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  1. #1

    CA - Gary Mathias, 25, Oroville, 24 Feb 1978



    Missing since February 24, 1978 from Yuba County, California
    Classification: Endangered Missing


    • Date Of Birth: October 15, 1952
    • Age at Time of Disappearance: 25 years old
    • Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'10"; 170 lbs.
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: White male. Brown hair; hazel eyes.
    • Clothing: Street clothes and low cut shoes.
    • Medical: Suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
    • Dentals: Available


    Gary was last seen on February 24, 1978. He, along with four others, became lost in a snow storm in the mountains east of Oroville, California.
    The men were part of a program for the mentally challenged and all lived with their families. They were last seen after a Chico State University basketball game, buying snacks at a nearby grocery store. Their car was later located abandoned on a Plumas National Forest road, closed by snow. The car had plenty of gas, but the keys were gone.

    The bodies of the other four were located during the search following the disappearance. But Gary was never found.

    Gary was discharged from the Army for medical reasons. He had joined the group on their outings just a few months before the disappearance.


    Doe Network - http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/3509dmca.html

    Charley Project - http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/mathias_gary.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    386
    cannot find on namus under mathias or matthias.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    19
    This is a weird case. Check out what Meghan at The Charley Project has learned

    https://charleyross.wordpress.com/20...-four-friends/

    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/mathias_gary.html

    So bizarre that 5 guys would go missing in the snow with 4 found after the thaw in an area with plenty of food and ways to stay warm. Only Gary Mathias was never found.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    North Carolina
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    1,342
    This is what I get out of this bizarre case:
    1) 5 disabled men get lost and seek shelter in the trailer, one of them gets seriously ill and the ones with military training try to nurse him back to health (why he was found in bed and there was evidence of military tools opening food cans) when he dies the others try to seek help and surcome to the elements; maybe they made plans to celebrate/party and got lost. "Let's go to that spot where I go hunting/fishing with my dad" or maybe they were invited somewhere by someone at the game. Where ever they were heading I think it was last minute plans.

    2)Someone took advantage of their vulnerabilities. I'm seeing 5 disabled men being tricked and pranked by some jerk. Maybe they lead them to the trailer in the rouse of being invited to a party and they ditched them there as a joke not realizing the fatality of their action. Could they have walked the 20 miles to the trailer (hours walk) in just their street clothes? Or did someone take them there? Maybe the frostbitten feet occurred by walking around the trailer trying to find help. There was an unknown watch found at the scene and there was a sighting of them with an unknown woman. Could the women been in on it? I see 5 disabled men being extra vulnerable to a woman. Maybe they were following someone else in another vehicle that lead them to that area.

    I'm questioning outside involvement or was it just a case of getting lost and surcoming to the elements.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St.Louis, MO
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    Quote Originally Posted by aThousandYearsWide View Post
    This is what I get out of this bizarre case:
    1) 5 disabled men get lost and seek shelter in the trailer, one of them gets seriously ill and the ones with military training try to nurse him back to health (why he was found in bed and there was evidence of military tools opening food cans) when he dies the others try to seek help and surcome to the elements; maybe they made plans to celebrate/party and got lost. "Let's go to that spot where I go hunting/fishing with my dad" or maybe they were invited somewhere by someone at the game. Where ever they were heading I think it was last minute plans.

    2)Someone took advantage of their vulnerabilities. I'm seeing 5 disabled men being tricked and pranked by some jerk. Maybe they lead them to the trailer in the rouse of being invited to a party and they ditched them there as a joke not realizing the fatality of their action. Could they have walked the 20 miles to the trailer (hours walk) in just their street clothes? Or did someone take them there? Maybe the frostbitten feet occurred by walking around the trailer trying to find help. There was an unknown watch found at the scene and there was a sighting of them with an unknown woman. Could the women been in on it? I see 5 disabled men being extra vulnerable to a woman. Maybe they were following someone else in another vehicle that lead them to that area.

