by the adults. That would simply be human nature, protecting the kids from any guilt.

Cougars are extremely rare in that part of the country, especially back then. Bears are far, far more common. If an animal got him, it would more likely have been a bear...bears love to hang around shelters looking for food scraps. But still, bear attacks on humans are infrequent in the region, and the bear would have had to have hidden all the evidence.

I think that his getting lost is the most likely scenario. I also agree with the earlier posts about him perhaps hiding from the adults at first as part of a "game". Once he realized he was lost, he might have started hurrying...in the wrong direction. Then it would have been all over for the poor little guy. In those high-elevation areas (or "balds" on some of those peaks), the vegetation leaves gaps which sort of look like little trails. Many of these also could be wildlife paths. Also, there are various unofficial human paths. Once you get turned around once, it would be so easy to become lost among the thickets. He may have panicked then and started going even faster and gotten further away. Judging from other cases, he may have traveled several miles over a couple of days. I hate to think too much about what it would have been like.

Yes, there are caves for sure, definitely some sinkholes too. I think most of the mines are more horizontal shafts, but I don't know for sure. Not nearly as many mines as there are caves and sinkholes though. Another troubling fact is that bones don't last forever on the surface in that area. I have no data to back this up, but I would not be surprised if remains were gone after several years, simply due to animals, including small mammals.

Satch
12-20-2011, 09:51 PM
I don't have a lot to add to this discussion, other than my experience. I grew up near the Smoky Mountains and hiked and backpacked there at least several times a year, every year. Although I have been in the vicinity of where this disappearance occurred, I don't have specific memories of that area. But I can say that the vegetation certainly changed a lot over time, so those old b&w photos linked to earlier are likely a much better representation of the conditions than a google search of Spence Field Shelter, which turns up a lot of nice color photos. The Smoky Mountains has a lot relatively young forests, as it was almost totally logged before it became a park. So at the time (1969) trees in some areas were perhaps only half as old as they are now, 42 years later

One thing I will say, in the area immediately surrounding the shelters, the brush is not as thick as it is further back in the woods. It has been beaten down by people hanging around the shelter. Lots of little trails, for sure. And the possibility of getting confused on the little trails, and lost. The kids were probably playing on these when they separated.

One thing not mentioned in this thread (unless I missed it is this): the three older kids who went one way around the parents and let Dennis go the other way ALONE....they are ultimately the ones who made the biggest mistake here. No one is of course going to place blame on these young kids, but it is likely that the parents would never have thought that they would let their little brother/cousin go off alone in the forest at age 6! I hope I never would have done that at their age, but I don't know.

I doubt the abduction theory for this simple reason: what are the odds of a kid getting lost, separating from siblings like they did, and an abductor just happening to be lurking where those kids were playing? This area is quite a hike in from the nearest road, so the abductor would have had to have been a dedicated hiker/backpacker in decent physical shape.

The abduction theory is a way that the adults in the family could have taken the guilt away from Dennis' siblings/cousins for losing him, even if it was done totally unconsciously by the adults. That would simply be human nature, protecting the kids from any guilt.

Cougars are extremely rare in that part of the country, especially back then. Bears are far, far more common. If an animal got him, it would more likely have been a bear...bears love to hang around shelters looking for food scraps. But still, bear attacks on humans are infrequent in the region, and the bear would have had to have hidden all the evidence.

I think that his getting lost is the most likely scenario. I also agree with the earlier posts about him perhaps hiding from the adults at first as part of a "game". Once he realized he was lost, he might have started hurrying...in the wrong direction. Then it would have been all over for the poor little guy. In those high-elevation areas (or "balds" on some of those peaks), the vegetation leaves gaps which sort of look like little trails. Many of these also could be wildlife paths. Also, there are various unofficial human paths. Once you get turned around once, it would be so easy to become lost among the thickets. He may have panicked then and started going even faster and gotten further away. Judging from other cases, he may have traveled several miles over a couple of days. I hate to think too much about what it would have been like.

Yes, there are caves for sure, definitely some sinkholes too. I think most of the mines are more horizontal shafts, but I don't know for sure. Not nearly as many mines as there are caves and sinkholes though. Another troubling fact is that bones don't last forever on the surface in that area. I have no data to back this up, but I would not be surprised if remains were gone after several years, simply due to animals, including small mammals.

What a great post! You brought up the bones. Do you believe the story of the man who alleged he found bones in the area that resembled a small child or not? This was estimated to be a few years after Dennis disappeared. (3-5?) I am still not sure about the skeleton story. I think Dennis fell and/or drowned into an area that no rescue team could get to. I don't think he "perished on a surface." If the bones found are believable, I believe weathering erosion could have brought them to the surface.

If it was an animal attack, there would like be some horrific evidence found that the storms later that night and week could not have washed away. If a certain species of animal would have carried Dennis off to an animal den, I would consider that an inhabitable area, that rescuers may not have gone into for their own safety. I don't know how long an animal den would be a home for animals before they would go off on their own, leaving the den abandoned.

That first storm that came later that night, had that not happened, rescuers may have been able to have found out what happened to Dennis. I wonder how far Dennis could have traveled before getting lost? If an animal did not get him or he did not fall, he might have been able to survive for at best about a week. It's devastating that we may never know what really happened to little Dennis Martin.

Satch

cj327
12-21-2011, 02:47 AM
It's tough to think about what it must have been like when he realized he was lost and started looked for his family.

I don't have a good explanation for what could have happened to him. Just guesses. It is possible he could have walked very far and gotten outside of the center of the search area. It is also possible he could have fallen on the steep terrain (some areas are steep) and perhaps ended up in a crevice or under some leaves. I suspect that they would have searched around any cliffs pretty well, as those would be a serious hazard. However, dying in a flooded creek is also possible. Most of the creeks at those high elevations (where they were camping) are small, except under heavy rains. Which of course happened that night. But if he walked downhill far enough he could have gotten to a larger creek which would have been more hazardous, especially given the rain.

