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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bargle View Post
    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/galle...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/200303080...s/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


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  3. #17
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    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.
    If coincidence never happened, there wouldn't be a word for it.


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  5. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satch View Post
    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


    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.
    Last edited by KateB; 04-03-2015 at 04:54 PM. Reason: repair url tag.


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  7. #19
    Dennis is our Featured Cold Case from 7/24 to 7/31/2011


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  9. #20
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    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!
    "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, and the process is its own reward." Amelia Earhart


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  11. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GracieLu View Post
    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!
    "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, and the process is its own reward." Amelia Earhart


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  13. #22
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    Thank you for featuring this heartbreaking case!

    Satch


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  15. #23
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    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.

    Misty Copsey | Robert Manwill | Kyron Horman | Baby Kate | Mickey Shunick


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  17. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid View Post
    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


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  19. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid View Post

    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.


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  21. #26
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    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.


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  23. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogperson View Post
    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


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  25. #28
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    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


  26. #29
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    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.


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  28. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogperson View Post
    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


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