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CA CA - Paul Miller, 51, Canadian missing in Joshua Tree Natl Park, San Bernardino Co., 13 Jul 2018 #2

Discussion in 'Missing Persons Discussion' started by cybervampira, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. oceanstarryeyes

    oceanstarryeyes Well-Known Member

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    I think a news article misquoted saying he called his wife at 9am instead of his wife last talked to him at 9am (which would have been when he was leaving the Hotel without his phone) and so the story has been changed.
     
  2. rosesfromangels

    rosesfromangels Amateur speculations and opinion only

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  3. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Well-Known Member

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    RSBM. Yeah those are the Earthcam/live feed cameras and wildlife cameras I had mentioned previously. I am not aware of anything beyond those in national parks. A lot of time, the live feed type cameras are only focused on popular places in parks (like Old Faithful in Yellowstone) or highways/roads. Unfortunately, I don't think that either kind of camera was on the trail where Paul was.

    However, Looking at the first link of webcams around Joshua Tree, I don't see many that are within the national park. For instance, one is of Coachella Valley, which is not in the park but rather to the west of it. Another is of Idyllwild, even further from Joshua Tree National Park to the west.

    ETA: The only one I can find that is actually within the national park is Pinto Wye, and it is just a very distant view of mountains.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  4. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Well-Known Member

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    This gives you a good idea of what the Belle Mountain Webcam in Joshua Tree shows. It is mainly for air quality and weather and wouldn't be of use in finding people like Paul. Air Quality Webcam for Joshua Tree National Park

    I think we have better luck with hidden trail cams, as those are actually out on the trails, but if they are focused on wildlife, they may be in backcountry areas or not necessarily focused on the trails (and then we'd have to hope if they are, they were on the Fortynine Palms Trail, and I think we'd have heard about one if it existed IMO). I think it brings up an interesting discussion. Personally, as an avid national park visitor and hiker, I go to the wild to escape things like surveillance and security cameras, technology, etc. Yet, I understand how helpful they could be in dire situations like this. So I don't know what my opinion is of adding them lol.
     
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  5. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    In a case such as this, I can't even think of a location to mount a camera. The only building in the parking area appears to be a small restroom. The trail pretty much treeless until you arrive at the Oasis.

    This is true for many areas of the parks. The webcam you describe is accurate for those remote areas in National Parks. There was one post in a thread concerning Micah Tice when he went missing on Long's Peak in Rocky Mt NP. Again, it was only relevant to showing weather conditions on and around the peak.

    ETA Thank you for your tenacity. And for the webcam image.
     
  6. dulcinea

    dulcinea Well-Known Member

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    I've hiked extensively in Joshua Tree for years and have never come across a camera on any trail. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I've never seen one anywhere except on a building. I agree that Coachella Valley and Idyllwild are definitely not in the park.
     
  7. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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    It occured to me the other night that if the sexes were reversed and it was the wife who was missing, I would be interpreting a lot of this information in a far different light.
     
  8. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    I should have looked more carefully to notice that most of those cameras were not actually of the park. Apologies! I was hoping they had some parking lot cams like have been mentioned. I assume LE knows about more of these cams than we do, but obviously Paul hasn't been found, so they didn't help regardless. So frustrating, where is Paul?
     
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  9. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Well-Known Member

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    3 Liters is not nearly enough for a hike like that. You'd need at least twice that. And he should also have been carrying a filter so he could clean up water to drink at the oasis.
    The sun was beating down, the temperature over 100, the terrain is exposed and dry as a bone, and this hiker was not at all dressed for the conditions. The sun would have seared his bare skin. He might have become stupid and disoriented just from dehydration.

    I have hiked ultra-distance day after day. Typical would have been 1 liter per hour, and then I'd have to filter 6 liters in the evening. And these were spring and fall conditions, not summer in Joshua Tree.
    He should have been taken electrolytes with him, too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  10. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your thoughts. I still wonder, though, how far could he have wandered that there is no trace of him. It wasn't long after he went missing that the search for him began. If he passed out due to heat or illness, I think he would have still been in the area. Very strange case indeed.

    Note: I imagine if we ever do discover what happened to him, it won't seem strange at all. IMO
     
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  11. ElementalLaura

    ElementalLaura Well-Known Member

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    The call from the trailhead leads me to speculate about his state of mind. I agree the call would most logically be prior to his hike. The way the timeline info has been reported, I was under the impression that Paul was eager to hike this specific trail in hopes of photographing bighorn sheep (IIRC) before returning home. With his time constraints, I’m not sure how many alternative trails could have been under consideration. Speculation only: the phone call would make more sense to me if Paul left without communicating where he was going (or that he was leaving) and then called to inform his wife.

    With regards to the bold (BBM) text below in @MntnHiker’s comment, perhaps he called in an area where he had service, then proceeded to the trailhead / parking area. He may have had to backtrack if he couldn’t get cell service at the trailhead.

    This call simply strikes me as a bit ominous. Nothing else previously reported stood out to me in terms of him contemplating self-harm or perhaps having a mental health issue, but we know family members may be reluctant to share that information in a missing persons case for several reasons, IMO.

    I sure hope Paul is found soon.

     
  12. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if they had a quarrel and he walked out, then called to say where he was? I'm not thinking serious enough to make him want to end his life, but if he was still angry, it might have contributed to him not thinking clearly and getting into trouble.
     
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  13. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    Another (previous) statement from his wife..

    Missing hiker’s wife holds out hope

    "When we first came to Joshua Tree, there was some torrential rain so we weren't able to do some of the hikes we wanted."

    On the final day, they planned to hit one of those hikes, but SM didn't feel like going. "Paul decided to go on his own, to grab some pictures and show me later."

    "He took water, food, and a knife, but NOT his wallet or cellphone. He never had his cellphone on him," his wife said.
     
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  14. AzPistonsGirl

    AzPistonsGirl Detroit to the Bone

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    I don't want to argue or get bogged down but I disagree that he would need more than 3L of water for a hike like this. Sure, more would certainly be ideal, but IMO 3L is enough - i.e., not having more than 3L would not necessarily lead to a hiker's demise in this situation. (We do not know how much water Paul had or did not have.)

    The phone call - where did this information come from for the podcast - anyone know? IMO if he had his phone and was able to call out prior to this hike he purportedly took, why would he then leave the phone in the car? Sure, he may have thought he would not have any service so why bother, but why not take it just in case, ya know?

    Like so many of you, hoping something can come out of this shutdown that brings SOMEONE peace.
     
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  15. Hatfield

    Hatfield Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. This is why details are so important. Having accurate information is so critical to these cases.

    This is also why so many questions have surfaced in this case from the beginning is because some things dont make a lot of sense.

    Whether its because some things were never told to the media, or some actions were taken that most people would not do, or whether the media just got it wrong. We have no idea about some of the things that appear odd, but most of us can agree there are some odd things about this case which makes it very perplexing.

    Above all else I continue to hope he is found.
    And I thank the wonderful WS people here who continue to keep the case alive.

    I caught up on reading the last few pages and there are some very well thought out posts by so many of us. So thank you all. :)
     
  16. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if this account from his sister in the official FB page has been posted, though I previously did post the article that’s linked in it. Worth reading her words too. Lends some clarity to the area and some possibilities.

    Find Paul Miller

    ETA the post is from November 23 after she visited and searched.
     
  17. AzPistonsGirl

    AzPistonsGirl Detroit to the Bone

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    Sad that you can not read all of his sister's post without having a FB account.
     
  18. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    Here ya go.