    I'm questioning outside involvement or was it just a case of getting lost and surcoming to the elements.
    I was under the impression the men were not that disabled. The group they were apart of was for men having trouble with employment of I remember correctly. All of them graduated high school and had jobs or were in the military at some point which I would think indicates they were somewhat high functioning. Mathias mental disability was schizophrenia and he was medicated and had not had an incident in over two years according to his dad and doctor. I think they were probably not obviously disabled


  6. #6
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    Jan 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Strangelove View Post
    I was under the impression the men were not that disabled. The group they were apart of was for men having trouble with employment of I remember correctly. All of them graduated high school and had jobs or were in the military at some point which I would think indicates they were somewhat high functioning. Mathias mental disability was schizophrenia and he was medicated and had not had an incident in over two years according to his dad and doctor. I think they were probably not obviously disabled
    Something about their disability was noticeable to the 'Brownsville woman'. In the newspaper back at the time she says that you notice strangers around here...."...especially them with their big eyes and facial expressions."

  7. #7
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    May 2013
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    Springfield, MO
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    1,245
    odd case, sounds like he left the trailer to get help and the elements got him. Sad. Do wonder why they did not try to light a fire or pry open cabinets? It says that he was discharged from the military, which could have happened during basic training and he never really understood military survival techniques. I hope that the area is still being searched.

  8. #8
    This one's so bizarre.

    First off, I think the fact that the case file says these men were "mentally challenged" just reflects the time period. A lot of cases that involved mentally ill or developmentally disabled people use terms like that. Because Gary Mathias attended this program, despite being schizophrenic and apparently not developmentally disabled, IMO the program seems like it was more of a catch-all for troubled young men. Plus they were able to live at home, which makes me think that they just needed some extra structure, but they weren't struggling so badly that they needed to be inpatient somewhere. Maybe the program taught them work skills or provided opportunities to get a high school diploma or take college classes.

    So the man who said he saw men with a woman and a baby (in one of the Charley Project articles posted by abra0313) had had a mild heart attack prior to this sighting. I have 2 thoughts regarding this - one being that this sighting never happened at all, or that he didn't see what he thought he saw. I don't know anything about heart attacks specifically, but heart problems in general can cause dizziness and confusion, which might be the case there. My other thought is that the man did in fact see these men with a woman and a baby, and that it was some sort of ruse to get them out of and away from the car. I feel like that would be a perfect way to lure people from their car - call for help, say your baby is sick, etc. plus it's cold outside and I feel like people have a natural instinct to protect children. Maybe they stopped because she was in the road, she said her car was stuck/broken down, got them off the road, and then... I don't know. I can see how they might've left the car, but the rest gets me.

    I don't think it's feasible that the men who were found were able to walk 20 miles in the cold/snow, not to mention in the dark. Obviously we don't know what they were wearing, but if it was somewhat consistent with Gary's clothing description, I don't see how they would've made it, or why they wouldn't have turned around and headed back in the direction of the car. The unused food and propane is baffling as well. How the bodies were found almost seems staged to me, but I can't think of an explanation for why that would be the case either. And I don't get how Gary couldve escaped the same fate, since it seems like they were all in the same situation. I would hope that they've scoured the area for bones or clues in the years since this happened, so I assume he made it out of that particular area, at least.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2015
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    Amsterdam
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    Read about this a while back, sooooo weird. Too bad we'll never get any answers.
    I liked it. I was good at it. It made me feel alive.

    searchingforanna.net & searchingforanna.info
    Anna Christian Waters' new websites.

  10. #10
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    I think Mathias is lying dead somewhere around there aswell. Just missed, or scattered by wild animals, making it real hard to find anything that's left of him.
    I liked it. I was good at it. It made me feel alive.

    searchingforanna.net & searchingforanna.info
    Anna Christian Waters' new websites.

