This story has haunted me since the summer of 1973. I was living in Wyoming at the time and CB radios were much in use. Here is the story as I recall it: That summer, some people in Colorado (and maybe Wyoming) were picking up messages on their CB radios that were supposedly from a young boy who was trapped in a rolled-over pickup with his injured (or dead) father. Supposedly they had an accident in a remote area. The messages continued over a period of days, and then stopped. I seem to recall that some law enforcement thought the messages were a hoax, but I believe that some searching was done. I don't recall if there was ever a resolution to this story. If anyone has access to The Denver Post and/or The Rocky Mountain News from the summer of 1973 (sorry I can't be more specific than this, but it seems like it was at the same time as the Watergate hearings on TV), I think there were some articles about this case.
wow!that is a really sad story!do you remember where approximately this accident occurred or are we talking about a vast area of a remote land?
your state library should hold archived newspaper's for the year and possible date you are talking about.good luck!
i found one article from the new york times on august 10, 1973. i am going to copy and paste it here because it's on lexis nexis and i know a lot of people here don't have access to that database. mods, if this is against the rules i will take it down. i cant find anything on the denver post or rocky mountain news, but will keep on searching. from the article, it appears the signal originated in new mexico so i will look for articles there too.
NEW YORK TIMES
August 10, 1973, Friday
Voice of 'very scared' boy on Aug 9 resumes broadcasting on citizen's band radio frequency in foothills of central NM; searchers say they are closing in on area where 7-yr-old is believed to be lost in his father's pickup truck; boy, who says his first name is Larry, told rescuers on Aug 8 that he and his father were in accident and that his father is dead; 3 pilots rept sighting truck in Red Rock Canyon area on east side of Manzano Mts southeast of Alburquerque; helicopter is dispatched to area; Army search plan had monitored transmission from boy during night that led searchers to hills; Sgt W A Schmidt says searchers lost contact with boy for several hrs and presume that he had either gone to sleep or battery of his radio had gone dead; says that searchers have not discounted possibility of hoax; over 150 persons using radio monitors and directional finders are searching foothills
did they ever locate the accident?wouldn't the area be over grown by now.What is the area like they are talking about.
i didnt find anything else on lexis nexis (which carries the larger newspapers), but i did find quite a few articles on newspaperarchive (which has smaller newspapers). like lexis, it is a subscription-only site so i cant post direct links to the articles, i'll try and figure out something though.
This is it!! I got chills when I read it. My memory of the location was off--I was living in WY and thought the signal was coming from WY/CO, but this is definitely the incident that I recall.
If you locate anything else, please post it. When I get a chance, I will search too, now that we have a timeframe.
How awful if it was a true story. Like I said, it has haunted me since then!
It probably was a hoax but one thing about the old CB channels is they often would bounce or "skip" very long distances if the conditions were right. This would mean sometime you might hear someone call for help with a flat tire and when you asked them their location and get the state name too you would be surprised to learn they were half way across the country, several states away. Skip could bring in a signal strong or weak or even fluctuate. You might be talking to someone as if they were quite close only to have the signal either suddenly stop or else fade away into nothingness.
Later it became a hobby of sorts to "talk skip" and see how far away you could talk to people. Pins were put on a map to show places you had talked to etc. Under some conditions skip traffic can completely overwhelm the signals of closer more local CB traffic.
Blue the Puppy:
With the timeframe that you provided, I was able to locate another article, plus the one you found, as I have access to some online library databases.
The article on August 10 also has a discussion of whether or not this was a hoax, and one of the amateur CB operators was quoted as saying, "I personally have never had any doubt that this is the real thing. I heard the kid crying. I just can't believe it isn't the real thing."
The NY Times ran another article on August 13, 1973, saying that the search had been called off, that the police said that the calls were probably a hoax, but that attempts to locate the voice would continue.
So, maybe it was hoax, but what if it was true? I wonder if there were any missing people at that time that could connect to this case?
Now this has me intrigued. Here are some snippets from an August 9, 1973 article from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
"a California radio operator reported receiving a transmission from the boy early today."
"he and his father were in a red and white pickup truck that had overturned, jamming both doors shut"
"his father had collapsed at the wheel while taking his son on a rabbit hunting trip"
"the search narrowed Wednesday when the voice told an Albuquerque ham radio operator that he could see the search lights of an airplane as it combed the Manzano area southeast of the city"
Some excerpts from an August 11, 1973 article from the Albuquerque Journal:
"we believe he is at the south tip of Elephant Butte"
"he is in a red pickup with a white camper that was turned over"
"the boy said he was outside [the truck] and had skinned his legs and knees"
The boy answered to the name of David, and also to the name Larry. Was referred to as "David Peak" or "Larry Peak"
NBC Evening News for August 27, 1973
Rescue teams searching for small boy, Larry, calling for help over citizens' band radio seemed to have been on wild goose chase. Man in Denver claims it was a hoax and is imitating Larry's voice over citizen's band radio.