Another thing is that the water levels would have gone way, way down in the creeks in the summer (except for the very largest ones in the Smokies). Seems like remains might have shown up in the small to mid size creeks during dry months. But you never know. Also there are lots of hazards within the medium to larger creeks such as strainers (i.e., fallen trees in the creek that could trap a person being washed downstream), steep drops, slippery rocks, etc. Still, creeks would have been somewhat easier to search than the forest, so it seems more likely to me that he did not end up in a creek, unless it was a very large one.

I don't know exactly which animals would carry a victim back to their dens. I don't think a bear would do that. I also agree that an animal attack would have likely left some evidence, even after rain. There are not a lot of animals out there in the Smokies capable of killing and moving a boy...

I would need to do a little more reading about the finding of the bones, but like you, I am skeptical of it. It is possible I think, given the location and the timeframe (again I need to read up on it) but I still think it's unlikely. I'll post more on it later.




What a great post! You brought up the bones. Do you believe the story of the man who alleged he found bones in the area that resembled a small child or not? This was estimated to be a few years after Dennis disappeared. (3-5?) I am still not sure about the skeleton story. I think Dennis fell and/or drowned into an area that no rescue team could get to. I don't think he "perished on a surface." If the bones found are believable, I believe weathering erosion could have brought them to the surface.

If it was an animal attack, there would like be some horrific evidence found that the storms later that night and week could not have washed away. If a certain species of animal would have carried Dennis off to an animal den, I would consider that an inhabitable area, that rescuers may not have gone into for their own safety. I don't know how long an animal den would be a home for animals before they would go off on their own, leaving the den abandoned.

That first storm that came later that night, had that not happened, rescuers may have been able to have found out what happened to Dennis. I wonder how far Dennis could have traveled before getting lost? If an animal did not get him or he did not fall, he might have been able to survive for at best about a week. It's devastating that we may never know what really happened to little Dennis Martin.

Satch

summer_breeze
01-15-2012, 08:42 AM
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jan/15/status-of-earlier-cases-featured-in-this-series/

Posted January 15, 2012 at 4 a.m.

<snipped>

Dennis Martin of Knoxville

Dennis six days short of his seventh birthday when, on June 14, 1969, he vanished from a family gathering in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His disappearance sparked a search that was unprecedented in its scope, but not trace of him was ever found.

DIRK SCHILLER
01-15-2012, 12:50 PM
I do believe he was taken by a family who wanted a child or a child predator

Satch
01-15-2012, 05:16 PM
I do believe he was taken by a family who wanted a child or a child predator

It's possible,

However, my problem with an abduction is navigating the rugged terrain carrying a presumably screaming child. Unless, someone snuck up behind Dennis and put a tarp over his head or something. Tragically, this would have muffled his cries for help. While one never knows what some sick person might do, sadly, the abduction theory cannot be ruled out. Provided that you disbelieve the found skeleton story, whom many think was a fabrication.

Is the Skeleton Story mentioned in the Disappearances in the Great Smokie Mountains book, which goes into detail about the Dennis Martin case? I believe that if the skeleton story is true, that those bones were likely his. How devastating!

There is also the possibility that because Dennis' Dad said that he was not fearful of strangers, he could have been coaxed into an abduction situation. Still lean toward him falling into an unsearchable area or sadly, drowning in a river as the most probably cause of his disappearance.

It still raises the question: How many areas in the Great Smokie Mountains are places were Dennis Martin could have gotten lost or injured/died that would be impossible to search?

Satch

Bargle
01-15-2012, 08:34 PM
Is the Skeleton Story mentioned in the Disappearances in the Great Smokie Mountains book, which goes into detail about the Dennis Martin case?

Satch

No, it isn't mentioned.

DIRK SCHILLER
01-16-2012, 08:54 AM
[QUOTE=Satch;7517303]It's possible,

However, my problem with an abduction is navigating the rugged terrain carrying a presumably screaming child. Unless, someone snuck up behind Dennis and put a tarp over his head or something. Tragically, this would have muffled his cries for help. While one never knows what some sick person might do, sadly, the abduction theory cannot be ruled out. Provided that you disbelieve the found skeleton story, whom many think was a fabrication.

Is the Skeleton Story mentioned in the Disappearances in the Great Smokie Mountains book, which goes into detail about the Dennis Martin case? I believe that if the skeleton story is true, that those bones were likely his. How devastating!


well,sorry I did not read about the skeleton story,was it a DNA there?
I thought he would not have run that far playing and getting lost,most children at that age are afraid of unknown locations like forest,etc..It is very sad, poor little child.... besides my 3 years old son was abducted and his remains was never found yet
Heidi Stein

Bargle
01-16-2012, 09:24 PM
Here's a link to the story of the skeleton/bones. They were not recovered, so no DNA to test.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/jun/28/missing-dennis-martin/

Cincinnati Kid
01-19-2012, 07:16 PM
As in the previous posts I have left, I think the possibility of an abduction in this case must be considered, however remote. That feeling is based on the thought that when no body or other remains are found, it could be because the victim has been taken from the area. Even the wonderful beauty of nature (such as the Smokey Mountains) can be invaded by the type of individual who would abduct a child.

Deep diver
01-21-2012, 08:56 PM
Yes.We have in Tennesee. Snakes, Eastern Diamondback,Cooperhhead, Cottonmouth and rumor at the NC/TN Mountain state line Pigmy rattlesnakes.Spiders we have Black widows,and the brown recluse.

Satch
04-14-2012, 03:44 PM
Bumping up for Dennis.

Satch

LucyOso
04-22-2012, 12:05 AM
I know this is far away and a few years later...I apologize in advance for my picture...I am not great at them...And I think I distorted the UID's face so please see the link at Doe Network below.


21736




http://doenetwork.org/cases/626umca.html

southern_scout
05-02-2012, 11:16 AM
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120502/NEWS21/305020135/3-missing-person-cases-still-puzzle-park-officials?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Short article in the Nashville paper about Dennis, Trennie, and Polly. Glad they are still getting media attention.

Marilynilpa
05-30-2012, 11:26 PM
Thanks for the link, southern scout.

"Park spokesman Bob Miller says it’s likely the woman and the teen were either taken out of the park or left willingly. Officials think the young boy never left."

I guess that tells us the "official" position.

Cincinnati Kid
06-04-2012, 05:33 PM
I'd think that would be the "official" position.

I have heard the parents of Dennis Martin long ago indicated they feel he was abducted.

Satch
07-20-2012, 01:39 PM
My theory on the Dennis Martin case stays the same. Most likely he fell (or drowned) in an area that was unsearchable. How many areas in the Great Smokey Mountains would be like that? Likely, Dennis got lost before he injured or died in this unsearchable area. I think he perished in a river, or fell in a pit or cavern that the rescue teams could not search.

Still think an animal attack would leave evidence of some kind. If the "Skeleton Story" is true, I think those bones could have been Dennis' washed to shore over the years because of weathering and erosion, but I have doubts as to the validity of that story. If the story was bogus there was of course no skeleton in the first place.

I think the childrens' shoe print found near the bank of the West-Prong River could have been his. (The imprint showed a one shoe on-one shoe off pattern and it resembled the type of shoes Dennis was last seen wearing.) They should have investigated the area where the print was found better. The scream a witness heard about nine miles from where Dennis was last seen, and the Mountain Man "Moonshiner" guy he saw a few minutes later, I don't think are connected to the case.

Satch

Satch
11-13-2012, 06:50 AM
My theory on the Dennis Martin case stays the same. Most likely he fell (or drowned) in an area that was unsearchable. How many areas in the Great Smokey Mountains would be like that? Likely, Dennis got lost before he injured or died in this unsearchable area. I think he perished in a river, or fell in a pit or cavern that the rescue teams could not search.

Still think an animal attack would leave evidence of some kind. If the "Skeleton Story" is true, I think those bones could have been Dennis' washed to shore over the years because of weathering and erosion, but I have doubts as to the validity of that story. If the story was bogus there was of course no skeleton in the first place.

I think the childrens' shoe print found near the bank of the West-Prong River could have been his. (The imprint showed a one shoe on-one shoe off pattern and it resembled the type of shoes Dennis was last seen wearing.) They should have investigated the area where the print was found better. The scream a witness heard about nine miles from where Dennis was last seen, and the Mountain Man "Moonshiner" guy he saw a few minutes later, I don't think are connected to the case.

Satch

Bumping up for Dennis,

What do you guys think? How many areas could there have been where Dennis could have fallen, or drowned that were not searchable? I know the search and rescue team was massive. But I think what happened to him, sadly happened very quickly.

The Martin family to this day believes Dennis was abducted. Does the family have evidence of this? AFAIK, there were no calls or ransom notes as evidence of a kidnapping. I think I read once that they were "suspicious" of another person who had been on the mountain with them, but I don't know the validity of that information. I know that Federal investigators got involved. This was HUGE. What's been learned over the years, that may not have been a part of the original investigation?

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
11-24-2012, 05:31 PM
I wonder if the family ever gave any information to the authorities as to who they feel might have been responsible for Dennis' disappearance? I think any stream or body of water was some distance from where he first went missing so if he did drown or was swept way I think that most likely would have been some period of time after the search began.

There have been prior mentions on this post about Dennis falling into an area that could not be searched. I've always thought having such a dangerous place such as that would have been something park officials would have attempted to close off prior to this hapening.

Would federal authorities have become involved in this matter because the child disappeared in a national (as opposed to state) park?

nerosleuth
11-26-2012, 09:00 PM
Would federal authorities have become involved in this matter because the child disappeared in a national (as opposed to state) park?

It is my understanding from an 2009 Knoxville newspaper article on the 40th anniversary of Dennis Martin's disappearance in 1969 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was briefly involved, but the FBI concluded that it didn't have sufficient evidence to launch an complete investigation.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/jun/28/missing-dennis-martin/?print=1

I'm guessing that in 1969 the FBI didn't just have any evidence that a crime took place at the national park. I believe the policy back then was that a crime had to be committed which went across a state line before the FBI would actually become involved.

Since the FBI felt there wasn't any evidence of a kidnapping or someone being taken across state lines, I believe this prevented the FBI from becoming fully involved in the disappearance of Dennis Martin.

I don't know if the FBI is still restricted by this same policy today if the same situation occurs again at a national park involving a child.

Cincinnati Kid
11-29-2012, 02:43 PM
You do wonder why the parents expressed the feelings that Dennis was abducted and, per an earlier post here, may have indicated a specific individual who may have been responsible.

Certainly the father and grandfather who were with Dennis and the others there that day must have always felt responsible for what happened. Sadly, they must have replayed the events leading up to his disappearance countless times in their minds.

Satch
12-02-2012, 08:37 PM
You do wonder why the parents expressed the feelings that Dennis was abducted and, per an earlier post here, may have indicated a specific individual who may have been responsible.

Certainly the father and grandfather who were with Dennis and the others there that day must have always felt responsible for what happened. Sadly, they must have replayed the events leading up to his disappearance countless times in their minds.

Good point,

And I think I remember from a previous article or post, someone had mentioned that the adults were familiar with what the kids were doing. The article said something like, "It was a plan that was hatched several times before." The plan, if that quote is true, that the adults knew the children had played hide and seek around Spense Field before. If Dennis and the boys knew the area well enough from past outings, with Dennis going one way and the rest of the kids going another way, it could lead strength to an abduction theory.

My understanding is that this outing outing was Dennis' first over-nighter in the Smokies, but I do not recall any information that said this was the first time Dennis had been camping in the mountains. His father said that Dennis had camping and hiking experience.

The whole tragedy began, because someone in the group of kids, told Dennis he should go another way because his bright-red shirt would make him easy to spot before he could sneak up on the adults. Oh the pain for whoever said that to Dennis all these years! I can't imagine that! It probably still haunts him/those who told Dennis to go a different way to this day.

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
12-05-2012, 09:23 AM
It's just the mention of Dennis wearing a "bright red shirt" that makes you start wondering how he was lost so quickly from view. How did it happen?

Did he make the wrong turn that took him away from the group? Where did it lead? Toward and into a dangerous area? Into the path of an animal or an abductor of some sort? Off on a whimsy of his own that took him quickly away from the others that he could not find his way back?

We think back to that day of so long ago and wonder what it could have been.