    Hi there. This is Dawne. We’ve been back from Joshua Tree National Park for a week now and are still trying to process everything. We felt drained both physically and emotionally by the end of our time there but were glad we went. Joshua Tree struck us with its raw beauty. Huge rock outcroppings scattered randomly throughout the landscape are surrounded by high ridges and deep canyons. The land is rugged and much more vertical than Google Earth indicates. The air feels clean there and the quiet is absolute, peaceful in fact. Paul must have loved it. It reminds us in some ways of the Arctic. The tundra however, doesn’t have cactus plants, tarantulas and rattle snakes. It also doesn’t have a nasty bush referred to as ‘Cat’s Claw’ or ‘Wait a Minute’. We got very scratched up courtesy of this one. We are fascinated by the ingenious methods plants and animals have evolved there to survive in the desert. Joshua Tree is indeed a hard place.
    Dave and I were on the trail each morning by 8 a.m.. Katie Ashe, the ranger in charge of search and rescue, arranged for one or two search and rescue volunteers (JOSAR) to be with us each day. They took our lead as to where we wanted to search. They are amazing people and really seem to care about finding Paul. We owe much thanks to Jim, Bill, Alice, Chris, Karyl and Shaelan. We are especially grateful to a wonderful man named Tomas. He was with us each day and worked tirelessly. We consider him to be a friend now. We met with David Smith, the park superintendent several times. He made sure we had the resources we needed to conduct our search and confirmed that the Canadian Consulate has been calling regularly.
    The first day, we walked the trail trying to see it through Paul’s eyes. Although the trail is obvious, it disappears quickly once you venture off of it. We saw numerous spots just off the trail where he might have gone to get a better viewpoint for a photo. Over the days that followed, we searched below them. There are canyons and washes (areas that water flows down during flash floods) that he might have followed if he was chasing after a big horn sheep. We checked them out as best we could, clamouring over rock piles and climbing up canyon walls looking in cracks and crevices for clues. Helmets came in handy. I found that I was pretty good at climbing up but getting back down was a much slower process. Dave and Tomas are mountain goats though and covered a lot of territory. There are so many crevices there! We would spend hours just on one rock mound. We found a wooden cross and trail cam that the park was unaware of. They figure the camera was put there by biologists studying the sheep. They will check it out but suspect its camera stopped filming long ago. We also found lots of sheep bones, a bob cat skull and very old bits of clothing. By the end of our stay, Tomas felt that we had actually covered a lot of territory that couldn’t be searched thoroughly in July when the heat was so restrictive. He told us that search crews couldn’t stay out for longer than 2 hours at a time because of this. I got mildly dehydrated the first day and recognized the signs from a previous incident in the Grand Canyon years ago. I can attest to the fact that dehydration and heat exhaustion can lead to disorientation. Perhaps that is what happened to Paul. Tomas also mentioned that most of the volunteers were not comfortable with climbing so that was left to the few who could handle it. After seeing the terrain, I can understand that. Tomas was actually impressed with us for climbing slopes most volunteers couldn’t. Let’s just say that Dave and I were motivated. One evening, we went to a GPS training meeting of JOSAR volunteers and got a good look at the GPS tracks of volunteers in July. Ours’ will be added. For now, it is being left to volunteers to go out on their own time. A few are certainly doing that but I’d like to see more planning going into where they are searching.
    I’d like to say that going to the park brought us some closure but the reality is that we are more confused than ever. What could have gone wrong? Paul was missing for 3 hours by the time the search began and I felt we searched further afield from where he could have wandered in that time frame. We have not ruled out foul play despite the lack of evidence. We visited the sheriff’s office only to find that they really have nothing in their file. They too think that Paul is in the park somewhere and that it is not their jurisdiction as a result. We left the information about Paul’s camera with them and checked out what pawn shops are in the area since they have not done that. One interesting point - we took out bags and bags of broken bottles and cans often found in locations that were difficult to get to. Why would people hike in so far just to drink? Maybe one of them had other motives. Maybe I’m grasping at straws. On the positive side, Paul’s posters are highly visible at all visitor centres and trailheads. We took down a stack of the newly updated posters and they were up in no time. A reporter and photographer from the Desert Sun in Palm Springs interviewed us and hopefully that raised the profile again. Thank you for that Sherry. Unfortunately the fires in California are the main headlines now. The link for the interview is Ainsley Otten.
    So, where do we go from here? Both David Smith and Katie Ashe told us that there are more people visiting the park now and the hope is that someone will see something. I don’t hold out much hope for that. We searched pretty thoroughly off trail and came up with nothing. We need to keep up pressure on the park leadership in the hope that they will conduct more frequent organized searches now that the temperatures are cooler. I mentioned to David Smith that an organization known as the Jon Francis Foundation can provide drone pilots if the park can get permission to fly them. It would make the search so much easier especially in areas that are not easily accessible. I think we need to push this. We also need to contact the Consulate to make sure they don’t forget about Paul. I don’t think we’ll get any help from the Sheriff’s Department, unfortunately. The deputy involved in the case was away on holiday while we were there and although he said he would call me this week, I have yet to hear from him.
    It’s strange but we felt very close to Paul while down in Joshua Tree. I often talked to him while searching, hoping that perhaps he would yield a clue in his game of hide and seek. One day, I noticed a cactus on the horizon line of a ridge. It looked like the profile of Paul’s wolf tattoo and I fancied that he was telling us to look there. On the final day, I told him quite angrily that it was his last chance to come out before we left. My little brother has always been a brat though so not surprisingly, he ignored me. Dave and I have decided that we will return at some point to continue the search. Leaving Joshua Tree without Paul was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.
     
  19. AzPistonsGirl

    AzPistonsGirl Detroit to the Bone

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    I read it through a friend's FB account some time back, and wanted to read it again, thanks. I was lamenting the sad fact in general, and perhaps for others. Good to have it here for new eyes!
     
  20. rosesfromangels

    rosesfromangels Amateur speculations and opinion only

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    What an incredible post from Paul’s sister. So beautifully written, I felt as if I were hiking along with them.
     
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