S04 Episode 7: Called to the Forest (Pt. 1 of 2)
The today's episode of unexplained is brought to you by travel channel's new series portals to hell premiering Friday, April twenty eighth at ten pm nine pm central join Jacko's Boone and Katrina Whiteman as they investigate notorious pointed locations, like the Alaskan hotel, Bobby Mackie's music world and eastern state penitentiary in search of irrefutable evidence. That a spirit world exists watch the series premiere a portals to hell this Friday, attempy M nine PM central only on travel channel and stream a sneak peek on the free travel channel app today. closely into the daily goings on of any town city and soon enough you'll come across something a little unsavory or unsettling. A strange paradox. When you consider that such places are often held up as examples of our superior sense of civility. We need not be so hard on our selves. However. Considering the number of different people ideas, all crammed into gather in these places. It's a wonder they functioned at all. That's it. When things happen there that aren't to our liking. We have only ourselves to blame. And it is only through ourselves alone. But we can rectify such unwanted situations. The same cannot be said for the town of causal rock the principal location. And title of the recent Hulu TV series based on the words of Stephen King. Without wanting to give anything away the show, essentially details the life of a seemingly quaint and quiet town in which darkness in one form or another appears especially drawn to it. I was reminded of this show. When researching this week story? The why would never suggest an entire town. Or in this case, a whole region was pre two naturally susceptible to unfortunate things if I were to believe that such things were possible. However, this place would certainly provide a compelling case study. The Yuba Sutter area, which Yuba city is the principal. City begins ten miles to the north of Sacramento and stretches north westwards towards the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. In the early eighteenth century much of the land, which would eventually encompass most of you candy, including the Yuba city area was sold to a highly controversial individual named John Sutter around one hundred and fifty years later, the county's name would become synonymous with one of the United States most enduring and tragic mysteries. You're listening to unexplained and I'm Richard McLean. Smith. Nearly nineteenth century Johann Sutton had been wanted for fraud in his home country of Switzerland before deciding to change his name to John and take his chances in the fledgling United States. Leaving behind a wife and five children. He arrived in New York in eighteen thirty four and spent the next five years exhaustively touring the continent to get the measure of it. After managing to ingratiate himself with a number of prominent euro, American dignitaries. He eventually settled in what was then Alta, California in the summer of eighteen thirty nine. The time Alto California was relatively undeveloped province of Mexico having so far managed to resist the clutches of the ever expanding United States. Realizing the area's potential Sutter succeeded in convincing the local governor to sell him almost fifty thousand acres of land along the Sacramento river. The following year. He established a trading colony which he named you Helvetica. Rarely such a story of land purchase complete without some form of native American displacement or indeed slaughter and Sutter's was no different. Local tribes the tw-. I'm willing to recognize these self appointed owners of the lands that they lived on were dispensed with swiftly being either forcibly moved or exterminated entirely. Any tribes the opted to cooperate with the euro American or Mexican settlements would invariably be put to work as little more than slaves. The exact number of native Americans that were killed in the establishing of new hill is unknown. It is thought however that Sutter kept as many as six to eight hundred of them slaves often, locking them up in squalid, pens and placing their food and troughs forcing them to eat like farm animals. It is also speculated that he raped native American girls as young as twelve years old. In eighteen forty eight. Gold was discovered on Sutter's land. However, any hope he had of profiting from it was swiftly dashed when his efforts to keep it secret failed miserably within months Sutter's. Land was overrun with swathes prospectors feverishly clearing at the earth in search of the shiny metal. Such was the speed with which the goldrush unfolded those little that such a good do to stop them. Having bought more land in a bid to claim ownership with any gold found on it Sutter soon found himself in major debt. With no other options. He was forced to sell off his land, transferring any deeds he had left into the name of his son. His land. Owning ambitions were finished. Comic come up, and perhaps if you believe in such things. To if you believe in such things, you might say the series of events would before the region in subsequent years where we're inevitable, given what many would consider to be such rotten beginnings. Part of the land. That was forced to sell was located just forty miles north of new Helvetica and centered around the confluence of the Uber and feather rivers. The land was sold in eighteen forty nine to a small consortium of men headed by Samuel Brennan who quickly established Yuba city in the middle of it. Almost immediately. The fledgling city was overshadowed by Marysville. The town on the opposite Bank of the fed the river which newcomers found much easier to access but sued it began to prosper and over the next one hundred years the city grew steadily from a population of three hundred to seven and a half thousand. Then in December nineteen fifty five a series of devastating storms battered, northern California. After days of relentless rain, just after midnight on December twenty fourth Levy broke on the West Bank of the fed river, sending a wall of water twenty one feet high cascading into the county and flooding ninety percent of Yuba city. Seventy four people were killed. Five years later, a Boeing fifty two bomber plane carrying two three point eight megaton thermonuclear bombs flying into the vicinity of Yuba county. Experienced a sudden and inexplicable loss of pressure in the fuselage. After ordering the rest of the crew to bail out the heroic pilot managed to stay in the cockpit. Just long enough to steer the plane away from Yuba city before bailing out himself. A totally four thousand feet. The plane would eventually crash into a Bali field. Just eleven miles to the west of the city. Miraculously no, radioactive material was released as a result. In late spring, nineteen seventy-one a Yuba county peach farmer noticed a large freshly dug hole on his land that had no apparent purpose? When he found it filled in the next day, he became suspicious and called the police to investigate it. Digging away the fresh dirt they found a man's body underneath riddled with stab wounds. The man was just one of at least twenty five migrant farm workers from around the Yuba county area that serial killer and Yuba city resident one corona was eventually convicted of murdering. Corona had been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia, which some believe was triggered by the trauma. He suffered as a witness to the worst affects of the nineteen fifty five flood. Another five years later the school bus carrying the Yuba city. High school choir broke through a guardrail just outside the city of Martinez plunging thirty feet to the ground. Twenty eight teenagers from the city, and they're chaperone were killed instantly in what was the worst school bus accident ever recorded in the United States at the time. And yet incredibly despite this litany of tragedy the one for which the area would become most well known had yet to pass. The story most often referred to as the Yuba county. Five is a bizarre and heartbreaking mystery the remains to this day unexplained. Mum, have you seen? My Gators shirt. Tried Gary from the laundry room a needed for the game tomorrow. Gary mom, Ida appeared a moment later holding the base t shirt complete with its gateway Gators logo emblazoned across it all washed and ready to go. Thanks, Gary taking it before running to place it with the rest of his kit that he'd laid out in preparation for the next day. Just then the sound of a car horn could be heard coming from the turquoise mercury Montego that adjust pulled up outside the front of the house. The here said Gerry excitedly as he grabbed his jacket and headed to the door. Remember got a big game tomorrow. Don't let me sleep in. He said, yes, I know said Ida before kissing her son goodbye and seeing him out the door. It was February twenty fourth nineteen seventy eight in the small district of olive Hirst just to the south of Yuba city far off in the distance the northern tip of the Sierra Nevada mountains could be seen. It's pine covered ranges still capped with snow down in the valley. However, it was barely jacket whether as a pale sun was slowly beginning its final descent toward the horizon. Waiting for Gary outside in the Montaigue. Oh was thirteen year old driver and north vehicles. Jack Ma drew accompanied by thirty two year old Ted we and the twenty four year old Jack Hewitt. The others shouted for Gary to hurry up as he raised to the car and jumped into the front seat. Moments later, they pulled away. His Ida waved them off from her front door. A few minutes later, they were parking up outside a small house onto later street in Yuba city to collect the fifth and final member of the group twenty nine year old Bill sterling. With Bill finally settled in the backseat they were on their way once more. The five men with friends from around the Yuba county area who had met the gateways project a local organization that helped adults with intellectual disabilities to better navigate their lives. Driver, Jack Madrid was perhaps the least affected by his disability. Although he had never been diagnosed with anything specific his thought processes were considered to be slower than average. An army veteran Jack had served two years in Vietnam. As a truck driver and had recently started a job as a dishwasher at a local dried fruit company. Ted and Bill with the closest in the group having known each other for almost eight years. Ted had been doing especially well recently gaining employment through the gateway project repairing cables for local gas intellect trinity company, just like the others. Ted was not thought capable of fending for himself. So lived at home with his parents. In his case. This was due to what some considered to be a basic lack of common sense. One time when Ted's parents house caught fire Ted had been more concerned about getting a good night's sleep. Then the flames the took begun raging above his bed. His brother had to forcibly pull him out of the house to save him. When Ted tried to make friends with strangers. He could never understand why they seem so intimidated by him or why they wouldn't simply wave back when he waved at them. Bill. Sterling also done well to gain employment working as a dishwasher at the nearby Beale air force base Bill enjoyed the position especially the sense of independence at had given him. However, he was instructed by his parents to quit the job not long after taking it after they discovered that some of the m and there had been plying him with alcohol and stealing his wages. Bill had spent much of his youth in Napa state psychiatric hospital being generally mis-diagnosed and misunderstood. Of all of them twenty four year old Jack who could not read write or use a telephone was generally thought to be the most severely affected by his disabilities. Having met Ted back when he was sixteen Jack who was also Tepelea shy. We'd come to rely heavily on him and pair become firm friends as a result. And then there was Gary. Unlike the other four who often went everywhere together and had known each other for an extended period of time. Twenty five year old Gary Mathias was a fairly new addition to the group. Gary was also an army veteran stationed for a few years in Germany. After suffering psychiatric episode proton by hallucinogenic drug use Gary was discharged and sent home for the past two years. However, Gary had been well and successfully holding down a job stepfather, Robert clocks gardening business. Gary had been introduced to the gateway project as a way of finding new friends and bonded with the others of their mutual. Love of basketball. All of them played for the gateway Gators the projects basketball team and we're looking forward to a big tournament. They would you to play in the following morning, which promised an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the winning team. That night. However their excitement was for a different game. The friends were heading up to Chico now is drive to the north to watch their favorite team university, California Davis take on Chico state. Despite their disabilities. Such a trip wasn't unusual since the boys regularly travelled together to watch them play their home stadium in David's or anywhere else. That wasn't too far to drive before returning straight home. That night shouldn't have been any different. After picking up Bill. The men made a quick stop it. Mike O service station on collusive avenue. The other state in the car is Bill ran inside to pick up his fifteen dollar allowance from his parents who ran the place. Bill's mother pointy to who was concerned about the men making the trip the night before they're torn amount tried again to dissuade his son from going. As Bill explained. However tonight was the last chance that get to watch their team the season. And there was no way they were going to pass that up. Realizing it was a lost cause for Nita won't Bill. Not to be back to late before sending him on his way. Later that night. The men watched with delight as you see Davis picked up there. Seventy th win of the season beating Chico ninety eight to eighty six. Shortly after ten pm the men left the Chico university stadium and piled back into jacks. Montego? Soon after leaving the parking lot. One of the men suggested they make a quick stop to get some supplies for the return journey. Pulling up outside a convenience store moments later, they were disappointed to find the shop clock closing the place up after taking pity on them. However, she agreed to stay open just long enough for them to get what they needed. A short time later the men were back in the car loaded with some fruit pies and chocolate bars as Jack slowly eased onto the road before heading off into the night. Twenty two sterling hadn't taken to is of the clock since midnight. Old things going to plan. Her son should have been home by then. By two AM. She couldn't hold out any longer. It wasn't the first time that Bill hadn't come home on time or even missing completely oven. He would go and stay with friends and just simply forget to call home each previous occasion. He had never been more than a quick phone. Call away. Trying not to panic when heater picked up the phone and dialed Melba Jack Madrid's mother with whom he lived in nearby. Linda. But Jack was also yet to come home. It was a few hours later that Ted's mother imaging who had slept through the earlier phone calls woke up to find her son's bed empty having not been slept in the night before. Calling one eater immediately. She was shocked to find both Bill and Jack for also still missing. Calling Jack Hewitt's mother soon after imaging got the same response. The last hope was that the boys had all gone to Garry Matthias, his family home. Since the we is lived just down the street from them immature, daughter-in-law, volunteer to go and check if they were there. The look on her face when she returned was all imaging needed to know. The men would you to meet the rest of the gateway Gators team later that morning outside a store in Marysville. Knowing the five wouldn't have missed that tournament for the world a few at the family members traveled to the stool in hope that their sons and brothers might yet be there. But the men never appeared. By eight pm having still heard nothing from the Melba Maruta informed. The Yuba county sheriff's office, the tests son and his full best friends were missing. That we can't the various families spent days in a complete Hayes anxiously looking out for any mention of car crash or sighting of the missing men, but nothing came on Monday. Having heard nothing from the police on eater took it on herself to drive to Chico where she handed out pictures of the five friends to the various ticket sellers and security offices at the university basketball stadium. None however recognized the faces that had been sat in the venue for over two hours. Only a few nights before. In the meantime, the sheriff's office had released a statement to the local press giving a detailed description of the missing men and the vehicle they were travelling in urging anyone to come forward who might have important information as to their whereabouts. Having been given a brief description of the personalities he was looking for taking into account, the intellectual disabilities Yuba county undershirt, Jack Beecham was dumped as to what might have happened to them. Certainly, no crashes with that type of vehicle had been reported and judging by how the parents described it. It was no reason to suggest that the men had