This will be my final 48 hour post.
I want to thank every person who wrote a polite and interesting question.
I can say that this experience has been interesting and exhausting.
There has never been a point, in any of my research where I had interactions like I had here.
I know that the vast majority of you will never meet a parent who has lost their child, never knowing where they are or what happened. That life void
has to be the worst experience any parent could have. The most riveting and emotional interviews I have ever done was with one of those parents,
Dennis Martins father, Bill.
Looking back in my career, there have been dozens of times where I investigated missing teenagers, young kids and adults, on nearly every occasion the
disappearance turned out to be voluntary. A seasoned investigator could become very calloused to another case and allow that series of experiences to
push them to generalize. Ah, this is just another missing person case, probably bad parenting, poor relationship, people feeling sorry for themselves,
etc, etc. What I learned years ago, you can NEVER generalize, about anything. Just because you had five experiences where it didn't end the way you
thought, that doesn't mean the 6th will turn out the same. If you lose sight of this fact, the relationships and communications you have will be less
then honorable and you'll never get to the truth behind the issue.
The background behind the Martin case was pretty straight forward. Dennis disappeared on a rural field in Rocky Mountain National park. What followed
is a series of incidents that are truly unreal. When we started to investigate this incident, it appeared that Mr. Martin had been lied to by the
investigators inside the National Park Service and by the FBI. It specifically looked as if they were withholding the most valuable information that
was gathered in the case.
One of the biggest revenue generators in the Knoxville area is Rocky Mountain National Park. In 2010,
) this article states that the park generated 818 million in revenue for the gateway
communities, this is HUGE. The number of businesses surrounding the park that are dependent on the park visitors for revenue is large.
If the park admits that a small boy might have been abducted, this could have a major effect on the surrounding communities and park visitations. Ah,
but there wasn't just one mysterious disappearance, there have been several. The theory behind the Martin abduction wasn't mine, the retired head
tracker for the park service states that he now believes Dennis was abducted.
When I met Mr. Martin at his house, the same house he lived when Dennis disappeared, the man still looked the same as in 1969. He came to the door, I
explained who I was and asked for a few minutes of his time. He explained that this disappearance had had a major impact on the life of he and his
wife and that he had promised his wife it would no longer be discussed. I explained that I had traveled from California specifically to speak with him
and asked for just a few minutes. He closed the door behind him and stepped onto the front porch.
When Mr. Martin and I started to talk, the man had tears in his eyes. The disappearance of his son had destroyed this families life. At the time of
their biggest need, they turned to the NPS for assistance and direction on finding Dennis. Mr. Martin told me that the NPS, investigators and the
press had lied and withheld information, I explained what I knew, he was surprised. I asked a few deep questions that probably have never been asked.
I explained that I knew the "Key" family had seen something on a hillside in a reasonable time frame after Dennis disappeared and wanted to know if
there was something else about this that wasn't released. Mr. Martin stated that the FBI and NPS never wanted this information released to him or the
public. They also never wanted the public to know that whatever was seen on that hillside, was carrying something on its shoulder. I believe that the
direct impression he wanted to leave was that Dennis could've been on that shoulder. The NPS and FBI told Mr. Martin that the time frames for this
observation didn't work, that was a LIE. Dwight McCarter (the tracker for the park service at the time) and Mr. Martin quickly walked from Spence
Field to the point of the "Key" observation in a time frame that would've made the sighting possible.
Imagine at the time of your greatest need, when you were absolutely at your lowest point in life, the one time when you needed the governmental
agencies there to assist, find and comfort and they do exactly the opposite. You've just lost your most important possession and now the people
you've always looked to as honorable turn out to be something quite different.
The last question I ask any witness before I leave, "Is there something about this incident that isn't known by the public and is something I should
understand?" Mr. Martin stated that there was. He asked if I was aware of the number of disappearances in the mountains near the time Dennis
disappeared, I named them. He asked if I knew the FBI agent that was on scene in each of those cases, I named him. He asked if I knew what happened to
him, I stated I did not. Mr. Martin stated that the agent committed suicide. This was later confirmed. It was apparent that Mr. Martin gave us this
information for a specific reason.
Our investigation into the Dennis Martin disappearance uncovered several major facts that the public does not know. The Martin family has never had
justice in this case and has never experienced support and honesty from the NPS or the Knoxville Press. Each one of the four major television networks
in Knoxville refused to report on any of this information. Do I understand why Mr. Martin refuses to talk to the press, absolutely. The support
mechanisms meant to support victim families failed the Martins. When I walked away from meeting Mr. Martin, I had tears in my eyes. I know I could
never feel the totality of his pain, but I felt some small part of this fathers loss. He lost his son and we weren't there to support him. "WE", I
mean we as people. If we start to put our compassion, understanding and honesty on the shelf and work towards an agenda, or allow our behavior to be
controlled by past experiences causing us to generalize, we have lost a large part of our humanity.
Thank you for the experience on ATS