CA CA - Yosemite Valley, WhtMale Pre30, UP116071, poss foreign, Skel remains found below the NW face of the Half dome, Jul'87

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The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
NamUs# UP116071
UID White Male
Yosemite Valley, CA

Case Numbers​

ME/C Case Number: 24-027

Demographics​

Biological Sex: Male
Race / Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Estimated Age Group: Adult - Pre 30
Height: 5' 11"-6' 0"(71-72 inches) , Estimated
Weight: Cannot Estimate

Circumstances​

Type: Unidentified Deceased
Date Body Found: July 26, 1987
NamUs Case Created: February 7, 2024

Location Found Map

Location: Yosemite Valley, California 95389
County: Mariposa County
Found On Tribal Land: No
Circumstances of Recovery: Human remains were found below the northwest face of Half Dome. The deceased may have been a solo climber of foreign nationality.


Details of Recovery​

Condition of Remains: Not recognizable - Partial skeletal parts only

Physical Description​

Hair Color: Unknown
Eye Color: Unknown


No Distinct Physical Features Entered​

Clothing and Accessories​


ItemDescriptionLocation
AccessoriesClimber's "belay seat", green nylonNear the Body
ClothingBlue Gerry brand jacket, size mediumNear the Body
ClothingWhite crew neck t-shirt, size mediumNear the Body
ClothingWhite 100% cotton pants, size 32/32Near the Body
 
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You can buy Gerry jackets on Amazin these days, but in 1987 it was a Colorado brand.

I wonder what led to the speculation he may have been foreign?

Was doing some research on Half Dome and it seems like a difficult and strenuous climb. Perhaps they could not find an American that would fit the profile of this UID jmo. Who knows for sure, though maybe Isotope or DNA analysis could help?
 
This case is in Yosemite Valley but when I was starting to do research on this case, I found a website called NPS history which had a bunch of various incidents that were reported from 1989-2023. I also saw some older records as well but this UID was not one of them.

Hi. Wondering if you can help me on this case with any additional info. The remains found for this case was just identified as my cousin who went missing in Fresno in 1986 and was never found. My aunt and uncle were just notified on Thursday (3/28) I came across this forum looking for any details on unidentified remains found in Yosemite in 1987 because I cannot wrap my head around how the NPS had remains for 37 years that they failed to indentify. I also found the same incident report log for Yosemite that you mentioned for that time frame and find it weird that there’s no mention of finding his remains. You said you were doing research on this case. Wondering what brought you to this case and what else, if anything you know. He was diagnosed schizophrenic at 19 and disappeared from home when he was 22. We’ve assumed all these years he had committed suicide somewhere in the mountains as he was an avid outdoorsman. Here we are 38 years later finding out he has in fact been dead all this time and it was an accident not suicide.
 
Hi. Wondering if you can help me on this case with any additional info. The remains found for this case was just identified as my cousin who went missing in Fresno in 1986 and was never found. My aunt and uncle were just notified on Thursday (3/28) I came across this forum looking for any details on unidentified remains found in Yosemite in 1987 because I cannot wrap my head around how the NPS had remains for 37 years that they failed to indentify. I also found the same incident report log for Yosemite that you mentioned for that time frame and find it weird that there’s no mention of finding his remains. You said you were doing research on this case. Wondering what brought you to this case and what else, if anything you know. He was diagnosed schizophrenic at 19 and disappeared from home when he was 22. We’ve assumed all these years he had committed suicide somewhere in the mountains as he was an avid outdoorsman. Here we are 38 years later finding out he has in fact been dead all this time and it was an accident not suicide.
My condolences to your family. NPS kept your cousin's remains probably because his dental charts and/or DNA didn't match any reported missing persons. He had a tragic ending, may your cousin rest in peace.
 
My condolences to your family. NPS kept your cousin's remains probably because his dental charts and/or DNA didn't match any reported missing persons. He had a tragic ending, may your cousin rest in peace.
My aunt said that NPS apparently recently got a new person working there who went through all the cold unidentified cases and ran dna and got a match to my aunt and uncle who did their dna with ancestry about 10 years ago, just in case his remains ever were found. Such a miracle that all these years later answers are finally available. Still crazy it took so long and just the right person to be interested in finding these people’s families. Apparently there are hundreds of unidentified bodies found throughout Yosemite every year. I can’t imagine their back log of remains.
 
Hello. I'm so sorry you are going through the loss of your cousin.

I'm not sure if you're aware, but the recovery of the bones of the 1987 John Doe was discussed in detail in the book Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite. I attached a photo of the text, but please be aware that you may find the content upsetting as it contains details about injuries to the skull. The file is too large to attach to this post, so I uploaded it here.
My copy is a 2nd edition from 2007.

Also - is your cousin Mr. Montel?
 
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Brian Montel was on Doe Network for more than a decade: 613DMCA - Brian Keith Montel
It really sucks that this match (if it's a match) wasn't made sooner consider that he had both his DNA and dental charts available.

