Identified! CO - Gunnison Nat’l Forest, 3 Decomposed Bodies, long term camping near Gold Creek Campground, July 2023 - Rebecca & Christine Vance & Boy, 14

In fairness, that's exactly what the Forest Service did.

On November 25, the United States Forest Service noted that a car had been abandoned in Gunnison National Forest “off FSR 771 (Gold Creek).” The incident report notes: “Searched area … UTL [unable to locate]. CSP Dispatch tried two phone numbers to both registered owners … Both disconnected. Attempting welfare check.” On November 28, the car was towed.
(bolded by me)

I don't know what else they could have done.
I have to agree, the Forest Service actively promotes and puts up signs saying "leave no trace". I'm sure there are times when a car breaks down, and rather than pay for a tow, owners just abandon it and get a ride out (especially a 2006 Hyundai, value maybe $3k.)

I don't see how the forest service can just leave people's stuff around, just in case they need to come back and get it.

Maybe Becky didn't understand this, but they were well hidden too, it's not like she wanted anyone to find them. Presumably 'off grid' meant no car.

So I chalk it up to yet one more fatal mistake in the whole enterprise.

JMO
 
Outside Magazine published an excellent article on this case: “Please I Will Give Anything for You to Come Back”
From the article:


The two women died of exposure and starvation—that was clear. But so had Talon, who was in their care. Should his death be considered the result of neglect, and therefore deemed a homicide?

Barnes said that he told the pathologist about reading Talon’s diary, about his love for his mother and her evident love for him. In every respect but the decision to go off-grid, he said, she had appeared to be a good parent. So they ruled his death an accident.
 
From the article:


The two women died of exposure and starvation—that was clear. But so had Talon, who was in their care. Should his death be considered the result of neglect, and therefore deemed a homicide?

Barnes said that he told the pathologist about reading Talon’s diary, about his love for his mother and her evident love for him. In every respect but the decision to go off-grid, he said, she had appeared to be a good parent. So they ruled his death an accident.
I read the article and my heart broke seeing Talons face and reading his journal entries. Poor poor sweet boy. He loved his mom and auntie so much and just wanted to play with his Roblox friends. I wonder if anyone has gone online to let them know…
My heart hurts so much. I’m going to go cuddle my kids.
 
From the article:


The two women died of exposure and starvation—that was clear. But so had Talon, who was in their care. Should his death be considered the result of neglect, and therefore deemed a homicide?

Barnes said that he told the pathologist about reading Talon’s diary, about his love for his mother and her evident love for him. In every respect but the decision to go off-grid, he said, she had appeared to be a good parent. So they ruled his death an accident.

I don't understand how a pathologist could interpret an inexperienced, unprepared mother taking her child to live off-grid in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains as being a good parent. It may be difficult for some professionals, but ideology or politics shouldn't replace sound reasoning and evidence based analysis. JMO
 
I don't understand how a pathologist could interpret an inexperienced, unprepared mother taking her child to live off-grid in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains as being a good parent. It may be difficult for some professionals, but ideology or politics shouldn't replace sound reasoning and evidence based analysis. JMO
Betty, if I could like your post a million times I would. Thank you for putting to words what I think many of us are feeling.
 
Betty, if I could like your post a million times I would. Thank you for putting to words what I think many of us are feeling.
Unfortunately, it sounds like his mother was experiencing some mental health issues and sincerely believed herself to be acting in his best interests. No one in their lives has suggested anything but that she loved him and wished no harm to come to him. I don't agree with any of her decisions, but I don't believe she intended for him to die. In any case, she herself is now dead and is beyond any further punishment.
 
Unfortunately, it sounds like his mother was experiencing some mental health issues and sincerely believed herself to be acting in his best interests. No one in their lives has suggested anything but that she loved him and wished no harm to come to him. I don't agree with any of her decisions, but I don't believe she intended for him to die. In any case, she herself is now dead and is beyond any further punishment.
I agree. I don't believe this case is some variation on murder-suicide. There are other cases where that is clearly the appropriate ruling, but not this one, IMO
 
Unfortunately, it sounds like his mother was experiencing some mental health issues and sincerely believed herself to be acting in his best interests. No one in their lives has suggested anything but that she loved him and wished no harm to come to him. I don't agree with any of her decisions, but I don't believe she intended for him to die. In any case, she herself is now dead and is beyond any further punishment.
I agree, she probably didn't intend to kill him, But it sounds as though she wasn't competent to make this decision on his behalf. As a minor not old enough to drive, he was under her control and had no choice in the matter. JMO

It's not really an accidental death. Not sure about any type of manslaughter, but it could be considered death by misadventure. Then again, the latter is defined as accidental death the result of a risk taken voluntarily. The son didn't voluntarily take the risk. He wasn't old enough to make an informed choice.

When the mother didn't go for help in a timely fashion, you have to wonder.

IANAL, JMO its similar when a parent refuses medical care for a critically ill child based on their beliefs in "woo medicine", etc.
 
I agree, she probably didn't intend to kill him, But it sounds as though she wasn't competent to make this decision on his behalf. As a minor not old enough to drive, he was under her control and had no choice in the matter. JMO

It's not really an accidental death. Not sure about any type of manslaughter, but it could be considered death by misadventure. Then again, the latter is defined as accidental death the result of a risk taken voluntarily. The son didn't voluntarily take the risk. He wasn't old enough to make an informed choice.

When the mother didn't go for help in a timely fashion, you have to wonder.

IANAL, JMO its similar when a parent refuses medical care for a critically ill child based on their beliefs in "woo medicine", etc.
I think it's very unfortunate she had sole custody, IMO there is an advantage to any child in having two legal parents, just in case one goes off the rails.

JMO
 
I don't understand how a pathologist could interpret an inexperienced, unprepared mother taking her child to live off-grid in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains as being a good parent. It may be difficult for some professionals, but ideology or politics shouldn't replace sound reasoning and evidence based analysis. JMO
Great post.

What I don’t understand is why neither adult went for help when they realized they were in trouble.
 
Great post.

What I don’t understand is why neither adult went for help when they realized they were in trouble.
The most recent article points to a do or die/no turning back mutual commitment that may have kept them going until it was too late. By the time one is truly desperate, you don't have the physical strength or mental clarity to leave the tent, find the car, and figure out where to go for help. If they'd had an emergency phone, that perhaps could have saved them.

There's the case of the initially unknown hiker found in a tent in Florida, may have been similar.
 
Outside Magazine published an excellent article on this case: “Please I Will Give Anything for You to Come Back”
I couldn't read the whole article, my heart just broke reading his journal excerpts and his friends comments. Reading about the last time he held his cat, how much suffering this poor boy went through before they ever left for the woods. Then the physical suffering he endured until he died, I can't even fathom how painful that must have been for him.
 
I totally understand why Mr. Ashe feels that way about them trying to stay through the winter, based on what we know of their gear and supplies.

Clothing/footwear - As you mentioned, it was reported that they didn't have winter clothing and boots. Obviously, a person couldn't reasonably expect to survive at that location through the winter without these items. It is possible they had plans to obtain these items, but perished before that happened.

Shelter - It was reported that they were found in a tent, with a partially constructed lean-to type shelter nearby. A lean-to shelter is a fine emergency shelter. However, a person couldn't reasonably expect to survive in one for an entire winter. It is possible they planned on a more extensive and enclosed shelter, but just didn't get that far. Even so, it would've been extremely challenging to live in a tent, shelter, or combination of the two.


Food - It was reported there was only a single package of ramen noodles found in their campsite, along with some empty soup cans. It is possible that there was food stashed elsewhere that we don't know about, or that they may have been planning on re-supplying somehow. A person couldn't reasonably expect to be able to be able to source adequate food at that location through the entire winter.

Water - It was reported they had water purification equipment. Melting snow is also an option in the winter.

So we are left wondering what the heck happened. Of course, all of this analysis is based on the assumption that people were making rational decisions using sound logic. Did they have plans to go elsewhere, or improve their chances of survival at the Gold Creek site with additional food, gear, etc.? Where was their vehicle? Who was found inside/outside the tent? It would be expected that their autopsy and toxicology work might take extra time, so I don't read too much yet into how much time it has taken. However, it could also be an indication that things aren't quite as straightforward as it appeared initially.

I'm thankful for the recent articles in New York Magazine and Outside about this case. Many of the questions I had were answered. Some will never be. Excellent investigative work by the authors.

It turns out the one thing I thought the group may have had covered in their survival preparations (water purification) ended up being a primary factor in their deaths. I hadn't considered that water filters can be rendered ineffective or unusable if frozen. Clearly the group had severe cases of giardia based on the descriptions of the campsite from investigators. Once the illness started to set in, the situation would've spiraled out of control rather quickly. A vicious cycle where food and water won't stay down or be absorbed properly in the body, dehydration becomes increasingly severe and debilitating, and basically all available water is already contaminated (along with their entire campsite). Weakness, fatigue, dehydration, weight loss, and malabsorption. Now add freezing temperatures to the equation.

"Although giardiasis is not fatal...one might wish it were because the symptoms can be seriously debilitating."

Now I think I finally understand why they didn't 'just walk a few miles' to save their lives. It is quite possible that they physically wouldn't have been able to do so. Still, many questions remain. Some of them quite dark.

The main question that still remains for me: Did they actually intend to stay at that site over the winter, or did things just go terribly wrong before they could leave?

So tragic. Poor Talon.
 

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I'm thankful for the recent articles in New York Magazine and Outside about this case. Many of the questions I had were answered. Some will never be. Excellent investigative work by the authors.

It turns out the one thing I thought the group may have had covered in their survival preparations (water purification) ended up being a primary factor in their deaths. I hadn't considered that water filters can be rendered ineffective or unusable if frozen. Clearly the group had severe cases of giardia based on the descriptions of the campsite from investigators. Once the illness started to set in, the situation would've spiraled out of control rather quickly. A vicious cycle where food and water won't stay down or be absorbed properly in the body, dehydration becomes increasingly severe and debilitating, and basically all available water is already contaminated (along with their entire campsite). Weakness, fatigue, dehydration, weight loss, and malabsorption. Now add freezing temperatures to the equation.

"Although giardiasis is not fatal...one might wish it were because the symptoms can be seriously debilitating."

Now I think I finally understand why they didn't 'just walk a few miles' to save their lives. It is quite possible that they physically wouldn't have been able to do so. Still, many questions remain. Some of them quite dark.

The main question that still remains for me: Did they actually intend to stay at that site over the winter, or did things just go terribly wrong before they could leave?

So tragic. Poor Talon.
At the point where they're experiencing dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, they easily could've had severe electrolyte disturbances which could trigger fatal cardiac dysrhythmias. The hypovolemia in and of itself could result in a fatal circulatory collapse. These water-borne illnesses were a major killer before modern sanitation and medical treatment.
 
Outside Magazine published an excellent article on this case: “Please I Will Give Anything for You to Come Back”
EXCELLENT article... thanks for posting.... this part in particular grabbed me:

The story got coverage all over the place, partly because it suggested tabloid qualities of horror and depravity. But I felt like the interest went deeper than that, because the story gave rise to a series of troubling questions. Above all, how could this happen?
What danger was so urgent that two middle-aged women would relocate from a safe apartment to an obscure campsite at 10,000 feet, taking along a 13-year-old boy?
Why had they chosen this location?
How could they believe that they’d survive the winter? And, particularly vexing, why hadn’t one of them walked the few miles down the road for help once it was clear that they were freezing and starving?
No evidence of impending doom would have been stronger, it seemed to me, than the death of Talon. The shock and sadness of it to an apparently devoted mother like Rebecca is difficult to comprehend. But still: faced with that, why didn’t she and Christine at least try to save themselves?
This is what gets me. It devastates me that Rebecca truly felt modern society was too far gone to the point she'd rather cause the 2 loves of her life, her sister and her precious baby, to starve to death alone in the cold....

I don't understand how a pathologist could interpret an inexperienced, unprepared mother taking her child to live off-grid in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains as being a good parent. It may be difficult for some professionals, but ideology or politics shouldn't replace sound reasoning and evidence based analysis. JMO
I agree. Ideology and politics and mental wellbeing are all interlinked, whether people like to believe that or not (my dissertation is partially on mental illness/wellness & political values). The pathologist's findings here strike me as biased and off-kilter, personally.

This video specifically goes into COVID more but is very well-researched with lots of good data, and speaks on how certain people started believing everything was a conspiracy during the pandemic.
 
EXCELLENT article... thanks for posting.... this part in particular grabbed me:






This is what gets me. It devastates me that Rebecca truly felt modern society was too far gone to the point she'd rather cause the 2 loves of her life, her sister and her precious baby, to starve to death alone in the cold....


I agree. Ideology and politics and mental wellbeing are all interlinked, whether people like to believe that or not (my dissertation is partially on mental illness/wellness & political values). The pathologist's findings here strike me as biased and off-kilter, personally.

This video specifically goes into COVID more but is very well-researched with lots of good data, and speaks on how certain people started believing everything was a conspiracy during the pandemic.
BBM, that is what absolutely blows my mind. It would take 2-3 months before you'd starve to death. That's so much time they hadn't eaten when they could have gone for help. The women obviously would have outlived Talon by a month or so, maybe at that point they didn't want to go on living?
 
BBM, that is what absolutely blows my mind. It would take 2-3 months before you'd starve to death. That's so much time they hadn't eaten when they could have gone for help. The women obviously would have outlived Talon by a month or so, maybe at that point they didn't want to go on living?
If you were watching your child starve, wouldn’t you do whatever you had to do to save him?

I can’t get this case off my mind.
 

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