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  1. #91
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    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.


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  3. #92
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    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


  4. #93
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    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.


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  6. #94
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    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.


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  8. #95
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    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


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  10. #96
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    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


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  12. #97
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    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.


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  14. #98
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    I do believe he was taken by a family who wanted a child or a child predator


  15. #99
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    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


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  17. #100
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    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.


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  19. #101
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    [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


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  21. #102
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    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/ju...dennis-martin/
    If coincidence never happened, there wouldn't be a word for it.


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  23. #103
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    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.


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  25. #104
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    Venomous Snakes

    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.


  26. #105
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    Bumping up for Dennis.

    Satch


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