Satch
02-19-2013, 12:28 AM
Here's a blog on missing persons, scroll down a bit and it talks about Dennis' case:

http://raven-talesoftheweird.blogspot.com/2012/09/missing-persons.html

Satch

Satch
02-19-2013, 01:08 AM
A HUGE PDF file found on-line of the chronology of events in Dennis' case from the Park Service can be found here:

http://web.knoxnews.com/pdf/062109martinreport.pdf

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
02-21-2013, 10:05 AM
Interesting that toward the end of the file from the Park Service there is information said to be from Jeanne Dixon and others who have provided information on the whereabouts the Martin boy.

Satch
02-22-2013, 12:56 AM
Hi All,

Hope you found the above link helpful! There is so much there! It really draws you into how the search was done in a narrative-type style.

I still tend to agree with park officials. Dennis wandered off and got lost. Possibly, as his name was being called out by his father, as part of the "joke" Dennis decided on his own accord to go further and further away from the clear camp area and perished in the woods. The sound of many things, such as a creek or stream would tragically drown out his cries for help. My theory for Dennis naturally getting lost unfortunately also takes into account the possibility of serious injury or death if Dennis fell into a pit or a cavern. How do we know he hid behind a bush? Some accounts say this on the case, others do not.

However, I am open to other theories such as an abduction or animal prey. This is why I tend to go against those theories:

If it was abduction: How far would the kidnapper have to go with Dennis to get to a main road or clearing? The terrain would be very rocky, very bumpy and dangerous just from natural elements of the wilderness. A get-away with a car would require walking a long, long distance. It is possible, but its just not what would be the most convenient kidnapping. Wouldn't there be evidence? A ransom note? Calls to LE, tips?

If Dennis was abducted with no evidence of ransom or phone calls, could someone have abducted him because they were looking for a child to raise? Tragically, Dennis was not apprehensive of strangers. Even worse, if he was killed by some sick pedophile. What is still unknown is why the Martin family suspects an abduction and specifically names people in the park service report who may have been involved, but the reason why is "unknown."

If Dennis was the victim of an animal attack: It would seem that there would be some evidence found. Considering the massive search of the thousands and thousands of terrain that was searched. There would be fragments of clothing, bones, skin, something that could be traced back to an animal. I understand that park officials tested all animal waste a few days into the search. Nothing was found.

I think that shoe print found at or near the River bank that resembled a child's shoe could have been Dennis'. If the skeleton story is true, and the remains were of a small child, I think it also was likely him. I would be interested in knowing how much credit if any park personnel gave to the skeleton story? This could have solved the case!

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
02-22-2013, 10:17 AM
If I'm correct, the "skeleton story" came to light some months after Dennis disappeared and from someone who gave what I feel was a weak excuse for not reporting it at the time.

While the Smoky Mountains may not be considered a likely location for a predator to seek a victim, I don't think it can be counted out completely. Based on the history of such crimes, there are some who have no intention of seeking any ransom, but just want a young person for their uses. Thus no contact afterward.

The shoe print that was found does have some merit. Unfortunately, the heavy rains in the area very soon after Dennis went missing could have erased similar markings and also caused streams to rise which may not only have wiped out other clues, but could have carried him to his demise.

BOESP
02-22-2013, 10:23 AM
Unless someone has spent time in the Smokies it would likely be hard to imagine how easily a small boy could disappear, either on his own or by abduction. I remember when this happened and there was a lot of publicity and by extension a lot of investigation. An adult could be lost forever in the Smokies, let alone a small child.

deca
02-22-2013, 07:17 PM
Nothing against the family, but it might be easier (emotionally) to think he was abducted. If your son was out there, you would be constantly tormented with the thought the he was lost and you couldn't find him. It would be a heavy burden. You might also think that your son would be savvy enough to find his way back. However, if an abductor had him and took him, nearly the whole matter would be out of your hands: all the blame would be on the perp. Just speculating here.

I think he is still in the woods. For anyone who has spent some time around forested areas- there doesn't need to be a deep hole to get lost. Lots of little branches, big branches, shrubs, trees and decades of composting leaves make a lot of little hidey holes that are a few feet deep. Next time you are out in one of these places, throw a tennis ball into the woods, turn around, walk back and try to find it. If it has fallen into one of these leaf piles you won't be able to find it until you are on top of it. Even if animals were to have gotten to him eventually I think his remains might still be extremely well hidden (sorry to be crude but underbrush could be growing up through them).
Add to that, the sheer amount of terrain to cover- the rocks, outcroppings, downed trees, etc. that all make a good place for something to intentionally or unintentionally hide.

Satch
02-25-2013, 01:01 AM
Nothing against the family, but it might be easier (emotionally) to think he was abducted. If your son was out there, you would be constantly tormented with the thought the he was lost and you couldn't find him. It would be a heavy burden. You might also think that your son would be savvy enough to find his way back. However, if an abductor had him and took him, nearly the whole matter would be out of your hands: all the blame would be on the perp. Just speculating here.

I think he is still in the woods. For anyone who has spent some time around forested areas- there doesn't need to be a deep hole to get lost. Lots of little branches, big branches, shrubs, trees and decades of composting leaves make a lot of little hidey holes that are a few feet deep. Next time you are out in one of these places, throw a tennis ball into the woods, turn around, walk back and try to find it. If it has fallen into one of these leaf piles you won't be able to find it until you are on top of it. Even if animals were to have gotten to him eventually I think his remains might still be extremely well hidden (sorry to be crude but underbrush could be growing up through them).
Add to that, the sheer amount of terrain to cover- the rocks, outcroppings, downed trees, etc. that all make a good place for something to intentionally or unintentionally hide.

I agree!

I get lost just looking at the pictures of the Smokey Mountains! Nothing against the family for what I am about to ask, but I always believed that having very young children, Dennis being just shy of seven years old and his brother Doug at age nine, do you think that they would have been awfully young to be roaming around unsupervised?

I am trying to picture in my mind the distance from where the adults were to wear the kids were playing and how many places the children could have dropped out of site. It seems that the Martin family and Dennis himself had hiking experience, so it would have been interesting to know how many times when the family visited The Smokies before, he had wandered off in the direction where he got lost.

