MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF: The Yuba County Five
A Florida police diver determined to escape her family's notorious history of drug smuggling and treasure. Hunting is the target of deadly conspiracy. That brings old secrets to the surface. Now she must put her faith in an unlikely ally in order to expose the truth before her enemies can pull her under Wall Street Journal bestselling author Andrew Main returns with adventurous new thriller. Read the girl beneath the sea today at Amazon Dot com slash the girl beneath the sea. Podcast high junkies. I'm your host Ashley Flowers and I'm Brett and so excited to tell you today's story because it's truly one of the most baffling unsolved mysteries. I've ever come across. I mean last month on my other. Show supernatural with Ashley Flowers. I told all of you. The story of a group of nine Russian hikers who died under very mysterious circumstances back in nineteen fifty nine that well known story is referred to as the love pass incident and today's story is not much different. This is the story of five men who set out together to watch a college basketball game in Chico. California back in nineteen seventy eight but instead of coming home as plan they drove seventy miles in the wrong direction. North into snowy mountains and then vanished. This is the mysterious case of the Yuba County. Five imaging wear woke up with a start at about five. Am on February twenty. Fifth Nineteen Seventy eight. She didn't know why but she just had a bad feeling when she'd gone to bed the night before her son. Ted Wasn't yet home for the night he'd gone to a basketball game in Chico. California with a few friends. It was about an hour away from their home in. Yuba city but she expected him back from the fifty mile. Drive around eleven. I mean maybe midnight at the latest if they decided to stop for a bite to eat or whatever on their way home she knows the only way to calm her nerves is to make sure that Ted is home and in bed where he should be but when she gets to his room she sees that the bed is empty in a low key panic at this point she decided to call Juanita Sterling whose son Bill had gone to the same game with Ted. The night before need tells imaging that her son didn't come home either and that she's actually been up since two worried sick she's already called. Jackman. Drew his mother Melba. Who said the same thing? No sign of her son Jack. Either imaging hangs up and calls Jackie. Hewitt's mother and Jackie's mom says the same thing no Jackie Imaging Center daughter-in-law down the street to talk to the stepfather of the last boy. Gary Matthias by the time the Sun was coming up. It was clear that all five boys were missing. Imaging tries to relax but relaxing is impossible. She knows in her gut. Something is very wrong and she knows that for two reasons burst her son. Ted was scheduled to play in a basketball tournament later that day. Saturday the twenty fifth and to say that he was pumped. It'd be a huge understatement. He laid out his clothes washed shoes and even talking nonstop about this big game winning. It would get his team a week long trip to Los Angeles. He would not miss that game or anything and imaging nuit now. The second reason she knew something was wrong is because Ted's life was very scheduled and very predictable. She knew that he would not had not would never just randomly stay out all night. Ted Always came home and Jackie Jack. Bill and Gary were no different now. I need to stop here and tell you one important thing about these five boys. They're often referred to as both ways but I mean they're not really boys yes like. How old are they? Well for starters. The youngest was twenty four and the oldest was thirty two but their parents and families and the people in their community always referred to them as boys because all five men had intellectual disabilities of some kind. They were all enrolled in this day program for adults their basketball team gateway gators is actually part of that program and all five of them lived at home with their families now physically. They were all healthy very capable and while none of them lived independently most of them function at a relatively high level imaging son. Ted was thirty two and the oldest of the group. He worked for a while as a janitor and as a clerk at a snack bar but at the time of our story he didn't currently have a job. Ted had a heart of gold and he loved to make new friends. He's kind of describe law as childlike. For example Cynthia Gorny wrote a piece for the Washington Post back in nineteen seventy eight and she says that Ted would wave to strangers and he was literally be heartbroken for hours. If they didn't back now. Ted was closest to the youngest of the group twenty four year. Old Jackie Jackie was the most severely disabled of the five. He spent most of his childhood actually in the Napa State Hospital which back then was called the Napa insane asylum. He couldn't read or write or even dial a telephone and he relied a lot on his mother and also his bff Ted now. Jackie was really shy and didn't like being away from home for very long. Definitely not overnight which is why his parents were so worried about him. The Third Man Jack Madrid Aug was thirty and while he to lived at home he was pretty independent. He graduated high school and it spent two years in the army but was said to have had a low. I Q he was one of the only ones in the group that had a driver's license and he had this like nineteen sixty seven turquoise and white mercury. Montego that he was like so proud. I mean God I love his pride and joy and it's actually the car