CO CO - Roger Ellison, 17, Cedaredge, 10 Feb 1981 #2

Satch

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Some time ago,

I found out more information about Mr. Pash,

Several years after Roger's disappearance, he left to teach at another school. It was a 6th Grade Elementary School in California I am pretty sure. The kids according to the article "all loved him." And the article said that one time Mr. Pash brought in his pet alligator and the kids really got a kick out of that. From what I remember, he kept it the classroom.

I know a guy that once had a pet alligator. The person that I know is very opinionated, although very funny, and a real character. Looking to stand out from the crowd, looking to be the center of attention and in control.

It got me thinking of some of the mannerisms of Mr. Pash, whom I think would be a character, would not take criticism well, but at the same time, maybe he always felt compelled to be involved in the lives of his students in an emotional way. I still have uncertainty's about him, and there is that level of distrust or friction that I can't get out of my mind. Even though there is no physical evidence to link him to Rogers' vanishing into thin air, I agree what others have said, there's something about him that seems "off", "out of place."

Satch
 

Satch

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For review, this is a general timeline of events in Roger's case, (published back in February, 2009): Source- http://findrogerellison.wordpress.com/inside-a-reporters-notebook/

Note: For easy reference, I bold printed dates as well as some information that I believe has never been answered. If anyone knows answers or can discuss the bold sections more, please elaborate! Thank you!

Cold Case Timeline

February 10, 1981: Roger Ellison, 17, boarded a school bus bound for Cedaredge High School. He got off the bus and walked to his locker, No. 191 in the school’s basement, and put his books away while chatting with friends. He was never seen again. On the day he disappeared, Roger was reportedly seen talking to two unidentified men. Cedaredge is located in western Colorado at the foot of Grand Mesa National Forest on Highway 65.

An FBI report described Roger as a “straight arrow” despite his alleged marijuana use. The report goes on to describe an incident in 1979 where another school acquaintance “threatened to kill” Roger over his dating a certain girl. The incident was cast aside, saying “it was highly unlikely the threat was carried out after two years without some additional confrontation.”

July 1981: An $8,000 reward is offered by Roger’s parents, Ernest and Evelyn Ellison, to anyone with information that will help solve the case of their missing son. Ernest died a few months after Roger’s disappearance, apparently overcome with grief. Sources close to the family say Ernest spent his last six months waiting for the bright yellow school bus to bring back his son. Prior to her death, Roger’s mother Evelyn begged authorities to take a closer look at the possible link between Roger and John Pash, a Cedaredge High School social studies teacher and wrestling coach who has since relocated to California. She said Pash went to her home after her son’s disappearance and told the family that Roger was suicidal, something Pash had never mentioned before. Pash also allegedly counseled Roger at his home next door to the school.

After Roger’s disappearance in 1981, fliers were distributed by the thousands all over the country, with one eventually making its way to the Missing Children Help Center in Tampa, Florida. The activity sheet attached to the Ellison case file showed five unconfirmed sightings since 1985. Two of those reported sightings came on the same day.

April 7, 1994. That was the day Ellison was featured on the “Sally Jesse Raphael Show,” a nationally syndicated talk show broadcast to millions of people worldwide. Documents show both calls came from Grand Junction after two separate callers thought they recognized Roger from his picture on television. One went so far as to say “she thought it looked like a friend of her brother’s.” The information was passed on to Delta County investigators and Roger’s family. The lead didn’t pan out.

Roger was an honor student with a perfect attendance record. He was also a gifted athlete and a member of the Powderhorn Racing Club. He regularly participated in weekend ski meets hoping to attain “A” level racer status in the United States Ski Association which would open the door to more competitive regional ski races. At the time of his disappearance, Roger had posted the entry fee for a ski race in Aspen but failed to show up for the race. Records also show he had been accepted at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and put a deposit down on a dorm room. He left behind a bank account with $1,000 in it, his skis, car and a motorcycle.

March 1994: A tip sparks an intensive underground search of the former Pash residence located next door to the old Cedaredge High School. An eyewitness told police he saw Pash digging in his yard. When questioned by the eyewitness, Pash reportedly said he was transplanting roses. The eyewitness thought that was a bit odd because it was the wrong time of year to be gardening. A NecroSearch team specializing in locating clandestine graves dug up several sections of the yard but found no human remains.

June 1998: A dying man hoping to clear his conscience tells investigators with the Delta County Sheriff’s Department that he knows what happened to Roger Ellison. According to the man’s account, he and a friend were poaching deer in a wooded area northwest of Cedaredge in early spring of 1981 when they came upon a young man whose hands were bound by white cord and being held at gunpoint by another man. One of the eyewitnesses, who picked Ellison out of a photo lineup, reported hearing two gunshots several minutes after the pair left the area. The two men made a pact to never talk about what they saw and erased it from their memories. The dying man passed a polygraph test. His friend also came forward and corroborated his story.

September 1998: A handful of investigators from various law enforcement agencies along with members of an anthropology class from Western State College in Gunnison searched the heavily wooded area northwest of Cedaredge for Ellison’s remains. The search turned up no new clues in the case.

2005: A team of cold case investigators reviewed the Roger Ellison case.

August 2008: A member of Websleuths, an online crime sleuthing community, makes a startling discovery prompting this post to the website:

CO-Roger Ellison 1981 VANISHED FROM HIGH SCHOOL UND POSSIBLE MATCH.

The poster, who goes by the screen name Intuition, stumbled upon a case on the Doe Network with striking similarities to Roger’s case. The Doe Network is a volunteer organization that assists law enforcement in solving cold cases. The website has a searchable database containing information on unexplained disappearances and unidentified victims. Case File 1107UMCO contains information on an unidentified white male whose skeletal remains were found in September of 1981 in Chaffee County, Colorado. The John Doe is estimated to be about 17 years old, approximately 5’6” tall and weighing 136 pounds. According to the case history, the victim was located on September 10, 1981 in a wooded area near Clear Creek in northern Chaffee County. More bones were found in 1986 in the same general area and a pathologist ruled they were probably from the same person. There were also three cartridge shell casings found near the second set of bones. Scraps of clothing found nearby consisted of a pair of blue jeans, a green corduroy shirt and a T-shirt. The photo on the left is a reconstruction of the unidentified John Doe; the photo on the right is Roger Ellison at age 17. Investigators are looking at a possible link between the two cases. A positive identification has not been made.




February 10, 2009: The case remains unsolved.
 

dogperson

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If Mr Pash felt that anything in Roger's writing seemed suicidal, the time to have reported it to someone would have been BEFORE his disappearance. Had he read the assignment before police talked with him? If not, then I could see why it wasn't mentioned before. If he had read it previously then it was a bit late to point out to the parents that Roger seemed suicidal.

As someone who kept journals all through my teen years, some of my own writings would have looked suspicious when taken out of context. I was a dramatic teenage girl who was either on cloud nine or down in the dumps, making statements like, "if such-and-such happens I could just die". But of course I never at any time had any thoughts about harming myself. Not knowing what questions were in the assignment, it would be hard to say whether Roger's answers had anything to do with his true feelings or whether the students were being asked to explore different scenarios/feelings, etc. If Roger's answers really have no bearing on his disappearance then they won't hold any clues. If they do have bearing on whatever happened to him then I think it will be very difficult for us to speculate where he could be without that information.

My own opinion is that I don't feel Roger was suicidal at all, based on the info we have here. It sounds like he had plans and a lot to look forward to. I doubt he arrived at his school locker and suddenly decided he was going to go out and end it all, not unless something terrible happened to him once he arrived at school, but there has been no indication of that so far. The deer poachers seem like the best lead to me, considering both of them passed lie detector tests, but I still don't understand why they didn't take any action. At the very least they could have hightailed it out of the woods and called in an anonymous tip to police.
 

Satch

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If Mr Pash felt that anything in Roger's writing seemed suicidal, the time to have reported it to someone would have been BEFORE his disappearance. Had he read the assignment before police talked with him? If not, then I could see why it wasn't mentioned before. If he had read it previously then it was a bit late to point out to the parents that Roger seemed suicidal.

As someone who kept journals all through my teen years, some of my own writings would have looked suspicious when taken out of context. I was a dramatic teenage girl who was either on cloud nine or down in the dumps, making statements like, "if such-and-such happens I could just die". But of course I never at any time had any thoughts about harming myself. Not knowing what questions were in the assignment, it would be hard to say whether Roger's answers had anything to do with his true feelings or whether the students were being asked to explore different scenarios/feelings, etc. If Roger's answers really have no bearing on his disappearance then they won't hold any clues. If they do have bearing on whatever happened to him then I think it will be very difficult for us to speculate where he could be without that information.

My own opinion is that I don't feel Roger was suicidal at all, based on the info we have here. It sounds like he had plans and a lot to look forward to. I doubt he arrived at his school locker and suddenly decided he was going to go out and end it all, not unless something terrible happened to him once he arrived at school, but there has been no indication of that so far. The deer poachers seem like the best lead to me, considering both of them passed lie detector tests, but I still don't understand why they didn't take any action. At the very least they could have hightailed it out of the woods and called in an anonymous tip to police.

Good call Dog Person!

When I posted that timeline information I always wanted to know more about the two unidentified men whom Roger was seen talking to the day he disappeared. (See Timeline in above post.) At what point in time that day did Roger talk to these two men allegedly?

Agree about Mr. Pash, if he suspected Roger was suicidal this information should have been conveyed to Roger's parents and other appropriate authorities BEFORE he disappeared.

From what we know, Roger did not have a car on campus that day. His moods and mannerisms do not indicate that he was suicidal. I have ever read unconfirmed rumors on line that Mr. Pash let kids smoke dope at his house at the time and one quote that, "Pash was the man to go to for that." (Does this imply that Mr. Pash had a rep for selling narcotics
to kids? Or did students just go to his house to smoke drop, and Mr. Pash was seen as "cool" by the kids because he let them? This was several years ago, so I don't have a link to that. This could have been just talk.

But something more than talk is important. Why in the above timeline did the FBI investigators allege that Roger used Marijuana? What evidence was there of this? Roger was a straight-A honor student. Was there another side of him that was unknown to his parents? How much did he confide in Mr. Pash? If Mr. Pash is innocent, I wonder if he would be willing to volunteer information about Roger on the condition of immunity from prosecution? We know that Mr. Pash was unofficially prosecuted by students, Roger's parents and many others. And this is understandable! Mr. Pash's behaviors and actions don't sit well. However, what if Mr. Pash really was involved in some undercover drug involvement and this was not talk from the students? Could Roger have been an innocent-bystander in a drug deal gone bad and he saw something so terrible, that in this process he was abducted, refused to talk or reveal information about what he knew, and killed? Could what those poachers saw that day really have been Roger being abducted and shot?

Considering a map of the school and Roger's locker, how far would he have had to have walked to be off of school grounds? Was there any type of wall structure or barrier on or within walking distance of the school where an abductor could have hid? I am also going to find out the weather information for Cedaradge Colorado that day to help determine if it was warm enough for walking and a possible abduction to have taken place. I do not think Roger just took off on his own. All accounts say he was VERY CLOSE and loving to his family.

Weather information for Cedarredge, Colorado in the day Roger vanished, February 10, 1981: It was very cold with fog, snow, and ice pellets. Not exactly the kind of weather where one would just take off with nothing to prepare for a long-journey and not come back. However, note that the fog if severe and any barriers between the school grounds and walking distance, might have made a possible abduction tragically easier.

I just can't erase from my mind a student waking out the door of a school, no one sees where he goes next and is never heard from again! However, I believe that the deer-poacher's story MAY have credibility, perhaps even MORE credibility than Mr. Pash's person of interest in this case. Unless Mr. Pash is somehow connected to all of this. After all, we have a witness and passed polygraph tests with regards to the "Deer Poacher's story." I can't remember, but when Mr. Pash posted here, or someone claiming to be him, did he talk about the deer poacher story? What was his take on this?

Below is the weather information for the day and the URL source for that information:

Weather History Results for Cedaredge, CO
February 10th, 1981
« Previous Day - 2/9/1981 •••• 2/11/1981 - Next Day »

On February 10th, 1981, the closest available weather station to Cedaredge, CO (GRAND JUNCTION WALKER FIELD, CO), reported the following conditions:

High Temp: 39.9F
Low Temp: 25.9F
Average Temp: 32.4F
Dewpoint: 18.8F
Wind Speed: 13.3 Knots
Precipitation Amount: 0.08 Inches
Snow Depth: 0.8 Inches
Observations: Fog, Snow/Ice Pellets

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather-history/search-results/

Satch
 

believe09

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June 1998: A dying man hoping to clear his conscience tells investigators with the Delta County Sheriff’s Department that he knows what happened to Roger Ellison. According to the man’s account, he and a friend were poaching deer in a wooded area northwest of Cedaredge in early spring of 1981 when they came upon a young man whose hands were bound by white cord and being held at gunpoint by another man. One of the eyewitnesses, who picked Ellison out of a photo lineup, reported hearing two gunshots several minutes after the pair left the area. The two men made a pact to never talk about what they saw and erased it from their memories. The dying man passed a polygraph test. His friend also came forward and corroborated his story.

Here are my thoughts on this scenario-why did the shooter let the two deer poachers go when clearly they had witnessed a crime? Especially if he shot his victim once the poachers cleared out?

This would lead me to believe that the story was either fabricated or that the dying man was the perp. As to the dying man passing the polygraph, well what meds did he have on board when he took it? Pain meds or even anti depressants can skew the results.

As for Roger talking with two men-were they strangers? Roger doesnt appear to have had a secret lifestyle, but maybe someone can do a FOIA to see if there is anything investigators are willing to share. I am sure Roger's family has already done one.
 

dogperson

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Everyone has some really good ideas here! I too wondered about the marijuana. Do you think the police asked to see Roger's room after his disappearance? If I were a police detective that would be something I think I would want to do, look through the room for any writings, drugs, clues of any kind. Maybe he had a little bit of recreational marijuana hidden in his room. A lot of kids tried it a bit in high school, kids who were high achievers and made good grades and had college plans, so I doubt Roger was a chronic user. He sounds too athletic for that.

I would bet Roger purchased the marijuana from another kid at school, unless any of the alleged drug use really occurred at the teacher's house. Maybe whoever he purchased it from was connected with folks who also provided much harder drugs and somehow got caught up in something by accident? I can't imagine exactly what that would be or how it would happen. Suppose he got to school and his "supplier" came up to his locker and said the two men needed to speak to him outside the school. He goes out to wherever the meeting point was and they abducted him. Could they have been parked near the school? If he walked out and they told him to jump in the car while they talked, all they would have had to do is pull a weapon on him and drive off with him. I just can't figure exactly how he could have known or seen something dangerous enough to get him killed. Who saw him with the two men and when and where?

The deer hunter story is bizarre. If only one of the men had passed the lie detector test I would completely discount it, although I don't know why two men would make up a story like that many years later, unless they were the two men Roger had been seen with or were otherwise involved in the whole deal. Maybe they knew about what happened or were connected with the men who took Roger? And maybe all those years later they decided to tell this story in the hopes that Roger's remains were recoverable and his family could at least take him home. As someone pointed out upthread, if they were deer poaching then they were armed, so why were they so afraid? Nobody would have cared about prosecuting them for deer poaching if they prevented a young man from being killed, I wouldn't think. I don't want to accuse anyone of anything, so I'm just throwing out ideas, but if these two men were with the guys who took Roger, or were maybe there in the woods as lookouts for the whole deal and not there to deer poach, it may be that they felt guilty years later and decided to tell at least part of the story.

I can't figure out Pash's involvement, if indeed he had any. When he makes the statement on this thread about hoping Roger is alive I feel like it sounds as though he doesn't think he is, but that doesn't mean it's because he knows anything, it could just be his opinion that in this length of time Roger would have turned up somewhere if he was alive. Maybe he sounds defensive because his career and reputation have been affected? I don't know, I tend to think kids may have hung out a little at his house but it sounds as if he had a wife and young kids so I can't imagine them being able to hang out there much. Maybe he was just the type of teacher who tries to be friends with the kids, you know, the "cool" teacher?
 

believe09

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I like your reasoning, dogperson. In regards to Pash, there is defensive and then there is poison pen. jmo.

I dont see the point of Roger being kidnapped and murdered for marijuana unless he was some kind of kingpin in the school. As for suicidal writings, he was a teenager.

Did Mr Pash indicate in his post that LE called to question him before or after the dying hunter story? To me that would be a good yardstick to use to measure the possibility that he continued to be a suspect at that point.
 

believe09

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I have the same concerns. On the presumption of innocence to Mr. Pash regarding Roger's disappearance, I find it a little strange that the students were allowed to go to Mr. Pash's house to turn in papers, if this was on a regular basis. I could see if a student had been sick, or was going to be out of town ahead of time, and they wanted to consult with Mr. Pash about work they might need to study so as not to fall behind.

However, why wouldn't the students meet Mr. Pash during office hours or prep periods at school? I think going to the house, if Mr. Pash allowed the students to go to his house often, kind of pushes the envelope with regards to the professionalism of the teacher student relationship.

I mean, does Mr. Pash really have the right to visit a painfully grieving family to say that Roger was suicidal? If this was an area of school concern, wouldn't this be more appropriate for the school counselors, clergy, if Roger's family was religious, or the qualified personnel? I think Mr. Pash overstepped his bounds as a teacher. The extremelly articulate, but yet arrogant mannor in which he posted a few years ago, (if that was him) if he is an innocent man. It makes his reputation look bad.

Where do you all believe Mr. Pash overstepped his role as a teacher in this case? I can't remember if he took a polygraph or not, if he did, would like to know the results.

Satch

PS. Do you believe Mr. Pash is guilty or not? I am not sure, but I think he knows some things about the case which he does not wish to speak about.

Honestly, Pash strikes me as someone who likes to show he is smarter than everyone and contemptuous of everyone associated with this case. From LE, to family, to anyone who wants to discuss it.

Those are red flags in and of themselves. Perhaps it can be attributed as bitterness at being considered a person of interest. I happen to agree with him about that phrase for what it is worth. You are a suspect or you arent.

There are crickets chirping from him in regards to statements from his ex wife and inconsistencies as to whether or not Roger and other students were at his house occasionally or regularly for that matter.

He was the wrestling coach. Why wouldnt students be at his house?
 

dogperson

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I like your reasoning, dogperson. In regards to Pash, there is defensive and then there is poison pen. jmo.

I dont see the point of Roger being kidnapped and murdered for marijuana unless he was some kind of kingpin in the school. As for suicidal writings, he was a teenager.

Did Mr Pash indicate in his post that LE called to question him before or after the dying hunter story? To me that would be a good yardstick to use to measure the possibility that he continued to be a suspect at that point.

Right, I don't think any high school kid is going to get killed over a little bit of weed. The only way drugs could factor in is if his contacts were involved in way bigger stuff than marijuana. Even then I don't see how he was involved with them in that respect. Most teens would probably get their marijuana off another kid wouldn't they? I don't know, I knew kids in school who smoked weed (in the 80s) but I have no idea where they got it. I don't guess I even wondered about it because I wasn't interested in drugs but I would have assumed you would just ask around if you wanted it.
 

wfgodot

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Don't recall if it was later modsnipped, but Mr. Pash referred to us as "sleuthies." Ah! Good times.
 

dogperson

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Don't recall if it was later modsnipped, but Mr. Pash referred to us as "sleuthies." Ah! Good times.

It's still there, on page 5 of the first thread on Roger. "Hello Sleuthies"

In rereading what Mr Pash said, he doesn't seem to have read the whole assignment which he gave to the class until the policeman came to the school. The policeman questioned him about 2 of the entries on Roger's work and Mr Pash showed him the questions relating to the 2 entries. He states that the policeman later told him something he had "found out" in relation to whatever Roger wrote. He also claims that he went to the Ellison home at the request of police because Roger's mom wanted to talk to him, and that the police told him what he would be able to say. Meaning evidently there were things he could not say, either about the assignment or what the police had told him or both. However, if they are keeping info that close to the vest, why share it with Mr Pash and risk it getting out? Does this mean that even Roger's family weren't told what Roger had written and they weren't told whatever it was that LE found out? Why would they keep it from the family? I know Roger's sister visits this thread from time to time, but I don't see where she has addressed this writing assignment. I wonder if she has ever been told what it contained.
 

kemo

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There is all kinds of rumor, conjecture and speculation in this case. Hard facts are really lacking.

Pash's account, which we have no means of verifying, is certainly not implausible. Teachers often know thing going on in students lives that parents are unaware off. Sharing with Law Enforcement, any information that might help resolve a matter such as an unexplained disappearance, would not only be understandable, it would be expected (an perhaps required by the school district).

The same could be true of information that might help a grieving family come to grips with a tragedy. Unfortunately, the truth is not always welcome and the bearer of bad tidings is often blamed or scorned. That is human nature. Of course, it is not unheard of for a murder to use a lie to divert evidence from himself. Is that what has happened here?

As to the accusation of sexual abuse, there is no evidence that I am aware of. I find it hard to believe there was no investigation but there may be no public comment on the findings. Legitimate sexual abuse is often only reported years later, but so are false reports. Without any substantiating evidence, the presumption of innocence must apply.

Since a missing person case will remain open until it is solved, the responsible Law Enforcement agency is under no obligation to release any information it may have but the local Sheriff does have the discretion to release any information he wants. One the case is officially closed, The freedom Of Information Act would apply. Perhaps at some point the case file might be made public and some of these questions may be answered.
 

believe09

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We arent on the jury, so our opinions arent limited to presumption of innocence. If we were boxed in by that rule, the board would be empty and conversation would be stifled.

Roger's family, his friends and his teacher have brought themselves here to have their say and to ask for a show of interest...and maybe even some help. Keeping Roger's story alive, even just on a message board, indicates that this teen has not been completely forgotten. If you have lost a loved one and you still have no resolution, it is unbearable to believe that no one else cares.

Better to have conversation free flowing that stifled. jmvho.
 

Satch

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There's is so little physical evidence in this case, I mean close to nothing, so I'll just throw it out for the community. What do you really think happened to Roger? What do you think he might have saw that he shouldn't have seen? Or do you think he just ran away? I don't think he ran away, I think he may have been an innocent bystander to a drug deal, stronger than Marijuana. Roger I think innocently saw something that went down and payed a tragic price for it.

Do you think that if this had not been such a small town community, that more attention would have been paid to the case and it could have been solved?

Satch

PS. A composite of more articles about Roger can be found here. The story also discusses a John Doe killed when hit by a truck in Colorado and than leads into more about Roger's story. It's long, but a good read:

http://z10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/ar/t7905.htm
 

dogperson

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There's is so little physical evidence in this case, I mean close to nothing, so I'll just throw it out for the community. What do you really think happened to Roger? What do you think he might have saw that he shouldn't have seen? Or do you think he just ran away? I don't think he ran away, I think he may have been an innocent bystander to a drug deal, stronger than Marijuana. Roger I think innocently saw something that went down and payed a tragic price for it.

Do you think that if this had not been such a small town community, that more attention would have been paid to the case and it could have been solved?

Satch

PS. A composite of more articles about Roger can be found here. The story also discusses a John Doe killed when hit by a truck in Colorado and than leads into more about Roger's story. It's long, but a good read:

http://z10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/ar/t7905.htm

Satch:
My personal opinion is he didn't run away. I think foul play was involved but why or by whom I have no idea. There just isn't enough info for me to feel confident about any ideas I might come up with. I think the mysterious men he was supposedly seen talking to needed to be checked out more. Maybe whoever said they saw this could have helped police with some sketches of the men that could have been shown around town. Or maybe whoever claimed they saw him with two men needed to be checked out.
 

LucyOso

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For review, this is a general timeline of events in Roger's case, (published back in February, 2009): Source- http://findrogerellison.wordpress.com/inside-a-reporters-notebook/

Note: For easy reference, I bold printed dates as well as some information that I believe has never been answered. If anyone knows answers or can discuss the bold sections more, please elaborate! Thank you!