  11. #11
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    Jul 2015
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    239
    I can't believe there is so little coverage on this case. I just heard about it last night, and am devouring everything. What happened to these young men? Rest in Power, gentlemen. <333

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Wisconsin
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    I actually just read up on this case after watching a video and digging deeper; many theories speculate that the men were carjacked or kidnapped although I'd have to disagree (I honestly can't find value in kidnapping 5 men but taking nothing from them nor murdering them directly?) It always seemed more of a case of a series of unfortunate events, where they had to leave the car for various reasons and then walk to find help, only to make it to a cabin with some parishing either along the way or in a series of efforts to make contact with the outside world. I think Gary Mathias may have been unfortunate enough to be the final survivor, along with Weiher (the man who was found in the trailer ~20miles from the car and believed to have been alive and starving for 8-13 weeks.) With both of them being in bad condition but Weiher's feet being completely frostbitten and his condition possibly worse overall, Mathias tucked Weiher in one final time before leaving to find help- and perishing along the way. The propane tank, the one that could have prevented the death of any man in the trailer had it been used, could have simply been overlooked by the remaining men, with the varying degrees of mental handicaps between them (with the exception of Mathias who was not intellectually disabled but schizophrenic) I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't know how to use it or those that did had already died.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2018
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    What I want to know and can't find out is how long Ted was on the bed? Could he have walked, was he restrained, had he soiled the bed BEFORE he died and lost control of his functions? He had lived 8-13 weeks after going missing, but where had he lived. Oddly if we knew more about his bathroom at this time we would be a lot further along in the case.

  14. #14
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    I have looked into this case extensively reading the backgrounds on all of these guys. I find the most simple explanation is usually the most accurate. There could have been foul play but I highly doubt it. What would be the purpose of foul play other than a nasty prank, forcing 5 guys out to the wilderness? That really doesn't make any sense even for the most warped mind. . I think that maybe the guys went for a brief sight seeing expedition just to see the snow on the mountain after the game just for fun and simply made a wrong turn and got lost. With respect to the under carriage of the car not having much on it, that road is smooth and if the driver was just cruising it would have not have been that hard to keep the car from getting muddy or banged up considering the ground was likely frozen. No real mystery there. Keep in mind there was no blizzard that night but it was pitch black on that mountain road and getting out of the car, walking just a few hundred feet from the car could have easily disoriented anyone. When in the military at Camp Roberts in Northern California, I personally found that unless one has a compass and knows how to use it, it is very easy to lose your sense of direction and bearing when it's pitch black out. It's even tough when you've got a flashlight by just walking a few feet. If one of the guys in the car got scared or sick and then panicked, ran out of the car and the others tried to catch him, they could have easily lost their sense of direction without the proper equipment i.e. flashlights, compass. Put on top of that none of them were wearing winter clothes and aside from losing one's bearings now they have to worry about shaking uncontrollably from the cold. There are cases where people have become disoriented and lost from the cold in broad daylight. With respect to the cabin and trailer having supplies and why they didn't access them? It could very well be that once they got there, they simply didn't see the propane tank and figured the trailer was abandon. Even if they saw the propane tank they probably didn't know what it was used for. How many people would really know how to use a propane tank if not familiar with it? From all reports these guys never went hiking and likely had little or no knowledge regarding survival skills. It's reported that there were matches near by and books they could have used for the fireplace, but were they really in site or in a drawer that the guys may not have even not looked in. Also how many of them made it to the trailer and when? Maybe two of them made it to the cabin and trailer but what kind of shape were they in? Maybe sick, severely frost bitten, freezing. Put on top of all this that these guys at the least had learning disabilities or developmental delays, with the exception of Gary Mathias and who knows how adept he was to the outdoors. Maybe not at all. Finally it's reported that Weiher's beard length was 8-13 weeks of growth? I don't know how anyone would know that because beard growth will continue even after death for some time. Even fingernails have been shown to continue to grow after death. With respect to his Weiher's weight loss? Under extreme conditions people can and will lose a massive amount of weight in a very brief period of time. I think it's more likely that Mathias and Weiher succumbed to the elements within two, maybe three weeks at the most. The other men likely died within a day or two. I think this is just a very sad story and there is some peculiarity, but when you think about it, it appears to just be that there were just a number of very unfortunate factors that lead to a very sad outcome.
    Last edited by Jack_Bauer; 04-12-2018 at 07:36 PM.

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