Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

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Roger
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Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Roger »

There is an individual, Jesse Capen from Denver, Colorado, who has gone missing in the Superstitions since Dec 5th. Jesse is a white male, about 35 yrs old, 5'8'' tall, 205 lbs, and has dark hair and eyes. He parked his jeep at the Tortilla Ranch Trailhead and set up a tent camp at Kane Spring area. It appears that he had not been in his camp for the past 8 to 10 days. He had some maps in his jeep and tent marked with places in Peters Canyon around Cottonwood Seep and the mouth of Pistol Canyon. The Maricopa County Sheriff's office has done an air and ground search for a number of days, but has now called it off unless they get some leads on where to look. There have been several articles in Phoenix area newspapers and on TV. Here is a link to one of them:

http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news/lo ... 12-23-2009

Jesse's family said he was going to Arizona to look for the Dutchman's Mine or treasure. They think he had been corresponding with someone in Arizona about the LDM or possibly on one of the LDM Forums.

A Specific Question: Have any of you had any communication with Jesse Capen and have any idea of where he might have been headed in the Superstitions? If that detail were available, the MCSO would restart the search in that area. If you have any information, please contact the Mesa District Office of MCSO at 602-876-1853.

This case reinforces that hikers in the Superstition Wilderness need an emergency satellite communicator for emergency situations - especially if going in alone. This could easily mean the difference between life and death.

Thanks,

Roger
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

This was posted by Tim Parker on TreasureNet.com:

Here is the latest info regarding the search for Jesse copied from Jim Hatt and DesertUSA.com


Tortilla Search
Friday, January 1, 2010 5:52 PM
From:
"David Bremson" <[email protected]>

Mr. Hatt,

As we discussed, Maricopa and Pinal County Sheriff's Offices will have search and rescue personnel in the area you mentioned in your forum. We ask your forum members to please stay out of the area during the active search. Mr. Capen has been missing for several weeks, and any potential clues in the area are very fragile. If untrained searchers are in the area, they may accidently destroy any remaining evidence and decrease the possibility of locating the gentleman.

We understand that you are concerned with his well-being, however, we are also concerned, in addition to the safety of non-trained people operating in the area.

Thank you for your assistance and understanding.

Regards,

David

www.mountainrescue.org
www.mra.org
____________________________________________

Untill the search has been called of by all professionals, please abide by their request and stay out of the search area.

Thanks in advance,

Joe
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Jesse J. Feldman »

Joe,

I can hardly believe those requests made by the Sheriffs' offices. They are absolutely ridiculous! We are not untrained and we know those mountains better than they do, by far.... And we do have a better understanding of some dynamics. If someone does find a body, we know what to do - don't touch anything and call the authorities. However, if he is hanging on somewhere, it is people who know those mountains and who know where a treasure seeker might be that will find this guy. I ask, why did we hear about this missing man around the time they called off the search?

This summer the Sheriffs office (it may have only been Pinal) took on a big search for a missing hiker who parked his bike at the L. D. State Park. They too made the same mistake by not wanting any of us to help out in the search. They spent over $100,000 in chopper fuel etc. and never found him. The search was called off and the unlucky fellow was finally found when the buzzards began to eat his flesh. I sat at the Mammoth Steak House a number of evenings while the search was on and discussed the missing man with locals. It is a nice atmosphere on the Mammoth porch in the summer evenings. We all had the same idea - that he was not far from the park - that he could be no farther than a quarter of a mile away from his bike. For some reason we knew. In fact, he was much closer than that and, as I was told, he was visible from one of the trails, very close to the search headquarters. How embarrassing for those high tech searchers to not want any of the locals help and to have missed this man, allowing time and buzzards to deteriorate his body, allowing that much money to be spent, and allowing more distraught on the family of that man. They should have asked some of the locals to help in the search. Just ask Tom K why he quit going on those searches.... I understand most of their issues, for not wanting others to help, but they should take a second look at their policy and ask some locals for help, as it used to be for decades past. If nothing more, they should spread the story when it happens, welcome all ideas, welcome people who know those mountains and understand the people who go there.

Just couldn’t help to post here Joe. Take Care, Jesse
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Jesse J. Feldman »

Joe,

Where do you think this Jesse Capen is?

Only knowing what I have read here about Capen, I think he is in Pistol Canyon.

Can anyone give a full story? Anyone have any ideas where he is?

Jesse
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by djui5 »

Jesse,
If I knew where his tent was I could possibly speculate on where he would up, but it's really hard to say. According to the report in the link above all his personal effects were left in his tent, which was 2 miles from the Tortilla Ranch trail head. The question is, which way was the tent located? West or South? It's really hard to say where he would up. The report did state he was supposed to be searching the Peters Mesa/Pistol Canyon area.

Another thing is judging by that picture, which could be really old, he seems quite a bit overweight. That could be a large factor in how far he made it too.
Randy Wright
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Jesse J. Feldman »

Randy,

Happy New Year pal!