that took the boys to the game and Chico that night now. Jack's closest friend in the group was twenty nine year old bill stirling who left his house that night with fifteen dollars and four different maps of the California area now. Bill had worked for awhile dishwasher but his mother insisted he quit when she found out people were getting him drunk stealing his money at work. They were really taking advantage of him now. Finally the final guy we have in this group is Gary Matthias. He was twenty five years old and a bit of an outlier in this group of guys because he worked for his father's gardening business and before that he'd been in the army like Jack but he was medically discharged due to a psychiatric issue. Unlike the other guys he didn't actually have an intellectual disability at all. He was actually diagnosed with schizophrenia. Had been stable for the last two years. No one is really sure how or why Gary got involved with the gateway projects but he loved it especially their basketball team the gators and he really enjoyed hanging out with the rest of the guys so anyways these are the boys that were talking about these young men. Ted Jackie Jack Bill and Gary and they're all missing. Saturday comes and goes with no word from the boys so finally at eight that evening their parents decide to call the police right away. The sheriff's department puts out an alert asking for the public's help locating these five guys. Big Give a description of Jack's Mercury Montego along with the license plate number but they don't launch into their search right away according to a Sacramento Bee article from nineteen. Seventy eight at this point. They're kind of just watching. I mean remember. These are grown men and while there folks say that it's out of character for them not to come home like the police are a little bit skeptical right but they're alert is an out long when information starts rolling in. They're able to confirm that the guys went to the game in Chico and as a bonus their team actually won. The last known sighting was at a convenience store and she go after the game. This is like just before ten o'clock that night according to the clerk and the clerk says it was memorable because ten. Pm was closing time and the Cork was a little bit annoyed. That these five guys were pulling in right at the end of the night. You know. You're getting ready. Your closing up and the clerk says they buy a bunch of like junky snacks. Candy bars chips that kind of thing and then they left. That's it police. Get another call from a woman who says she saw the guys on Saturday or Sunday. But here's the thing that's interesting. She says that when she saw them they were in a red pickup truck. She said two of them came in to buy food at her store while one went to a phone booth to make a call and the other two state in the truck. But here's the thing I mean beyond this mystery red truck that they're seen in the store that she runs his way up north and like way off the course the boys would have taken to get home from that basketball game so initially police kind or rule out this citing thinking that it's probably not there guys but just then they get a call from dining joe and joe says hey. I think I saw those guys that you're looking for on Friday night. I was driving up this gravel road toward my cabin in the mountains and my car got stuck in the snow and I get out and I'm trying to push it free and in all of this I start having a heart attack. Joe Goes on to tell police that he gets back inside his car with the engine running and the heat on and after a few hours like this sometime between like eleven. Pm and midnight. He says that he starts to hear a whistling sound. So Joe gets out of his car. He looks down the road back behind him down the mountain and about one hundred and fifty feet away. He sees headlights. And what looks like a group of men along with a woman holding a baby? He says they're all outside the car and he can see them in. The glow of Car's headlights now. Joe was so happy to finally see people. I mean he needed help. Get my God. This guy just had a heart attack so he goes running out of his car tries to flag them down but he says that when he called out to the group the headlights turned off. And all the noises stopped. But that's not the end of his story. He tells police that some time later he again sees lights out his car window not headlights. This time but flashlight beams. He calls out again for help but as soon as he does the lights. Go Out Again. And whoever was out there goes away? Police are understandably pretty skeptical about this whole story and honestly they don't really know what to make of it. They wonder if maybe this guy was seeing things or hearing things or I mean both I mean he did just have a heart attack us in the middle of nowhere on a mountain road alone the dead of night I mean. What are the chances that he'd come across a group of men and a woman holding a baby? It just didn't seem logical but Joe tells them that when his car finally ran out of gas after running for hours and hours he gave up on being rescued and decided to take his chances and walk down the mountain for help now along the way in the place where he had heard the voices. He passed an empty car. It was stuck in snow just sitting there in the middle of the road. Police asked him to elaborate on the car and when he does all skepticism washes away. Today's episode was brought to you by Brooklyn so there are few things I enjoy more than sleeping in. 