I believe that as his name was being called, Dennis ventured farther and farther away, initially as part of the prank to scare the adults. I also have over the years tried to visualize how far he could have gone distance-wise in such a short time? You hear stories about kids that are seemingly left alone for a few moments and than they shockingly turn up a mile or more away. I am speaking theoretically, but little kids can and do take off like a shot in the blink of an eye with often more spirited energy than most adults. Dennis could have traveled much farther than imagined and without any way to get help in sight, he tragically died from exposure to the elements.

One of the stories about the Martin case, cited a plane that went down in the Smokies, and officials looked around for it, taking OVER a year to find the wreckage. If it takes that amount of time to find an airplane, sadly I could see where a lost child may never be found.

Satch

dogperson
02-25-2013, 02:38 PM
We were in the general area this past weekend and as always I think of Dennis when I am there. I have really always believed he accidentally got turned around somehow and ended up going deeper into the woods and ended up perishing there. If he panicked at being lost it's possible he started running, and if he were running in the wrong direction it could have put him out of earshot of his searching family and friends very quickly. Sad to think about, being lost and alone that way. I wish I believed otherwise, and certainly anything is possible, I would like to think he was okay and still with us but I don't see how unless someone took him as their own child and raised him. I think the most likely outcome was just that things went horribly wrong somehow and he was lost. I am not really a believer or follower of psychics or anything, but the lady who runs the psychic and tarot website for lost and missing people did a reading on Dennis and she said he was feeling foolish and tricked somehow, feeling like maybe he fell for some idea he shouldn't have or maybe other kids were making fun of him. I don't have the link but I think you can google "psychic tarot missing" and it will come up. Having said that, I am a Christian and honestly don't know what to think about tarot cards or anything of that nature, so use your own discretion in this matter.

Cincinnati Kid
02-26-2013, 10:11 AM
You do wonder how a young child views things if he is lost - epecially in a remote area like Dennis was. Do they panic or for a time just take in the wonder of the place that they are in? I remember when I was in boy scouts and an adult leader was explaining the best way to deal with being lost. He told us a story that when he was with an adult group and when they realized they might be lost, one of them panicked, ran hurridly off, fell and broke his leg. The leader was trying to impress the importance of being calm in such a situation. You wonder how a young child, by himself, would react?

dogperson
02-26-2013, 11:12 AM
The thing about what the psychic said got me thinking. We all realize that probably Dennis would still be with us if he had been allowed to sneak up on the adults along with the other boys instead of being sent in another direction. I'm sure that has been a difficult thing for those other children to deal with. But what I am wondering is whether Dennis was being picked on or excluded somehow. What if it wasn't really about his shirt but some kind of trick or just wanting Dennis away from them? You know sometimes how a group of kids will be playing together and then maybe some of them will gang up a bit on one of the kids, then there will generally be hurt feelings and/or crying, then an hour or so later they are all happy friends again? What if something hurt Dennis' feelings and he was unhappy about being sent in another direction and so maybe decided to hide for a while to "pay them back"? Maybe he sneaked deeper into the woods to conceal himself for a while, maybe even crying and not wanting anybody to see him, and refusing to answer the voices calling for him. He could have even decided to sneak further into the woods to prolong teaching his buddies a lesson about being mean to him and then somehow he ended up too far away or was hurt somehow and couldn't get back. It's possible that if the other kids did hurt his feelings they weren't even aware of it. I was thinking about how the description of Dennis as being a bit behind for his age might have meant he had a learning disability and you know how sometimes kids will pick on the one who is a bit different. I don't know, I just always found something a bit odd about him being sent in another direction just because he had on a red shirt. A red shirt wouldn't show up as much at dusk as a light-colored shirt would. Were the rest of them all in black or what? I just always felt like he might have been deliberately excluded or was being teased somehow, but I could be totally off the mark here.
Also the psychic mentioned him feeling foolish and like he fell for something but realized it and realized he was somewhat to blame for his situation. Could it be that the other kids sent him in a direction they thought would take him back to the campsite but instead it went in an opposite direction? She also mentioned something about his foot or leg being caught or trapped or tied somehow. As I mentioned, I don't know how much emphasis we can place on the psychic sort of thing, but suppose he did go too far in the wrong direction and hurt or broke his leg or even got his foot trapped somehow and couldn't get loose? Were there ever any problems with folks setting animal traps in those woods? A thing like that could quickly hurt and disable a small child.
As to whether a child would panic when lost, three of us girls in my family tried to take a route through the woods once and had a pretty good idea of the layout, but we still became lost in the high foliage and weeds. Two of us were teens and one was a bit younger. We all three panicked and started screaming hysterically for help because it was getting dark. A neighbor heard us and led us out. We felt stupid when we realized how close we had been all along to the main road but at least we knew to stand still and not go deeper into the woods but a younger child might not think that way..

Satch
02-26-2013, 02:57 PM
The thing about what the psychic said got me thinking. We all realize that probably Dennis would still be with us if he had been allowed to sneak up on the adults along with the other boys instead of being sent in another direction. I'm sure that has been a difficult thing for those other children to deal with. But what I am wondering is whether Dennis was being picked on or excluded somehow. What if it wasn't really about his shirt but some kind of trick or just wanting Dennis away from them? You know sometimes how a group of kids will be playing together and then maybe some of them will gang up a bit on one of the kids, then there will generally be hurt feelings and/or crying, then an hour or so later they are all happy friends again? What if something hurt Dennis' feelings and he was unhappy about being sent in another direction and so maybe decided to hide for a while to "pay them back"? Maybe he sneaked deeper into the woods to conceal himself for a while, maybe even crying and not wanting anybody to see him, and refusing to answer the voices calling for him. He could have even decided to sneak further into the woods to prolong teaching his buddies a lesson about being mean to him and then somehow he ended up too far away or was hurt somehow and couldn't get back.

Wow!!! This is really good insight! Yes, I agree with this possibility. And it doesn't quite seem right that the kids would tell Dennis to go in another direction because he had a bright red shirt on. Maybe that was the story that the kids told the adults and they printed that for the media. They would feel terrible that Dennis never came back, and I think would be unlikely to say, "We were picking on him, and told him to get lost." What a horrifying pun! That's just it, we don't know how well or not well Dennis was being treated by the other children. Dogperson, when I think about your explanation, the "go the other way because you have a bright shirt on" seems to have holes in its believability. And I have never thought of that before!

