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
Here's a link to the story of the skeleton/bones. They were not recovered, so no DNA to test.
If coincidence never happened, there wouldn't be a word for it.
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.
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.
Bumping up for Dennis.
Short article in the Nashville paper about Dennis, Trennie, and Polly. Glad they are still getting media attention.
They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.- Atticus Finch
Thanks for the link, southern scout.
"Park spokesman Bob Miller says itís 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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.