I read a thread on Capen that gave some more info. His mother posted a couple times on that thread - Capen is a physically capable man and capable in the back country. Cane Springs is on the Peters Pack Trail, just before a big climb to the pass, going to Peters Canyon. His mother said that Jesse may have a day pack. I did not read that a day pack was found, only that his main backpacking pack was found. If his goal was to go to the Pistol Canyon area, he may have used his tent as a headquarters and took day hikes to Pistol C. Pistol C. is not too far from Cane Springs for a good hiker. And it makes sence to me that this could be what Jesse had in mind. We all know that some people believe the Dutchman is in Pistol Canyon, though not too many actually get there. It is a hot spot for treasure seekers and it is very brushy and rugged, more so than some of the surrounding country. I only hope that he is still alive and that that area has already been searched and will continue to be searched on the ground.

Jesse
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

Jesse,

Good to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and the family.

Hard to say where Jesse went. Ask six different Dutch Hunters, and you would likely get six different answers. His mom told me he had a lot of books with highlighted pages, many maps with his markings and notes up the wazoo. Sounds like every treasure hunter I have ever known.

Going on what I know of the area, and where I have been in the past, I would look directly north of Kane Spring and take the trail up the east side of Tortilla. Once on top, I would search towards the south and below the peak.

I say that, because I assume he would camp close to his area of interest. For me, the most interesting thing in that area.......is Tortilla Mt. I have been up that east side with a backpack and know it can be done. I was a young pup back then, so I don't know what it is like today.

Do any of you have Jesse's moms contact information? If not, I will ask her to contact anyone who is interested in looking.

Take care,

Joe
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by djui5 »

Jesse J. Feldman wrote:Randy,

Happy New Year pal!

Jesse
Happy New Year! Your post makes sense. I didn't think about a day pack, that is probably the case. Where is this thread she has been posting on? I'd like to read what she has to say.
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

Hi Randy,

Hope you had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Here is a link: http://forum.treasurenet.com/index.php/ ... 777.0.html

I have exchanged a few private messages with Mrs. Burnett, after she contacted me. Seems like a great person living through some bad times right now. If you would like me to give her your email address, I will send her an email.

Anyone who contacts her should take care in what you say.

If all of the searchers have been called off, I should think a combination of ground pounders and calvary would be the order of the day. My guess is that the easy stuff has already been looked at, but I could be wrong.

At this point, I believe that Jesse may have taken the road less traveled......possibly entailing some free hand climbing. Doubt anyone on horseback will be finding him.

Good luck and take care,

Joe
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by djui5 »

Thanks Joe. It was a great Christmas and New Years. I hope yours was good as well. I probably don't need to e-mail her directly, just wanted to see what she was saying on the forum. I was going to head up there tomorrow but I think I will hold out until the MSO ends their dealings with the area. I'd hate to mess something up stumbling around like I always do.
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

Randy,

We spent both holidays vegitating. We did just get back from seeing Avatar.....Great movie!

I think your decision to hold off searching is a good one. If they pull off, go for it.

Good Luck and good hunting,

Joe
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

Jesse, or anyone else who may still be searching for Jessie, this is the area I would focus on. That's without any knowledge of the evidence that was at his camp, including any footprints he may have left. That means I could be completely wrong. He could have gone anywhere.

Image

Good luck,

Joe
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by djui5 »

Joe,
Same thing as on t-net, his camp site is improperly marked and I ask kindly that you remove it from the map. Thank you Sir.
Randy Wright
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by wwjohnson »

Not much has been heard lately about the missing men, Jesse Capen who vanished a little over a year ago and the three men from Utah who went missing last summer. With hundreds of hikers in the Superstitions over the past holidays, still nothing has been found to lead to any clues acording to the Maricopa County sheriff's office.

I just returned from 4 days in the mountains. Camped near by to where jesse Capens camp was found and did trips out in all directions he might have gone following trails and paths that looked to be well used animal paths. No sign of anything clothing equipment or bones. Went as far out as the meet up of Peters and pistol canyons. also up onto the south end of Tortilla mountain and south and east of Capens camp to. Went out in all directions. I talked with the Sheriffs search rescu people and they say there is still no clue what direction the Capen man might of went. I saw a few other hikers, some I talked with didn't know anyone was missing in the mountains.

I just wanted to bring the subject back up in hope others might get interested again in going out and looking for these 4 men. I met some hikers who hadnt gone out searching for the men but are keeping a eye out for them as they travel along. the mountains were damp cold with a few pools of good water down in the creeks. Good water at the Kane spring nearby to where Jese Capen had set up his camp.

Will Johnson
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by wwjohnson »

It is being reported two of the three missing Utah men have been found in the Superstition Mountains. They were reportedly found friday by a hiker, Rick Gwynn, while hiking on the west side of Yellow Peak. The bodies were badly decomposed and positive identification will have to wait. The Sheriff is not giving out any information about the cause of death for the two men.

My condolences to the families of these two men.

Will Johnson
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

Mr. Johnson,

"They were reportedly found friday by a hiker, Rick Gwynn, while hiking on the west side of Yellow Peak."

Can you tell us your source for who found the bodies?

Thank you,

Joe Ribaudo
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

Two bodies were found by Rick Gwynn on the N/W side of Yellow Peak. The Sheriff's Office has not released any information yet, pending positive ID.