Satch

dogperson
02-27-2013, 11:13 AM
I could be off base, but it never sat right with me somehow that he was sent in a different direction alone. When I was growing up we sometimes sent the younger kids on errands or bribed them to leave us alone, we got tired of the little ones tagging along constantly. I feel bad about that now and see it differently as an adult, they just enjoyed our company and wanted to be included. We didn't even intend to be deliberately mean, we were just tired of looking out for the little ones and wanted them to go back to the house and be looked after by our parents instead of us. In Dennis' case a thing like that may have had unintended consequences and may have resulted in whatever happened to him. I want to make clear that I am in no way insinuating the older children wanted harm to come to Dennis, and I am not blaming them for his death. I am sure for all these years they have felt badly about sending him alone. It's possible they don't even remember very well the reason for sending him alone.

In looking back thru the news articles earlier in this thread, a Knoxville newspaper states that two weeks earlier a bear was set free from a wild boar trap in the general area of Spence Field, so evidently there were traps in the woods. So Dennis very well may have been caught in a trap and perished from exposure or blood loss. So very sad, what a darling little guy he was in his photos.

Cincinnati Kid
02-27-2013, 01:12 PM
How some kids treat other kids for whatever reason is probably something that has gone on for centuries. You do wonder what these youngsters thought after Dennis went missing and in the years after this as they have grown older. None of them meant any harm and certainly not that Dennis should go off and not be seen again.

It does remind me of a story from when I was young. There was a young boy who was about four or five years older than me. He was friendly and a part of the group, but had what I would now call a learning disability. Little was done then to assist such youngsters. The other boys, while not really trying to be mean, called him "Dummy". I always called him by his first-name, but once used the nick-name used by the others and my father heard me. He carefully explained (as best an adult can to a six or seven year old) in private how I should not use such a term and this boy could not help how he was. It is a lesson that I have always remembered.

dogperson
02-28-2013, 02:25 PM
I'm sure it impacted Dennis' brother the most, but I wonder what the other two boys have thought about it over the years. Or if they even really remember it? I know the parents think somebody stole him but I find that the least likely explanation. Just in my own opinion, I think the evidence overwhelmingly points to some sort of misadventure/accidental injury/getting lost and perishing in the woods.
The scream somebody heard nine miles away could very well have been an owl as some have commented on the Knoxville news article linked on the first page of this thread. Especially if the person wasn't from the area and didn't recognize what an owl would have sounded like. The shady looking character could have been in the area for a number of reasons. It could have been some guy living off the land or doing some type of poaching, running a still, tending a hidden marijuana crop, or just some guy walking the trails and camping out and therefore looking kind of rough. If he seemed like he was trying not to be seen I would suspect illegal activity but probably not kidnapping. Somebody mentioned him having a sack or bundle on his back but that could have been his camping gear or a sack full of "weed" he'd grown on government land, moonshining equipment, who knows?
If the story of the ginseng hunter is true and he did see a child's skeleton then I don't see how it could have been anyone but Dennis. In fact, I'm surprised there was anything to find a few years later when he claims to have been there, animal activity and weed growth had time to obscure and scatter the remains.
I don't know whether the kids were teasing or excluding Dennis or not, but it was a theory as to why he might have hidden for a while on purpose, or the kids may have even dared him to do something which caused him to end up in the wrong direction. Either way, they were just kids and certainly never intended for anything to happen to him. I am sure they have felt terrible about it over the years, especially his brother, that they sent him in a different direction and he was never seen again. It would be interesting if all of them were re-interviewed now to see what they still remember.

Cincinnati Kid
03-01-2013, 11:43 AM
These are all good thoughts and very possible theories. You do wonder with all of the people brought in to search for Dennis that something was not found - a shred of clothing, anything. I think when nothing is found is when thoughts of abduction come to mind. It might be considered that an abduction, if it did occur, did not have to take place with-in minutes of Dennis not being found. It could have happened later on that day or that night. His wondering could have taken him to such a person or persons rather than they coming for him. Just some thoughts on this disappearance.

Sparky
03-01-2013, 10:30 PM
Wow! I'd forgotten about Dennis until I came across this thread. I remember when he went missing. We lived in Knoxville at the time and I remember my parents talking about how they believed a bear had gotten him. I also remember going to thru Gatlinburg to the Smokies. There are pull offs to have picnics and signs telling people not to feed the bears. My dad who was an avid Hunter could always tell when a bear was around and we did encounter one at a picnic area. It's not unusual for them to come out looking for food.

I wish the family had some answers and closure.

Cincinnati Kid
03-02-2013, 08:24 AM
I feel if a bear would have gotten Dennis (and this is not pretty to think of), there would be something left at or near the scene of the attack such as clothing or human remains. Something that searchers may have come upon later. Of course, like all theories given here, it has to be considered.

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed
06-29-2013, 07:36 PM
Old cases always considered open until answers found

Dennis Lloyd Martin, Trenny Lynn Gibson and Derek Joseph Lueking — the three names represent separate open cases that began when their loved ones called Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers to report them missing.

Rangers immediately began search-and-rescue missions — missions that would never turn up any sign.

Park spokeswoman Molly Schroer said any case is considered open until there is a determination of what happened.

[snip]

One of the most well known and expensive searches was for 6-year-old Dennis Lloyd Martin of Knoxville. He was just days away from his 7th birthday but never got to celebrate with his family because he disappeared on June 14, 1969, while playing in Spence Field.

More: www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/jun/23/old-cases-always-considered-open-until-answers/ (http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/jun/23/old-cases-always-considered-open-until-answers/)

next time
01-25-2014, 11:06 PM
I have read every book and such on the Martin case
I think the ginseng guy found the boy. He didn't notify anyone till 1985
What about the FBI guy ( I think Rike) who interview Key that heard the screams- 9mi sway. He commits suicide . Why. Did he know something. That's after the special ops were in there fully armed.

Satch
02-01-2014, 07:22 PM
I have read every book and such on the Martin case
I think the ginseng guy found the boy. He didn't notify anyone till 1985
What about the FBI guy ( I think Rike) who interview Key that heard the screams- 9mi sway. He commits suicide . Why. Did he know something. That's after the special ops were in there fully armed.