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They're Memorial Day event. Kicks off this weekend and you do not want to miss it easier way into summer with big savings on sheets bedding towels lounge wear and their newest. Hamama linen collections. And if you can't wait you can get ten percent off your first order and free shipping on all new sheets right now when you use Promo Code Junkie only at Brooklyn and Dot Com. That's B. R. O. O. K. L. I. N. E. N. Dot Com Brooklyn. Everything you need to live your most comfortable life. Joe Tells Police. The car he saw was a thousand nine hundred. Sixty seven turquoise and white mercury MONTAIGUE THE EXACT CAR. The men were driving not long after they hear from a US Forest Service worker. Who Says Hey. I think I found the car that you guys are looking for. And it's way the heck up in Plumas National Forest. Where is that in location to like everything else in the story so the Plumas National Forest is in northern California in the Sierra Nevada mountains? It's about two and a half hours from Yuba city and two hours from Chico. And actually you know what it's easier just show you here. Take a look at this map. I just sent. Okay Yeah so the three points we've been talking about it kind of makes a V. Shape Chico is on the top left Yuba city is at the bottom and plumas. National Park is way over the top right exactly so the forest ranger who found Jax Kar found it in the middle of this like rarely used unpaid road that runs straight up into the Sierra Nevada. Mountains that top right point on the map. You're talking about now. According to an article I read on strange outdoors. The car was at elevation about forty five hundred feet just at the snow line. Meaning ANYTHING BEYOND. This has snow year round. And we're not talking about like a light dusting of snow. It snowed a lot six to eight feet of snow. And it's not like they would have to go through to get home like there's no reason for them to even be. Anna's area no I mean it's not even remotely on the way she go to. Yuba city is a straight and it's about an hour on the highway. It's mostly flat. There's no snow definitely no mountains and wasn't just a scenic detour either. This is over two hours of driving in the wrong direction. And what I can't get over is I mean we've already established it's not like he was on their way home but this isn't even on the way to anything. It's literally in the middle of nowhere but it is the same middle of nowhere road that Joe had been on the night that he got stuck in the snow and had that heart attack. The car was in the same place that Joe said. He had seen it when he tried to walk down there to get help. And it's right where he said it was and it's right where he said that he'd seen people men and a woman holding a baby in the glow of the car's headlights. So this validates has story at this point. I mean investigators are thinking that it just might be true so investigators decide to head up the mountain and see for themselves hoping that the car and where it was found might help make some sense of Joe Story and hopefully point them in the direction of these five men when they get there. They find the car unlocked. The keys are missing. And there's just this mess of food wrappers and soda bottles and milk cartons on both the front and back seats remnants of their trip to that convenience store just after they left. Chico and the last known sighting of the men now when they get there. The car was stuck in the snow. When you're tires just kind of spin and can't catch the ground so it was stuck like that but it wasn't in a ditch or a big snow bank or anything and not so stuck that they couldn't have just pushed it out. I mean these were not small men. They were all like six feet tall or at least close to it and about two hundred pounds and there were five of them. Remember right they would have had that car unstuck in a hot minute but it looked like they didn't even try like there's no push marks. There's feeding the snow. There's no tire tracks it's stuck and they're not there when police check they see that there's a quarter tank of gas still in the car so the men hadn't run out of fuel because they can't find the keys. Police managed to hot wire. The car and it starts no problems so that rules out any kind of mechanical issues At first police. Initially that these guys must have somehow taken a wrong turn and got lost up there but then they find those four maps that one of the guys brought up there. One of the maps included the same area that the car was founded. All of the maps were neatly folded and left in the glove compartment. You even mentioned earlier that Jack specifically brought all of these maps for me. It's hard to believe that they weren't using them or think to use them if they had gotten lost in like they're clearly lost. The snow would have immediately tipped them off that like. Hey we're not home yet. We're not close to home. Yeah and that's what I thought too but you know it's hard to account for what kind of impact maybe their intellectual disabilities might have had on that kind of reasoning. We'll and again like I said they are using the maps. I didn't say that they weren't like they could be going there intentionally. And using the map to guide them. They're right right. That's totally an option and honestly them intentionally going up. There is kind of what police are thinking at this point but they just don't know why that road that they were on was not very well maintained. It was not used very much. And it's a pretty rough road. But here's the thing when they look at the underside of the car. They're expecting to see damage. I mean again. This is not a paved road. There are potholes. It's crazy but there's no damage underneath the car. Even the