Especially since his case was published allover and he was known to have headed to Yosemite. I assume the red herring "he is foreign" once again stalled the process.
 
Hello. I'm so sorry you are going through the loss of your cousin.

I'm not sure if you're aware, but the recovery of the bones of the 1987 John Doe was discussed in detail in the book Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite. I attached a photo of the text, but please be aware that you may find the content upsetting as it contains details about injuries to the skull. The file is too large to attach to this post, so I uploaded it here.
My copy is a 2nd edition from 2007.

Also - is your cousin Mr. Montel?
Yes. Brian. Thank you for this. I will check it out. It’s so good to have closure but so many questions still
 
Especially since his case was published allover and he was known to have headed to Yosemite. I assume the red herring "he is foreign" once again stalled the process.
This is the saddest part. Due to his mental illness he wore only white all the time. This was in his missing persons report in 1986 and should have been an easy match if they ran the remains info against missing persons. My aunt and uncle both submitted dna almost 15 years ago to the missing persons database plus his dental records were on file with his military service. It’s unbelievable that it took this long for them to connect the dots. My family is just so relieved to finally know what happened to him after all this time.
 
@Slopez I spoke to someone at the Department of Coroner in Los Angeles once who said they often don't revisit cold cases unless it's a request from a family, the police, or a probate issue. Last I checked, the LA Department of Coroner didn't even have a cold case department. Many official police, sheriff, Coroner, etc, departments don't, and they lack the staff, time, and resources to dedicate to cold cases. The National Park Service is notoriously underfunded and the staff are openly underpaid. I'm delighted they hired someone to go through cold cases.

Still, situations like yours are sad and frustrating, and I am so sorry your cousin wasn't identified because of this. I applaud your family for filing a missing persons report, and your aunt and uncle for submitting DNA and being proactive. Brian is lucky to have such a loving family.

I want to let you know that I submitted Brian's NAMUS profile case to the NPS Investigative Services Branch tip line on March 18th as a possible match to this John Doe. I am not sure if that tip was what lead to the cold case agent at the NPS running John Doe's DNA - it could just have been a coincidence of timing, or they could have done it weeks before. That said, the thing that caught my eye on NAMUS was that both Brian and the John Doe were found wearing white clothes like you said.

Regardless, I am so glad Brian's going home and your family gets closure. If you are having a service, please let me know if you would like to receive flowers or a donation in his name.
 
@Slopez I spoke to someone at the Department of Coroner in Los Angeles once who said they often don't revisit cold cases unless it's a request from a family, the police, or a probate issue. Last I checked, the LA Department of Coroner didn't even have a cold case department. Many official police, sheriff, Coroner, etc, departments don't, and they lack the staff, time, and resources to dedicate to cold cases. The National Park Service is notoriously underfunded and the staff are openly underpaid. I'm delighted they hired someone to go through cold cases.

Still, situations like yours are sad and frustrating, and I am so sorry your cousin wasn't identified because of this. I applaud your family for filing a missing persons report, and your aunt and uncle for submitting DNA and being proactive. Brian is lucky to have such a loving family.

I want to let you know that I submitted Brian's NAMUS profile case to the NPS Investigative Services Branch tip line on March 18th as a possible match to this John Doe. I am not sure if that tip was what lead to the cold case agent at the NPS running John Doe's DNA - it could just have been a coincidence of timing, or they could have done it weeks before. That said, the thing that caught my eye on NAMUS was that both Brian and the John Doe were found wearing white clothes like you said.

Regardless, I am so glad Brian's going home and your family gets closure. If you are having a service, please let me know if you would like to receive flowers or a donation in his name.
@warpday
I am so glad I found this thread. Thank you and also to the others on here that have been following this case and provided extra information. Brian has been missing since 1986 and it’s just a miracle that his parents finally have closure. I was only 5 when he disappeared so I have just vague memories of him but he’s never been forgotten by anyone. You mentioned that you made the connection and submitted his case on march 18th. My aunt and uncle were notified on march 27th or 28th, so like 10 days later. Not sure if it is a coincidence but your participation did get the ball moving so thank you so much. Our family is so grateful to finally have his remains so we can put him to rest.
 
Hello. I'm so sorry you are going through the loss of your cousin.

I'm not sure if you're aware, but the recovery of the bones of the 1987 John Doe was discussed in detail in the book Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite. I attached a photo of the text, but please be aware that you may find the content upsetting as it contains details about injuries to the skull. The file is too large to attach to this post, so I uploaded it here.
My copy is a 2nd edition from 2007.

Also - is your cousin Mr. Montel?
@warpday I shared this with my aunt (Brian’s mom). She said this excerpt has much more info than what she received from NPS. thank you so much for sharing this
 
@Slopez Thank you for the kind words and for following up. I'm glad Brian's mother found some answers from the book. Perhaps she could reach out to the authors, Michael P. Ghiglieri and Charles "Butch" R. Farabee, to see if they have more information.

Although I never knew him, I am just elated Brian is going home after so long and your family can get closure. May he rest in peace.
 

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