Joe Ribaudo
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by zentull »

Maricopa County Sheriffs crews have recovered two decomposing bodies from the rugged Superstition Mountains, and investigators believe they may be from a party of three Utah hikers who disappeared in July while searching for the fabled Lost Dutchman Gold Mine

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/pina ... z1AhlEodIe
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

Hi Wayne,

Hope all is well with you, the family and the pups.

Wallets were found with the bodies, but I would imagine they will wait for DNA before saying for sure. The Sheriff's Office is pretty sure who they are. Sad outcome, but wholly expected.

Take care,

Joe
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by zentull »

I would hope that everyone is respectful of the families involved concerning the details of this situation and refrain at this time from posting any further information or speculation until the authorities have notified the families and released such information to the public.
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by wwjohnson »

MCSO authorities say the skeletal remains of a third missing Utah man may have been found in the Superstition Mountains Saturday.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jeff Sprong said the office was contacted around 12:45 p.m. Saturday by a subject who reported finding possible human skeletal remains. Sprong said the person told them it is one person and possibly the third hiker from the group that went missing last July.

Authorities said positive identification of two sets of remains found last weekend may come as early as next week.
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by djui5 »

Godspeed.

I will be going out looking for Jesse before summer hits. I will not stop until I find him.
Randy Wright
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by novice »

I am hoping that Tom Kollenborn will put together a story on the 3 hikers from Utah. I could have missed many of the story details but so far I have seen little officially or unofficially. I assume the case is closed?

One question someone may be able to help me with is whether a coroner’s inquest was held for each of the individuals, would that record be public, and has anyone seen or had copies made?

There are a few parallels between this case and the Adolph Ruth case. In both cases the individuals disappeared in the hot season, both were initially searched for and not found, the bodies were discovered after lying exposed in the mountains for about 6 months. The official verdict for both was death by exposure to the elements.

The vulture story has been prominent in the Ruth story. According to some, since vultures were never seen after Ruth went missing, it was evidence that the body had to have been moved, buried, dug-up and relocated. It would appear that in the 3 hikers case, vultures were never observed after the men went missing either?

When Ruth’s remains were found, it was reported by the Arizona Republic that the bones of the missing prospector had been scattered over an area of 50 to 100 square yards. The clothing had been shredded by coyotes and mountain hogs.

Does anyone have a description of the scene where the remains of the 3 hikers were found. If so, did it parallel the Ruth scene?

Another proof offered that Ruth’s body had been buried and moved involved the “green” (skin still in evidence) condition of the skull. It was assumed that bodies exposed in the mountains for 6 months would have been bleached out and picked clean. Again I would be interested in the condition of the bones and skulls of the 3 hikers. Were the skulls still attached to the skeletons, was skin still in evidence, etc.?

I hope no one finds these questions disrespectful as they certainly aren’t intended that way. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the three hikers and also the family of Adolph Ruth who went missing 80 years ago.

Garry
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by Cubfan64 »

Garry - you bring up some excellent points and very good questions. I can't answer very many of them since I've asked some of them in other places and gotten little to no response as well.

For what it's worth, a woman who posted as Delila Charles (Ardean Charles's daughter) on another forum recently thanked people who searched for her dad (he was one of the 3 men found dead). I can't vouch for her identity or the validity of what she said except to say that throughout the searches she never gave the impression of being anything other than honest.

One of the things she mentioned is that the family received a letter from the medical examiner's office stating that the cause of death was "outdoor environmental exposure" and was ruled as an accident.

I've seen nothing in the papers or anything official regarding the missing men since the bodies were found.

I knot that doesn't help much, but perhaps others can chime in.
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Re: Missing Hiker In The Superstitions

Post by wwjohnson »

I have to say I feel this is not only disrespectful but terribly insensitive and hurtful to the families of the three men. Its one thing to be curious of the details of a matter like this and how or if it matches the Ruth death, but to come on a public forum and troll for gory details from anyone who just staggered out of a bar in AJ and just heard the story 3rd hand from another drunk and is more than ready to post gory details weather they are true or not is as low as one can get.

Asking if the three men were bothered by vultures, coyotes and hogs and if their remains were scattered and asking what the condition of the remains and skulls looked like and other inappropriate questions is totally insensitive given the men have not been dead a year and the families are still in the grieving process.

I know Tom Kollenborn would have the good sense to put together an account that at this time, dealt only with the major points of the deaths and the finding of the body and not dive into gory and sensational details obtained from anyone with a computer.

The investigation has been closed and if you are seriously interested in finding out the details here is a suggestion. Stop trolling dutchman websites for information from anyone who heard a story or has a theory of their own.

Call the Maricopa County Medical Examiners office at (602) 506-3322 and ask your questions and maybe they can help you with a report or death certificate.

Call the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office at (602) 876-1801 and ask for Officer Don Roughan. He was in charge of the search and recovery and may give you some information about the men or the names of the men who discovered the remains so you might talk directly with them to learn the facts.

thank you.

Will Johnson
Apache Junction
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