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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
    Posts
    18
    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
    Posts
    963
    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
    Posts
    497
    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
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    1
    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
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Springfield, MO
    Posts
    1,176
    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
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Amsterdam
    Posts
    132
    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
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Amsterdam
    Posts
    132
    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
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    233
    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



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