This is new to me about the FBI guy who interviewed Mr Key committing suicide. I don't think the scream that Mr. Key alleged to have heard was connected to the case. For some reason I do think that:

If the bones found near Tremont Big Hollow, I believe it was called, were those of a small child according to the Ginseng guy than I think that those were Dennis' remains and he died of exposure. I still believe most likely he got lost in the park and or injured, and died there.

In my view, the marking's that resembled the child's shoe print were very likely Dennis' prints. This was a few days into the search. Dennis may have been alive for a few hours to a couple of days. Tragically, it is likely that he did not survive for for more than three days tops. I personally think that Dennis fell and got injured in an area where the rescue squads could not see him. Or he drowned in one of the rivers or lakes and got swept away.

I think Dennis when he heard the adults calling, if he was not injured right away, may have jokingly tried to run further and further away. He lost his sense of direction and likely panicked, which sadly hastened his demise. If he fell tragically, he may have been alive, but hurt for some time, but too injured to call for help.

I think the story that the other kids wanted Dennis to go another way because of his bright shirt raises doubts. I wonder if the other boys were picking on him and told him to "get lost."" In the horrifying pun that this generated, they may have decided to make up the story of telling Dennis to go another way so he could not be easily spotted, so that the adults in the group would not blame the kids for what happened as much. If the other boys actually said something like, "get lost" or "go away" to Dennis, I cannot imagine the horror and pain that they would have to live with for the rest of their lives. Feeling responsible for what happened. Poor Doug, the older brother. I can't imagine how painful this has been for the whole Martin family.

Have any of the Martins granted interviews over the years on Dennis' case? Most of the family at the time from what I read, believed he was abducted.

Satch

Cincinnati Kid
02-02-2014, 09:40 AM
To add to this, perhaps if Dennis heard the calls of those looking for him, he may have thought they were angry at him for straying away so he kept moving away from them. He may have then panicked, suffered a fall, become injured, etc. Just a thought.

killarney rose
05-23-2014, 08:33 AM
A new article today.

http://www.wbir.com/story/news/local/2014/05/22/dennis-martin-missing-45-years/9405607/

Cincinnati Kid
05-24-2014, 10:20 AM
You do think about the heavy rain that fell in the hours after Dennis was lost. Not only did that hamper the search, but it may that have washed away some traces of where he had been and certainly caused the streams in that area to become more treacherous.

Tulessa
05-24-2014, 11:54 AM
I don't understand why a Bobcat hasn't been considered to be the source of the scream, instead of an owl? This scream is terrifying, and will male the hairs on your arms stand up. I have heard it on several occasions. living in the Appalachians, and it's terrifying, If you don't know the source. I have heard every owl scream in these woods, and I'm more inclined to think it is the cat.

VolunteerJim
06-22-2014, 09:07 PM
I was on that search 45 years ago. I grew up in east Tennessee and hiked in the Smokies from about age 12 on. I believe the most likely scenario is that Dennis wandered off after separating from his cousins and fell into a swollen stream (heavy rains in the area before he vanished) and his body was wedged under a rock. Years later an illegal ginseng hunter told a ranger he found a pile of bones and a small skull along a watershed that drains the Spence Field area. By the time rangers and a search party got back to that area animals had likely scattered the bones and carried them off. The search party never found any bones.
I never did buy into the kidnapping story and this one makes a lot of sense to me if you think it through.
At nearby Abrams Falls several swimmers have drowned in the swift currents there. I remember one incident a few years ago where an experienced swimmer dove in and never came up. A team of scuba divers found his body wedged under some large rocks where the currents had carried it.
We'll probably never know for sure what happened to Dennis but the falling into a stream theory makes the most sense to me.
On the last big push to find Dennis there were over 2,000 people on the mountain searching in all directions including tracking dogs, several helicopters, and about 40 special forces troops.

dogperson
06-23-2014, 12:51 PM
VolunteerJim, it's so nice to hear from someone who was on the search. I think of Dennis often and also Trenny Gibson. I am an E Tenn resident too and have often vacationed in the area where these disappearances took place. I am inclined to believe similarly as you do, that he wandered off and had some sort of accident like that. I don't think anyone took him out of the park. Trenny, on the other hand, I think was taken by someone.

Kristin83
06-23-2014, 01:27 PM
Welcome Jim! Thank you for your part in searching for little Dennis. Does everyone seem to think the hunter was legit? If I remember correctly, Dennis' family seemed to be convinced it was an abduction? But I agree, your theory makes the most sense.

dogperson
06-24-2014, 12:52 PM
If Dennis ended up in the water, would the tracking dogs not be able to pick up his scent? I have heard that they cannot, and then again I've heard that sometimes they can.

Bargle
06-28-2014, 07:31 PM
Welcome Jim! Thank you for your part in searching for little Dennis. Does everyone seem to think the hunter was legit? If I remember correctly, Dennis' family seemed to be convinced it was an abduction? But I agree, your theory makes the most sense.

The ranger that the ginseng hunter told was Dwight McCarter. He tells about it in a book he wrote. He thought the story was credible. Whether the Park Service as a whole does, I can't say.

If anyone wants to read the book, it's "Lost!: A Ranger's Journal of Search and Rescue" by Dwight McCarter. The first chapter is about the search for Denny Martin.

Satch
06-29-2014, 05:18 PM
The ranger that the ginseng hunter told was Dwight McCarter. He tells about it in a book he wrote. He thought the story was credible. Whether the Park Service as a whole does, I can't say.

If anyone wants to read the book, it's "Lost!: A Ranger's Journal of Search and Rescue" by Dwight McCarter. The first chapter is about the search for Denny Martin.

It makes sense,

Why would somebody make up a story like that? The Ginseng hunter story came out "a few years after Dennis went missing." He found "the remains of a small child near Tremont's Big Hollow. And it's not like the hunter said this right away. He wanted several YEARS to tell Ranger McCarter what he found. Maybe his conscience was bothering him all these years and he finally had to tell Mr. McCarter what happened. If the story is true, it sadly would almost have to be Dennis' remains, because up until that time, no little kids had gone missing in the park and had not been found.