struck out on an impromptu you road trip. The following day Beecham received an unexpected call from plumas national forest ranger will out Burrows. Boris had been making his way along forest road when he came across abandoned car. He hadn't thought anything about it at the time would having seen a news report about the missing men later that day he felt to call it in. Beecham was confused. Plumas forest covered. The northern tip of the Sierra Nevada mountains and was located about seventy miles east of Chico in the complete opposite direction to where the men were supposed to have been heading. Moreover, the point at which claimed to have seen the car was four thousand feet high into them. But Boris was adamant the vehicle he had seen a turquoise mercury. Montego? The following day Wednesday March first onto sheriff beach him with a handful of deputies made his way to the sport detailed by forest range of berries. An hour later. The officers found themselves leaving the mild flats at the Yuba shutter area and heading up into the Sierra Nevada mountains toward the snow covered. Pines of plumas national forest. With the temperature steadily dropping to higher they claimed he was soon approaching the snow line at an altitude of roughly four thousand feet. The road was known locally Oroville Quincy road running from the foothill town of Oroville at the western edge of the mountains snaking east via the town of Quincy all the way through to the other side during the summer months. The roads would be jammed with daytrippers holidaymakers heading out to one many cabins that dotted the surrounding area with bucks lake located in the middle of the forest about fifty miles from Oroville being the biggest drool. During the winter months. However by the time, you had reached this new line the road would quickly become impossible to all. But the most hardy vehicles. It was at this point with the unpaved forest road becoming ever narrower and more rugged beach him spotted the car that will are berries had come across. Although by now, it was carrying a light dusting of snow beach him could see clearly that it was indeed a turquoise nineteen sixty nine mercury one Tako. Peach him, wrapped his jacket a little tighter about himself as he made his way through the slush toward the vehicle. Brushing away, the snow from the window. You looked inside. Empty food. Wrappers was strewn about on the backseat along with a couple of basketball programs, but the vehicle was otherwise empty. Trying to door surprised to find it unlocked, but the keys gone. Pulling a panel from under the steering wheel Beecham fiddled with the wires until the car's engine roared into life. The year watched as the needle on the dashboard, moved up to reveal at least a quarter tank of gas left in it. Stepping after the car Beecham to in the scene around him staring off into the trees that back away from the road the ground covered in fresh snow from the night before. All was completely silent. And there was no sign of track marks anywhere beating down off the road. Looking at the front wheels. He could see that they were a little stuck in the snow. But it was nothing that quick push. Couldn't have dislodged. None of it seemed to make sense. Why on earth with the five friends of driven up into the mountains and then abandoned to car like this with absolutely no reason to. Unless of course, it hadn't been democrat all to brought it there in the first place. Could it be beach thought that it had been stolen and merely dumped there? With that might put the five missing men would be anyone's guess at this point. After calling it in Beecham was promptly appointed to lead the search for the missing men. Forty personnel from Uber, plumas and Butte county along with the snowmobiles and to highway patrol helicopter who drafted in. For the rest of the day. They searched every inch of the surrounding forest within a five mile radius of the abandoned car for any sign of the two jacks Hewitt and Madrid STA. Bill Stirling, Ted. We're and Gary Matthias, but no clue to their possible. Whereabouts was found. Beecham knew only too well that if the five men had driven into the mountains after all only to abandon their vehicle their survival would depend on finding shelter. Very quickly failure to do. So stumbling blindly in the dog in subzero temperatures dressed as they were for a mild evening would most likely be fatal. What's more? It did now being almost a week since they had disappeared. And no one in the immediate area had seen them nor were they found in any of the nearby cabins that they might assault as a place of refuge later that day. Undersheriff Beecham had the unenviable task of informing the families of just what they had discovered. It was hard to gauge which scenario offered them the most hope whether the vehicle had been stolen and amend possibly assaulted and left stranded. Elsewhere. Or whether they themselves for reasons unknown had abandoned the car high up in amount late at night in minus zero temperatures. What beach did know? However was that neither scenario looked good. The end of part one unexplained season for episode seven called to the forest. You can hit the second and final part next Friday, April twenty six. If you enjoy listening to unexplained and would like to help supporters you can now go unexplained podcasts dot com forward slash support. All donations. No matter how large your small a massively. Appreciate. All elements of unexplained produced by me. Richard mclean. Smith, please subscribe and rate the show on I tunes and feel free to get in touch with any thoughts. Right. Is regarding the stories you've heard on the show. Perhaps you have an explanation of your own you'd like to share. You can reach his online unexplained podcasts dot com. Twitter at unexplained port and Facebook at Facebook dot com forward slash unexplained.