Page 4 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 76 to 100 of 152

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

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3,493
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati Kid View Post
    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

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    154
    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.

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3,493
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati Kid View Post
    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.

  4. #79
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    154
    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.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Cincinnati Kid For This Useful Post:


  6. #80
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati Kid View Post
    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

  7. #81
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    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.co...ns-dennis.html

    Satch

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Satch For This Useful Post:


  9. #82
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    154
    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?
    Last edited by Cincinnati Kid; 09-26-2011 at 02:04 PM.

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to Cincinnati Kid For This Useful Post:


  11. #83
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati Kid View Post
    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

  12. #84
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3,493
    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?

  13. #85
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    154
    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.

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to Cincinnati Kid For This Useful Post:


  15. #86
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati Kid View Post
    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

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Satch For This Useful Post:


  17. #87
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by Satch View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Satch; 09-30-2011 at 09:47 AM.

  18. #88
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    471
    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.

  19. The Following User Says Thank You to dogperson For This Useful Post:


  20. #89
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    154
    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.

  21. #90
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati Kid View Post
    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

  22. The Following User Says Thank You to Satch For This Useful Post:


  23. #91
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    154
    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.

  24. The Following User Says Thank You to Cincinnati Kid For This Useful Post:


  25. #92
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincinnati Kid View Post
    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

  26. #93
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    154
    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.

  27. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Cincinnati Kid For This Useful Post:


  28. #94
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    170
    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.

  29. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to cj327 For This Useful Post:


  30. #95
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by cj327 View Post
    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

  31. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Satch For This Useful Post:


  32. #96
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    170
    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.



    Quote Originally Posted by Satch View Post
    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

  33. The Following User Says Thank You to cj327 For This Useful Post:


  34. #97
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    up north
    Posts
    30,280

    Status of earlier missing cases featured in this series

    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/ja...n-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.

  35. The Following User Says Thank You to summer_breeze For This Useful Post:


  36. #98
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Isenbuettel,GERMANY
    Posts
    373
    I do believe he was taken by a family who wanted a child or a child predator

  37. #99
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    700
    Quote Originally Posted by DIRK SCHILLER View Post
    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

  38. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Satch For This Useful Post:


  39. #100
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    381
    Quote Originally Posted by Satch View Post
    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.
    If coincidence never happened, there wouldn't be a word for it.

  40. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bargle For This Useful Post:


Page 4 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. TN TN - Disappearances in the Smoky Mountains
    By imamaze in forum 2000's Missing
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 06-29-2013, 07:44 PM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-17-2010, 01:46 PM
  3. TN Dennis Lloyd Martin (6) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park TN, 1969
    By SheWhoMustNotBeNamed in forum Missing Children in America - A Profile
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-09-2010, 11:06 PM
  4. TN Trenny Lynn Gibson (16) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park TN, 1976
    By SheWhoMustNotBeNamed in forum Missing Children in America - A Profile
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-09-2010, 10:56 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •