It’s a huge problem in this country, one that’s not reported on, and one that federal authorities don’t want you to know about.
There are no accurate numbers for the amount of people that go missing each year. Many are unexplained, many of these people are never found. They’re all ages, all intelligence levels.
They happen in Montana, and they’ve been happening for decades. One place they’ve been happening is Glacier National Park, and today we’ll explore this phenomenon.
The missing in Glacier National Park aren’t the same as the park’s dead. Death records for Glacier National Park started in January 1913, and 260 had died in the park by 2013.
Sometimes we say that Glacier swallows them, as in the case of Yi-Jien Hwa, who went missing on August 11, 2008. The Malaysian exchange student had been studying at a seminary school in Kentucky, had hiked all over American trails, and was in good health. What happened?
No one knows, and after waiting 40 days and 40 nights, his distraught family headed home, convinced the wilderness had swallowed Hwa alive.
In the end the search was called off, as they so often are, quietly and without fanfare. It was figured the men drowned, though no proof of this was ever found. Another season in Glacier wound to a close, and by the next it was time to move on. And move on they did – visitors came and went, new rangers too. But so did the disappearances.
In July 1933, W. Cosby Bell disappeared on Mount Brown. Nearly a year later, on August 30, 1934, Dr. F.H. Lumley disappeared. Searching went on until September 8, when the snows came. And then the park slept, for nearly two decades, until 1950 when two fishermen went missing on Kintla Lake. Since a third was found dead nearby, it was determined the other two had drowned, their bodies claimed by the depths.
Things quieted down again until 1963 when 21-year-old David Paul Wilson went missing after climbing up Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. He’d been a seasonal employee, and once again, the disappearance was never adequately explained. The next year, in 1964, a worker at the Rising Sun Motor Inn went missing, and it was suspected they fell from St. Mary Falls. Again, no body was ever found.
One of the strangest incidents took place in June 1976. A family of seven was having a picnic at the Apgar picnic area. The father decided to take a solo spin with the boat, and was never seen again. The boat was found, “halfway up the west shore wedged between rocks with the propeller stuck in gravel.” It’s likely he drowned, but how do you know?
It’s that not knowing that drives friends and family crazy. The decades passed once again, and those with memories of the cases faded away. But the park’s appetite remained. In May 29, 2003, Larry Kimble went missing, his truck parked at the Fish Creek area. After that it was Hwa and then Kreiser.
There’s no rhyme or reason to the disappearances, and no way to determine when they’ll happen, or to whom. But happen again they will, that you can be sure. For each spring the park opens, and each year the park’s appetite grows.