Missing Endangered Melvin Heaps

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Hi All,

Didn't see anything about this here yet so here goes.

Melvin Heaps went missing in the Crystal Lake area of Summit County on July 31st 2017.

https://www.ksl.com/?sid=45259650&nid=148&title=search-resumes-for-hiker-missing-near-crystal-lake

Searches are ongoing, but as many of you know, terrain and orienteering in the area can be challenging and the last thing anyone wants is for more people to go missing while searching for him. There's a call out for EXPERIENCED ground and horseback searchers. If you fit that criteria, please consider reaching out here:

http://www.findgarrett.org/missing/melvin-heaps

Hat tip to our friend D.C. for keeping us aware of this situation.

Thanks.
 

Perry

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#2
Update on Facebook...

Garret Bardsley Foundation-FB.JPG


The original request was for just horse riders.
 

Dave

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#3
Is anyone planning on going up Saturday or Sunday to help search? I'm considering going one or both days if the logistics work out.
 

Perry

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#4
I'm in Evanston after searching since noon. Please go! They need volunteers badly. Be prepared for lots of bushwhacking. Long pants recommended. ... and good shoes!


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Perry

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#5
In case you're wondering what it's like to volunteer for this search....

This was a first for me and I wasn't sure what to expect. Here's my experience...

I arrived at approximately 12:30 pm. The Summit County Sherriff had the Crystal Lake Trail Head parking lot closed to non-SAR personnel so I had to park in the overflow parking area and hike up the approximately 1/3 mile to the parking lot. The volunteer search is being run by the Garrett Bardsley Foundation folks. They have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/findgarrett/ and a web page specific to this particular search effort at http://www.findgarrett.org/missing/melvin-heaps. There is lots of good information there.

The folks with the Garrett Bardsley Foundation are really good people. They check you in by having you fill out a little information card and ask you to leave your driver's license with them. This is to aid in tracking that you returned to the command center safely. Once they have enough volunteers to perform a search they give the group a quick orientation then set off to the assigned search area.

The search is a grid-type search where a 500 sq meter quadrant is searched by waking from one end to the other. The group then slides across and moves back the other direction. This continues until the entire quadrant has been searched. The searchers are fairly close to one another and the entire group tries to move in as straight of a line as possible. Depending on the terrain this can be easier said than done. The goal of this protocol is to be able to look everywhere, behind logs, in among large rocks, in creeks and ponds, etc. to be able to say we know that the missing person is *not* in that quadrant.

The search was quite strenuous having to go up and down sometimes steep slopes over deadfall, crossing creeks, bushwhacking. I went out in two different searches and ended up putting in just less than eight miles when all was said and done.

It was hard work but it was in the Uintas which was a side benefit to doing it. I have to tell you though I got to see some really pristine areas that don't normally see human traffic. Being almost 100% off trail I got to see a ton of beautiful ponds, streams and meadows. We flushed a cute little muley fawn. All of it was just gorgeous.

Sadly none of the searches done today turned up missing Melvin Heaps. Never the less it was not for naught as we eliminated some pretty large sections of the area.

Please consider heading up Saturday or Sunday and help out. Even if you only come up for only one search which might last 3-4 hours it will be very helpful toward finding Melvin. It would be preferred if you could show up at 7:00am but anytime during the day would still be of great help.
 
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Perry

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#6
Update: Apparently they have called off the volunteer search on Sunday. Odd.


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Dave

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Update: Apparently they have called off the volunteer search on Sunday. Odd.
I saw this and was pretty disappointed. My car broke down earlier in the week and I've been trying to figure out transportation. Today didn't work but Sunday was going to be more likely for me.

From your time, did you get any sense as to an area of focus? I've not seen any reporting if they believe he went toward Notch Mountain, the Clyde Lake area or down the Lakes Country trail.
 

Perry

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#8
They really know nothing more about his intentions other than his car was parked at the Crystal Lake trail head parking lot somewhere near midday. He was planning on being back home that evening. He had trekking poles and they know what he was wearing. He apparently has been in that area numerous times before.

No one seemed to have any idea which trail he had taken. Someone mentioned there was a pretty significant thunderstorm at about the time he would have arrived at the trail head so the thinking is he might not have gotten very far so the search grids were all fairly close the the trail head.


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Perry

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#9
The two search grids I was involved in were the western side of Trial Lake and up to the cliffs. The other was from Crystal Lake up toward Cliff lake.


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Nick

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#10
I thought I read somewhere that he had been seen on the trail at some point. Is that not the case?
 