Thanks for the additional info. Perhaps this was all a hoax. I do wonder, though, why broadcasts from a man in Denver would be traced to NM. Perhaps it was that "skip" phenomena? But would the "skip" always lead searchers to the same area over a period of days? Unless this man's hoax was to claim he was the broadcaster when he wasn't.
It would be interesting to find out if this man was charged with any crime for instigating a hoax. If there is a record of this, perhaps there would be more background.
Having lived in very remote areas in the Mountain West, I do know that people would go missing and their remains would be found years later, by hunters or seismograph crews.
hi shebbear! i did find some more articles but theyre on my work computer and i got too swamped this week to do anything more with it. it does seem like it was a hoax, but there were lots of twists and turns. a very eerie case indeed.
If it was a hoax,,, why was the guy so utterly convinced the boy's plea for help was real?? What would make a kid make up a story like this, and put all that emotion and fear into it....? just for kicks?
The reason I believe this was probably a hoax is why did the boy not give his home phone number and address out on the CB. This would have made his identy known and alerted other family members to his wearabouts. Leaving this information out is a big red flag to me.
here is what i gather from the 40+ newspaper articles i read (shebear, i have them in pdf and jpg format, and will gladly send any of them to if you like).
Tuesday, August 7
-CB transmissions stat coming in from a frantic boy calling himself "larry"
Thursday, August 9
-newspapers start picking up story
-massive search effort begins
-transmission believed to be coming from manzano mountains in new mexico
-boy says his father died of a heart attack when the truck overturned, but other times he says his father was injured after hitting his head, and that he may still be alive.
Friday, August 10
Saturday, August 11
-"final search" effort begins, officials now start to believe it may be a hoax
-one rescue worker in a helicopter flying over mountains talks to a boy in distress who calls himself "David" not Larry
-there is confusion over location of the transimssions and the fact that the battery in the boy's radio would probably not have lasted so long.
-new lead, a family from Missouri who is travelling out west is reported missing, they have a young son named larry.
Sunday, August 12
-army sergeant claims he spoke with the boy for 3 hours, but state police are disputing this as claim cannot be verified.
-missing missouri family found
-many unanswered questions: for example, boys' signals were picked up on both coasts and even in canada, but signals actually in New Mexico tended to be very weak, also, "Larry" did not give any real information about himself (full name, hometown, etc.)
Monday, August 13
-search called off
-last transmissions from the boy traced back to a boy operating a walkie-talkie in Phoenix (possibly a boy who had heard about the story and was playing a joke?)
no articles for a couple weeks.
Friday, August 24
-State Police Chief talks, says all leads have been exhausted and no concrete evidence that the situation was real
Saturday, August 25
-Family from Toledo, Ohio with son named Larry is reported missing, has been missing several weeks. Child reportedly familiar with using walkie-talkies.
-Police chief reports he will not start up search again until something concrete develops
Wednesday, August 29
-Missing Ohio family found
Blue the Puppy:
Thank you for doing all of that research. What a strange story. It sounds to me like the original transmissions (once they were publicized) attracted copycats. That could be the reason why the signals were picked up in various areas. Perhaps the original transmissions, traced to NM, were weak, and the signals of the copycats were stronger (and traced to other locations). As far as the "boy's" two names, the shifting details of the father's injuries, and the lack of personal information--if the whole thing was a hoax, by one or more individuals, copycatting each other, then this would be expected. If the original signals were from a child in distress (and then they were eclipsed by copycatters), as a person who works with children, I can say that a 7-year-old's perception of reality is not the same as that of an adult. A child that young does not understand the permanence of death, can have difficulties telling the difference between fantasy and reality, often has trouble keeping a story straight, and doesn't always know his/her address, etc. They do not think like an adult. If the child lived in a rural area, the address could be something as vague as "Rt.1." It is not unusual for a boy to be called by his first name by some family members and by his middle name by others. A traumatized child may not have supplied a last name, etc.
I wonder if anyone has recordings of these transmissions--especially the early ones. With modern-day technology, I wonder if it would be possible to tell if it really was a child?
I would be interested in some of the articles from New Mexico newspapers (or the articles that you feel are the most informative).
Thanks for research.
shebbear, please pm me your e-mail address, i will pass some articles along to you. do you prefer them in .pdf or .jpg?
btw, thats an interesting point you bring up with today's technology and the radio transmissions. i wonder if they do still have copies of the transmissions. it would be really interesting to see, since the case never really had an official resolution ..
Blue the Puppy:
I find this quote from the Albuquerque Journal, August 12, 1973, of interest:
"Unofficially, and off the record, many persons involved in the search expressed their feeling that the transmissions are a hoax, or at least that transmissions subsequent to the original--and maybe valid--one have been the work of pranksters. If the initial transmission was real, there is a possibility that the boy has already died, some officials feel."
Wow, what an interesting story! Good memory, too Shebbear. It would be really interesting to hear the original transmission and the following ones. Very sad if it is true and because of copycat's the boy may have died.
Please help find Amanda Jones
"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr