FL - Ben McDaniel, 30, Ponce de Leon, 18 Aug 2010

Discussion in '2010's Missing' started by mayqueen, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. mayqueen

    mayqueen Member

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    I saw this case on Disappeared tonight and didn't see a thread for it.

    Press release from Holmes County Sheriff's Office:
    Experts Don't Believe Missing Diver is Actually in Cave at Vortex Springs:
    When a diver goes missing, a deep cave is scene of a deeper mystery:
     

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  3. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Active Member

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    I watched this episode as well. The one thing that does point to Ben being in the cave was that the final diver, the woman from Australia, did find what is believed to be Ben's shovel way back further into the caves than any of the other divers had gone. I think she was smaller and was able to go further. She also said that there is a slight possibility he could be stuck in a crevice, as divers can panic and try to crawl into small spaces when running out of air, i.e. Personally, I do think he is in there, one way or another.

    It was never explained why he was carrying over $1000 cash, which was in his truck. That seems like an awful lot of cash to leave in your wallet for a day of diving, but may be unrelated.

    What security footage was available showed nothing unusual for the day he vanished.

    It was kind of disturbing to learn that he was not certified for cave-diving, yet had found a way to undo the "gate" to the caves underwater, since he could not get a key. Yet the day he disappeared, the employee did give him a key or let him in, as he said that Ben would have been in more danger the way he was getting in on his own, by going under the bars or something.

    It is very strange that he has not been found, but since no one has been able to get to the end of the tunnel, I guess it is possible he is there. If someone was determined enough...plus three of his tanks were found, so if he shed those, he would not have taken up so much space.

    He HAD been thru depression over the death of his brother and the huge financial issues he had suffered and was still dealing with, although his family feels certain that he was not suicidal.

    In any event, a very sad mystery.
     
  4. thesaint

    thesaint New Member

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    Caught about half of this. The question I had/have is why didn't they resort to robotic search earlier and more? They are able to send robot devices equipped with 360 degree view angles down into ship wrecks and have them move about fairly readily. This tunnel looked like easy-peasy for such a device.
     
  5. Tristan

    Tristan New Member

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    Excellent post. :)

    I am intrigued by this case....all signs point to him being in the cave....but then you think about it for a while, and it doesn't add up.

    I don't think he intentionally went in without enough air, but he could have
    decided to go farther into the cave, and not realized he wouldn't be able to get back out.

    As for the disappearing to start a new life, I don't think he would do that to his parents, especially after the loss of his brother, and also, there would likely be *some* sightings of him.
     
  6. October

    October New Member

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    I watched this tonight, very intriguing case. One of my first thoughts was that he died accidentally in the cave and was found by someone who worked there, and then disposed of for liability reasons. The cadaver dogs did hit on the water and the shore, so I do suspect he passed away. The employee left the gate open for him even though he knew he wasn't certified. I think they may have been afraid of a lawsuit.

    From all of the articles about cave diving it seems clear that he is not in that cave. This is a very straight forward cave and the best cave divers in the world have searched. If they say he's not there, I don't believe he is. The shovel could be anyone's. Many divers carry the same kind of shovel. We don't even know if it had been there long.

    I'm on my phone right now, but I need to read a bit more about this. I'll be back tomorrow with more thoughts, I'm sure :)
     
  7. Jessicaleanne1992

    Jessicaleanne1992 New Member

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    I'm pretty sure this is a cover up by the diving company. They don't want a lawsuit since someone opened the gate for him. I think the faimly kind of senses that too. I hope they interveiwed the workers there thoroughly. So sad.
     
  8. mayqueen

    mayqueen Member

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    Some interesting details in this Tennessee-based article from a month ago.

    Theories about Collierville diver's disappearance swirl in vortex of unanswered questions:
    ETA: So it appears his parents do suspect wrong-doing by the resort. Though I think it's more likely that Ben died while diving and an employee recovered his body and disposed of it, as opposed to foul play. IMO.
     
  9. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Active Member

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    Why would they dispose of his body? Other people have drowned while scuba diving...it would not have been that unusual. If they wanted to cover up the fact that they let him into the cave, which they admitted, they could have just moved his body in the regular part of the pond, that would be a lot easier than getting him out of the water without being seen by witnesses or on tape. I do think the shovel was his, and that somehow, he is in the inner-most parts of the cave. JMO
     
  10. Sleuthster

    Sleuthster Active Member

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    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...g=3902,2552191&dq=blue+sink+palm+harbor&hl=en

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...g=1800,5393005&dq=blue+sink+palm+harbor&hl=en

    These are both archive stories regarding a once popular spot for scuba diving and swimming in my town. Grew up swimming there with my friends. Interesting stories about chemicals that can effect divers at certain levels that they desend to and about underground tunnels.

    Wanted to point out the underground tunnels. Cant find the infamous story from my youth (after these news articles time frame). A diver went down in Blue Sink, past the gate that is far below and was sucked through an underground tunnel in the cavern and ended up being found in Crystal Beach.

    The point is, here in Florida these caves are formed from sink holes. Sink holes are bottomless they say. That is because they lead to more caverns and tunnels beneath which lead eventually to another body of water. Not sure if it is through the auquafer or some other spring. What Im saying is, it is quite possible that he did parrish there but was taken somewhere else through a cavern or tunnel from this dive hole to another spring.
     
  11. Sleuthster

    Sleuthster Active Member

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  12. Sleuthster

    Sleuthster Active Member

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    In this wiki article is states that Vortex leads to the Artisian Aquifer, aka the Florida Aquifer. So it is possible that this spring is "bottomless" and there are tunnels or some sort of cavern that leads to it.

    Vortex Spring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  13. mayqueen

    mayqueen Member

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    Possible theories:

    (a) Ben died while diving in the cave, unintentionally
    (b) Ben died while diving in the cave, intentionally (suicide)
    (c) Ben died but not while diving, whether by foul play or accident
    (d) Ben staged things to look like he died in the cave, but took his life somewhere else
    (e) Ben staged his own death and is still alive somewhere

    I go back and forth on what I think happened. But I did some reading in some SCUBA communities yesterday, and many/most divers firmly believe in theory (e). I'm not a diver so I don't know anything about the equipment needed for cave diving, but apparently the tanks found in the cave were not decompression tanks like you would need. They weren't full and contained only air as opposed to a gas mix. Ben had allegedly been studying cave diving extensively so would've/should've known he needed a gas mix. ('Disappeared' did mention that, but I didn't really understand, so I spent some time this morning reading about breathing gases.)

    The diver who found the shovel, Jill Heinerth, has made a film about the search called "Ben's Vortex". I'm looking forward to watching it. This case is just so fascinating to me.
     
  14. Sleuthster

    Sleuthster Active Member

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    Another thing to consider. Alligators have been seen at Vortex Springs.
     
  15. ajurk

    ajurk It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

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    Watched this today on disappeared my question is when someone went to look for him was the gate unlocked ? If the worker unlocked it for him wouldn't they go back and lock it when Ben was done? So no one else would get in there without signing in?
     
  16. Amster

    Amster Active Member

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    I didn't understand where he got $1000 found in his wallet. Supposedly, he was broke.
     
  17. clkwrks

    clkwrks New Member

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    FWIW, the shovel probably belonged to a diver hired by the family, who was there after Edd Sorenson and before Jill Heinreth.
     
  18. clkwrks

    clkwrks New Member

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    Within days of Ben's disappearance six recovery divers attempted to find him in the cave and found nothing.Then Edd Sorenson, one of the best recovery divers there is, made two separate dives in an attempt to find McDaniel. He had been further in the cave than anyone else and found nothing. No marks in the clay at the bottom of the cave, no marks in the limestone, and no fish or other aquatic life that would smell the body and decomposition and swarm around the area. As mayqueen points out above, most divers seem to believe that Ben is not in Vortex Spring.
     
  19. clkwrks

    clkwrks New Member

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  20. clkwrks

    clkwrks New Member

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    Unfortunately there was another drowning there less than two weeks ago.
    http://www.newsherald.com/articles/spring-101267-vortex-dies.html
     
  21. clkwrks

    clkwrks New Member

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    Jill Heinerth's documentary "Ben's Vortex" which is unrelated to the Disappeared episode should be out this summer. There is a website with a trailer. bensvortex.com
     

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