Cold Case Timeline

February 10, 1981: Roger Ellison, 17, boarded a school bus bound for Cedaredge High School. He got off the bus and walked to his locker, No. 191 in the school’s basement, and put his books away while chatting with friends. He was never seen again. On the day he disappeared, Roger was reportedly seen talking to two unidentified men. Cedaredge is located in western Colorado at the foot of Grand Mesa National Forest on Highway 65.

An FBI report described Roger as a “straight arrow” despite his alleged marijuana use. The report goes on to describe an incident in 1979 where another school acquaintance “threatened to kill” Roger over his dating a certain girl. The incident was cast aside, saying “it was highly unlikely the threat was carried out after two years without some additional confrontation.”

July 1981: An $8,000 reward is offered by Roger’s parents, Ernest and Evelyn Ellison, to anyone with information that will help solve the case of their missing son. Ernest died a few months after Roger’s disappearance, apparently overcome with grief. Sources close to the family say Ernest spent his last six months waiting for the bright yellow school bus to bring back his son. Prior to her death, Roger’s mother Evelyn begged authorities to take a closer look at the possible link between Roger and John Pash, a Cedaredge High School social studies teacher and wrestling coach who has since relocated to California. She said Pash went to her home after her son’s disappearance and told the family that Roger was suicidal, something Pash had never mentioned before. Pash also allegedly counseled Roger at his home next door to the school.

After Roger’s disappearance in 1981, fliers were distributed by the thousands all over the country, with one eventually making its way to the Missing Children Help Center in Tampa, Florida. The activity sheet attached to the Ellison case file showed five unconfirmed sightings since 1985. Two of those reported sightings came on the same day.

April 7, 1994. That was the day Ellison was featured on the “Sally Jesse Raphael Show,” a nationally syndicated talk show broadcast to millions of people worldwide. Documents show both calls came from Grand Junction after two separate callers thought they recognized Roger from his picture on television. One went so far as to say “she thought it looked like a friend of her brother’s.” The information was passed on to Delta County investigators and Roger’s family. The lead didn’t pan out.

Roger was an honor student with a perfect attendance record. He was also a gifted athlete and a member of the Powderhorn Racing Club. He regularly participated in weekend ski meets hoping to attain “A” level racer status in the United States Ski Association which would open the door to more competitive regional ski races. At the time of his disappearance, Roger had posted the entry fee for a ski race in Aspen but failed to show up for the race. Records also show he had been accepted at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and put a deposit down on a dorm room. He left behind a bank account with $1,000 in it, his skis, car and a motorcycle.

March 1994: A tip sparks an intensive underground search of the former Pash residence located next door to the old Cedaredge High School. An eyewitness told police he saw Pash digging in his yard. When questioned by the eyewitness, Pash reportedly said he was transplanting roses. The eyewitness thought that was a bit odd because it was the wrong time of year to be gardening. A NecroSearch team specializing in locating clandestine graves dug up several sections of the yard but found no human remains.

June 1998: A dying man hoping to clear his conscience tells investigators with the Delta County Sheriff’s Department that he knows what happened to Roger Ellison. According to the man’s account, he and a friend were poaching deer in a wooded area northwest of Cedaredge in early spring of 1981 when they came upon a young man whose hands were bound by white cord and being held at gunpoint by another man. One of the eyewitnesses, who picked Ellison out of a photo lineup, reported hearing two gunshots several minutes after the pair left the area. The two men made a pact to never talk about what they saw and erased it from their memories. The dying man passed a polygraph test. His friend also came forward and corroborated his story.

September 1998: A handful of investigators from various law enforcement agencies along with members of an anthropology class from Western State College in Gunnison searched the heavily wooded area northwest of Cedaredge for Ellison’s remains. The search turned up no new clues in the case.

2005: A team of cold case investigators reviewed the Roger Ellison case.

August 2008: A member of Websleuths, an online crime sleuthing community, makes a startling discovery prompting this post to the website:

CO-Roger Ellison 1981 VANISHED FROM HIGH SCHOOL UND POSSIBLE MATCH.

The poster, who goes by the screen name Intuition, stumbled upon a case on the Doe Network with striking similarities to Roger’s case. The Doe Network is a volunteer organization that assists law enforcement in solving cold cases. The website has a searchable database containing information on unexplained disappearances and unidentified victims. Case File 1107UMCO contains information on an unidentified white male whose skeletal remains were found in September of 1981 in Chaffee County, Colorado. The John Doe is estimated to be about 17 years old, approximately 5’6” tall and weighing 136 pounds. According to the case history, the victim was located on September 10, 1981 in a wooded area near Clear Creek in northern Chaffee County. More bones were found in 1986 in the same general area and a pathologist ruled they were probably from the same person. There were also three cartridge shell casings found near the second set of bones. Scraps of clothing found nearby consisted of a pair of blue jeans, a green corduroy shirt and a T-shirt. The photo on the left is a reconstruction of the unidentified John Doe; the photo on the right is Roger Ellison at age 17. Investigators are looking at a possible link between the two cases. A positive identification has not been made.




February 10, 2009: The case remains unsolved.

Hi Satch, Great research! I read Mr. Pash's response and all the links you added.

My :twocents:

The first thing we need to do when looking at this case is to put it in perspective time wise. This occurred in 1981. It is very easy to throw in our knowledge about current research into psychology, suicide, new societal norms, etc when we look in hindsight.


I am not defending or suggesting Mr. Pash's innocence or guilt. But, I do think he has some very valid points. While his post may appear defensive, strange, and have an attitude of superior intelligence, I do think, as he puts it "the witch hunt" eventually would lead all of us to make similar statements. In context with the 1980's...

1. Suicide was not openly discussed as it is now. Reporting systems were not in place for that during the time. Abuse was a "family" secret, etc. If Roger indicated he was suicidal or hated his life in a project he didn't know was to be turned in that is not the fault of Mr. Pash. How Mr. Pash handled it (here is the hindsight or what we know know about suicide and reporting laws) could be what we would now consider wrong. But, at the time, given Mr. Pash was doing what many teachers do by teaching many subjects that they are not degreed in it may have never occurred to him. A degree in History is ONE area of social sciences and can't be confused with practical and working knowledge of all subject areas. The major "error" if you could call it that was having students turn in an assignment they thought would be confidential. A history major would not know how de-stabalizing that could be to a depressed young person. If Roger's answers appeared on the board, he would have felt everyone knew it was his thoughts (people really didn't) and that could be a catalyst for him to disappear. In hindsight, we know this is a bad idea, in the 1980's the research wasn't there. Do we know everything in the assignment that Roger submitted? If Roger smoked pot (not uncommon) did he openly write who he got it from, etc in that paper? Did he want to disappear after the requirement to submit an assignment he treated as a personal self-disclosure/diary? In essence having to submit this assignment may have pushed him over the edge if he took it very seriously and wrote his true feelings. Mr. Pash is not a psychologist, thus, requested the submission of the assignment and the potential issues it could cause was not on his mind. And realistically, it is not something that even the cutting edge psychologists at the time would have totally been aware of.

2. Mr. Pash maybe talks to the mother. Most teachers would especially after LE confiscates an assignment as evidence and Pash may not have even given a second thought to it. He may have not been savvy or handled it correctly with the parents. He may have eluded to the paper and why he was questioned by police. But, honestly...he may have just bumbled through a visit trying to help. Again, the reaction to the suggestion of "suicide" in the 1980's is going to be a lot different then now. We now have resources, we now understand a lot more, it was a taboo subject then that was often considered a reflection on parenting. Even a teen writing, I wish I was never born could be taken out of context, especially if Roger's parents felt it reflected on them. So, how the mother reacted and our ideas about responsible reporting and signs of suicidal behavior are far different from 1981.

3. Parents often assume that because children get straight-A's and are involved in competitive sports, their lives are fine. As someone who was a ski racer, I can tell the the sheer amount of pressure to do well in everything can push anyone over the edge. In fact, I gave it up because it stopped being fun. So, while Roger was an overachiever in some ways, perhaps this was NOT making him happy. Perhaps, he really was burnt out, tired, and miserable. Not all kids manifest their struggles by letting grades slip or dropping out of sports. In fact, this correlation of signs of depression did not evolve until the 1990s.

4. About Mr. Pash being gay. Of course people would say that. In the 1980's the LGBT community were persecuted. Remember the AIDS/HIV was being discovered and it was called GRID (Gay-Related Immunodeficiency Disease)? While there is a chance Mr. Pash was married 4 times and had really young children as a "cover-up" the reality is the "gayness" is just another way to vilify or marginalize Mr. Pash. Many people still think all gay men are pedophiles..image the ideas back then in small town America. Red Herring.

5. There are comments from students in the posts about the orgies, drug use, and such at Mr. Pash's house. This is possible, I know certain ethical adult-child boundaries and relationships were not common in the 1980's. But, the big thing is of all the posters not a single one identified themselves except Mr. Pash. So we have anonymous people claiming some pretty significant things without verification. While they do not need to be verified publicly, the blog author is journalistically negligent by not verify sources of information. That being said, it is also very common for victims of crimes to transfer their abuse to a person that cannot hurt them. Not that this is correct, but, when disclosing abuse to get help (especially if the perp is known, near, and could re-victimize them) it is easy to fabricate who the abuser was. Mr. Pash, already a target, who is out of the area is a safe person to blame abuse on to get help. It is very possible Mr. Pash is what the posters say he is, however, in all fairness to both victims of abuse and those accused who may be innocent, we can't place Mr. Pash on trial for something posted by an anonymous blogger.

5. Roger most likely left the school on his own accord as there was no obvious struggle. He most likely did return his books to school. We all know (NOW) that suicidal people usually take care of "business" prior to ending their lives. We don't have enough information to figure out if Roger had any other behaviors that we now know are red flags. This really does complicate the case, because, not all leads are being checked out. If we focus only on the foul-play angle, we may miss other clues to what happened. While he most likely is not still here, if we look at where he may have gone from the school, the locations will be very different if we take his depression seriously vs. just looking at Mr. Pash or some other person abducting/killing him.

6. During the time of Roger's disappearance there where multiple cases of young boys/men vanishing in Colorado during the time. From 1978 to 1984 there were about 3 a year. What needs to be looked at is if there is a connection in these cases and if we are missing the "big picture" on the situation.

:twocents:
 

Satch

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Great post above Lucy! Thank you!

With regards to the following:

2. Mr. Pash maybe talks to the mother. Most teachers would especially after LE confiscates an assignment as evidence and Pash may not have even given a second thought to it. He may have not been savvy or handled it correctly with the parents. He may have eluded to the paper and why he was questioned by police. But, honestly...he may have just bumbled through a visit trying to help. Again, the reaction to the suggestion of "suicide" in the 1980's is going to be a lot different then now. We now have resources, we now understand a lot more, it was a taboo subject then that was often considered a reflection on parenting. Even a teen writing, I wish I was never born could be taken out of context, especially if Roger's parents felt it reflected on them. So, how the mother reacted and our ideas about responsible reporting and signs of suicidal behavior are far different from 1981.

How much time passed between Mr. Pash requiring the students to turn in the writing assignment and Roger's disappearance? It might be mentioned, but I don't remember.

I agree. Could there have been something so private in the journal writing of Roger's, that he was shocked that Pash would have the students turn in said work and even though the responses were anonymous, would the students still have known something about Roger from the responses on the board? What was the purpose of the assignment and for which of Mr. Pash's classes was it assigned?

However, I don't think Roger would say to his friend Mitch, "I'll see you in class and we'll catch up than." if he had planned on that day to run away. Why would he put his friends parents through that kind of pain and devastation? I totally agree that when a student does as well as Roger did in school and sports, feelings of something being wrong are often masked and not talked about. Very powerful insight!

Satch
 

pol100gk

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I haven't posted here but have a few thoughts to contribute.

Regarding the teacher, I don't know him from Adam but I feel that people may be a bit harsh regarding his tone. I teach at college level and there are public boards where students make comments about their professors. It is common practice to write a pack of lies about a professor who has given you a bad grade or caught you cheating and failed you. Nobody but the professor knows that what the student posted is defamatory. These boards, like websleuths, can be googled and seen by future employers, neighbors, future dates etc etc. While I can live with the sting of the defamation, clearly having these kinds of lies about yourself openly available can turn out to be problematic. If the teacher is innocent (and even if he is not) having his name discussed here together with his location has all sorts of implications for his life and I can sympathize that he feels the sting and lashes out. To be fair, there is a lot of speculation here and he did provide more info, whether you feel you can trust it or not. He is 'outed' here with his real name while most others here are unknown identities IRL to him. I can see how this is stressful for him and how that explains his tone.

I believe Roger's sister hinted in a post here that the teacher implied that the material submitted by Roger indicated suicidal intentions. The teacher also explained that he had not yet seen/graded the material that was confiscated by the police so he could not have acted on the paper's content. He also said that the police asked him to share the content of the paper with the parents which explains why he did not go immediately. That is his explanation of events which is not implausible. What I find difficult to grasp however is why Roger would put these kinds of feelings in an assignment to a teacher he hardly knew (according to the teacher) but would not leave a letter to his family who he was very close to. My guess would be that if you are silent about your suicidal intentions, you are silent all the way and don't put it in an assignment.

Also, if he did commit suicide, it is possible that the body was not found because of the terrain. But again, is it plausible that he would commit suicide somewhere where his body was not likely to be found knowing what distress this would cause to the family?

It also does not add up that on the one hand, the teacher pushes the suicide theory but on the other makes reference to Roger having been seen hitchhiking out of town. So he implies two different scenarios.

The teacher also indicates that the newspaper articles on this case that were published immediately after the disappearance report that Roger was seen by witnesses hitchhiking out of town. Does anyone have access to these articles and could you post them here? We have only seen the 1982 article here where the police chief is quoted as saying there were no further sightings of Roger after he saw his friend who he shared the locker with at 8am.

Lori's blog and timeline make reference to two witnesses who interacted with Roger the day of his disappearance. There is no reference to this elsewhere and I know Lori has passed. But can we find independent confirmation of this ? Likewise of the story of the two hunters? Does anybody who knew Lori know where she got this info from?

I think these are the areas to concentrate on. If we can debunk the theory that Roger was seen after 8am outside the school, that closes down a whole avenue of thought/speculation. But if it turns out that Roger was indeed headed out of town, then that is a crucial bit of information.
 

STANDREID

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I believe Roger would have turned 50 yesterday.

An interesting case with not any really good explanations. It seems like he was planning to meet someone that morning but didn't realize the seriousness of the situation. That's my first take anyway from what little I know.
 
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