How far is Tremont's Big Hollow from where the Martin's campsite was? I think if the hunter story is most likely true. IF those skeletal remains really WERE of a small child. That's what we don't know. Did the hunter believe this, was this evidence just assumed because Dennis has never been found? Furthermore, how do we know that the remains are not animal remains?

The hunter said he did not report it at the time because it is illegal to hunt for Ginseng and he feared the park authorities would prosecute him. However, obviously, he knew about Dennis Martin, and the first thing he should have done at earliest opportunity would be get the park authorities to Treamont's Big Hollow to inspect those remains. They didn't have DNA testing at the time, but today, those remains could have been analyzed for DNA, and if they match Dennis' the case is solved. He got lost or injured in the park. All help crews missed finding him, and he died of exposure.

The problem is, those remains were never analyzed because when the hunter told Mr. McCarter his story, I believe it was the mid-80's, can't remember, the evidence was long gone.

Satch

Satch
06-29-2014, 05:21 PM
It makes sense,

Why would somebody make up a story like that? The Ginseng hunter story came out "a few years after Dennis went missing." He found "the remains of a small child near Tremont's Big Hollow. And it's not like the hunter said this right away. He wanted several YEARS to tell Ranger McCarter what he found. Maybe his conscience was bothering him all these years and he finally had to tell Mr. McCarter what happened. If the story is true, it sadly would almost have to be Dennis' remains, because up until that time, no little kids had gone missing in the park and had not been found.

How far is Tremont's Big Hollow from where the Martin's campsite was? I think if the hunter story is most likely true. IF those skeletal remains really WERE of a small child. That's what we don't know. Did the hunter believe this, was this evidence just assumed because Dennis has never been found? Furthermore, how do we know that the remains are not animal remains?

The hunter said he did not report it at the time because it is illegal to hunt for Ginseng and he feared the park authorities would prosecute him. However, obviously, he knew about Dennis Martin, and the first thing he should have done at earliest opportunity would be get the park authorities to Treamont's Big Hollow to inspect those remains. They didn't have DNA testing at the time, but today, those remains could have been analyzed for DNA, and if they match Dennis' the case is solved. He got lost or injured in the park. All help crews missed finding him, and he died of exposure.

The problem is, those remains were never analyzed because when the hunter told Mr. McCarter his story, I believe it was the mid-80's, can't remember, the evidence was long gone.

Satch

I asked someone who claimed to have read Mr. McCarter's book, and he said there was no mention of the skeletal remains. Maybe he missed reading that part, or doesn't remember? How much detail about the skeletal remains is found in Mr. McCarter's book?

Satch

Satch
06-29-2014, 05:32 PM
I was on that search 45 years ago. I grew up in east Tennessee and hiked in the Smokies from about age 12 on. I believe the most likely scenario is that Dennis wandered off after separating from his cousins and fell into a swollen stream (heavy rains in the area before he vanished) and his body was wedged under a rock. Years later an illegal ginseng hunter told a ranger he found a pile of bones and a small skull along a watershed that drains the Spence Field area. By the time rangers and a search party got back to that area animals had likely scattered the bones and carried them off. The search party never found any bones.
I never did buy into the kidnapping story and this one makes a lot of sense to me if you think it through.
At nearby Abrams Falls several swimmers have drowned in the swift currents there. I remember one incident a few years ago where an experienced swimmer dove in and never came up. A team of scuba divers found his body wedged under some large rocks where the currents had carried it.
We'll probably never know for sure what happened to Dennis but the falling into a stream theory makes the most sense to me.
On the last big push to find Dennis there were over 2,000 people on the mountain searching in all directions including tracking dogs, several helicopters, and about 40 special forces troops.

Thank you Jim!

Very awesome to have someone here who participated in the search! I think your explanation is most likely what happened. I also never really bought the story that the other kids whom he was with wanted him to go another way because his bright red shirt would be easy to spot.

I think the other kids may have been tragically picking on him, or just wanted Dennis to stop bothering them. In a horrifying pun, they told him to "get lost." and made up the story "go the other way, because he had a shirt on that was easy to spot." for the adults, because how could they live with the awfulness of "we told Dennis to stop bothering us, and now we can't find him?"

Those kids have to be so devastated about this! But when your like seven to nine years old, I could see them feeling compelled to lie to get out of trouble for "picking on him." A seemingly harmless "scare the adults by sneaking up on them" prank, turns tragic. Just devastating!

Jim, do you think that Child's shoe print found was Dennis'? It could have been. However, I think the scream that Mr. Key heard, was an animal, and not related to this case.

Satch

dogperson
06-30-2014, 12:55 PM
I agree that if the story the ginseng hunter told is true then the remains would have to be Dennis. I suppose he knew they were of a child because of the size? Small bones of the arms or legs could be mistaken for animal bones but if part of the skull or mandible was present then he would have known it was human. Nothing else looks like a human skull, not really even primate skulls.

I wish we knew what year he saw the bones. Trenny Lynn Gibson also vanished from the park, but from a different area. If she were small boned enough her remains might have appeared to be a child's, especially if the long bones of the arms or legs were missing. I am surprised animals would have still scattered the bones after they were skeletonized. You would expect most of the animal activity to take place while there was still flesh. I wonder if there were any clothing fragments left when the ginseng hunter saw the bones.

Bargle
07-06-2014, 09:17 AM
I asked someone who claimed to have read Mr. McCarter's book, and he said there was no mention of the skeletal remains. Maybe he missed reading that part, or doesn't remember? How much detail about the skeletal remains is found in Mr. McCarter's book?

Satch

It's in there, pg. 42. The hunter said they were a child's bones including the skull. They looked like they had been scattered by animals. No further details about the bones.

The hunter went to McCarter in July of 1985. He said he saw the bones several years earlier, but there's nothing more specific.

Cincinnati Kid
07-10-2014, 09:48 AM
I question why any remains (at least identifiable to an untrained person) might still be found those many years later. Also, why would anyone wait such a period of time to report it? In earlier threads, it was noted the person was reportedly fearful because his activities in the area would have been questioned. However, if he did make such a find, it's doubtful he would have been asked about that and, if he was asked, he could said he was hiking in the area, etc.