Perry

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I asked about that and was told no. However I also got the feeling that the Summit County search and rescue were not forthcoming with information. Don't put much stock in that it's just my feeling.


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Dave

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#12
However I also got the feeling that the Summit County search and rescue were not forthcoming with information.
This is typical and, while frustrating to some of us who know the area well, to be expected. They're approaching the situation as law enforcement officers. Blabbing about every detail, in detail, goes contrary to their training. Every situation is treated like a potential crime until proven otherwise. They also don't want to be caught speculating because what gets picked up and reported about the situation now will form a narrative that can prove hard to correct once the facts are actually known.
 

Perry

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This is typical and, while frustrating to some of us who know the area well, to be expected. They're approaching the situation as law enforcement officers. Blabbing about every detail, in detail, goes contrary to their training. Every situation is treated like a potential crime until proven otherwise. They also don't want to be caught speculating because what gets picked up and reported about the situation now will form a narrative that can prove hard to correct once the facts are actually known.
So sad.
 
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#14
Keep in mind that volunteers can be very helpful, but they can also unknowingly destroy evidence. I hope this isn't a thread derail - it's the takeaway of what this guy thought went wrong with another search effort. I'm not saying any of this applies here because I don't know, but it's an interesting article. It's tough for all parties involved when someone goes missing.

http://utahgeology.com/391/take-away-lessons-from-my-experience-with-the-jerold-williams-search/

Seek help as soon as possible. But don’t let search agencies completely take over the search. They have legal considerations (especially with liability for searcher they call/control) and bureaucratic considerations which dictate their actions (especially in calling for volunteers and setting up dispersed camps). Go to the media and call for volunteers, and lead the effort which coordinates volunteer efforts with the efforts of the search agencies involved. Law enforcement understandingly often dissuades volunteerism because it distracts from their important efforts.
 
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Dr Nebz

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I asked about that and was told no. However I also got the feeling that the Summit County search and rescue were not forthcoming with information. Don't put much stock in that it's just my feeling.


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In the article on KSL.com, this was posted in the end of the article "The Summit Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who has or had a trail camera in the Crystal Lake area to call police."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Did they find a trail cam?

This missing persons case has Missing 411 written all over it. Partially deaf, elderly, storms, vanishes without a trace. Search dogs cannot find a scent. There was a plane and a DPS helicopter circling the Notch Mountain area on Sat and Sun when I was out there. I wanted to volunteer, but the Forest Service folks told me it was too late in the day when I got to the blockade they had before the trail head. I decided since it was my birthday, I'd go backpacking instead since I had driven all the way out there.

Article on KSL.com Click Here
 
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#16
In the article on KSL.com, this was posted in the end of the article "The Summit Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who has or had a trail camera in the Crystal Lake area to call police."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Did they find a trail cam?
I'm guessing they want to see if anyone captured Melvin on a trail cam.
 

Perry

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Keep in mind that volunteers can be very helpful, but they can also unknowingly destroy evidence. I hope this isn't a thread derail - it's the takeaway of what this guy thought went wrong with another search effort. I'm not saying any of this applies here because I don't know, but it's an interesting article. It's tough for all parties involved when someone goes missing.

http://utahgeology.com/391/take-away-lessons-from-my-experience-with-the-jerold-williams-search/

Seek help as soon as possible. But don’t let search agencies completely take over the search. They have legal considerations (especially with liability for searcher they call/control) and bureaucratic considerations which dictate their actions (especially in calling for volunteers and setting up dispersed camps). Go to the media and call for volunteers, and lead the effort which coordinates volunteer efforts with the efforts of the search agencies involved. Law enforcement understandingly often dissuades volunteerism because it distracts from their important efforts.
I am a *total* amateur with this SAR stuff but think I would totally agree with everything Lance Weaver said.

I think the thing that bothers me the most is there is someone's life at stake here and you don't have a lot of time with someone missing that is likely ill-prepared to be out multiple days and nights, the low over-night temps, rain, older aged, etc. We cannot afford to delay getting boots on the ground looking for these folks.
 
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#18
It doesn't take long to die if you're not prepared - my brother and a friend were hiking up Mt. Elbert and came upon an older guy who was hypothermic and was going up the mountain and actually thought he was going down. They managed to get him to hike down with them, which probably saved his life. He was wearing shorts and it started snowing. We humans are pretty puny and in any search effort, time is of the essence more than ever when in the high country.
 
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Perry

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#20
It's kind of interesting there are zero tracks on any of the mountains like Haystack, Watson and Notch. I'm assuming they "covered" them with helicopter? Do they think he cannot be on any of those mountains just because they are above tree line and they can "see" it all? Just seems strange to me.
 

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