police and the forest service guys vehicle had some damage on the bottom of their car when they were on the way up there to like. Check this out okay. But what does that mean? I need to remind you we are not on your show supernatural. This is not like aliens. Drop this car you know if it I fully love good Ale in theory and you know that but the lack of damage just told the investigators that whoever drove the car up their new the road very well well enough to know where the bumps were the pot holes were and well enough that they could navigate the road pretty much perfectly in the dark so which one of them had connections. There had been familiar with the area. So that's thing I don't think any of them but especially not the guy driving the car. Jacks parents tell police that he didn't know the area at all. I mean he hated the cold too and they said that it would be super unlikely that he go up there. I himself or with people and even less likely that he let anyone else drive his car. So if Jack didn't know the road and none of the other five guys were driving. Who was now if there is good news about all of this for the families of the missing men. It's that police. See No signs of foul play the bad news though is that these see no signs of anything at or any one. Police start searching right away calling in help from the Forest Service who knew the area best even with experienced rangers guiding them through. It's tough going. I mean the terrain is rough like some areas are only accessible by horseback even bring in helicopters to search from above and dogs to work the ground men on foot ATV like. They're pulling out all the stops. These search the area for five days straight before a severe storm close in dumping nine inches of snow in the area. And what this does erases any tracks that the men have left behind the conditions are so bad that even the search team has some close calls in the drift. Some of which these drifts were getting like fifteen feet high when the search hits the ten day Mark Police No. There's almost no way that the men could have survived if they were somewhere in the forest not dressed like they were that night and not after all that snow but surely if they had succumbed to the elements than they would have been found during the search so police start to think. Maybe there's foul play involved here after all the kind of bad around theories based on what they found in and around. Jack's car would if someone else lead the guys to this mountain. Was there another driver? I mean that could explain why there was no damage to the car. Even the road was a mess. So the theory went something like this what? Fbi's well-meaning boys stopped to help another driver and they were somehow taken. Advantage of stressful situations would definitely cause the men's behavior to deteriorate. According to their families be might do things or make decisions. That don't necessarily make sense to us. So maybe that's what happened here. According to a two part series written by Benji ago and the Sacramento Bee about three weeks after the boys went missing a random. Yuba city woman named Debbie. Got A phone call. And when I say random. I mean literally random. This woman is not connected to the men or the investigation at all. She said that when she picked up the phone a man on the other end of the line said I know where the missing five men are and then just hung up now. Obviously everyone by this time in the area knows about these missing men. She called police to tell them about this right away. Well then the next day she gets another call from the same guy he says. I need help because I really hurt those guys back. She asked him. Who did you hurt? And he just said don't play dumb with me and hung up the phone the next day the phone rings or a third time. The same man tells Debbie those five guys are all jet and then he hung up and Debbie never heard from him again. It's just one of dozens of leads that Po police in hundreds of directions sightings come in from as far away as Tampa Florida Ontario Canada. But the closest thing they could get to a solid lead comes when they find out Gary. The one with schizophrenia had friends in Forbes town now Forbes town is about halfway between Chico and Yuba city and apparently the road to Forbes town is easy to miss and if you happen to miss it in the dark you could end up heading north toward the mountains and towards the Plumas National Park. So now they're thinking maybe the boys were planning to visit East Friends of Gary and maybe they missed that turn and ended up driving North into the mountains but when they tracked those friends down they say that they haven't seen or even heard from Gary in more than a year and they definitely were expecting him to come over that night eventually. Weeks turn into months and police start to get a little desperate. They consult some unconventional sources psychics. Even a water which her okay. That's a new one. What's a water. Witcher okay so from what? I found a water. Witcher's are like psychic esque. So usually you'll see them holding a y shaped piece of wood in their hands which they use to find groundwater or minerals like gold now this particular guy that they consulted said that he'd tuned his instrument to find traces of human remains. Are Police skeptical totally? But I mean at this point. I know it sounds bananas. But what have they got to lose so the water which are leads them to an empty cabin not far from where? Jax Kar had been abandoned. The find a gray cigarette lighter not far from the cabin but none of the boys carries a lighter. So police aren't even sure that it's really relevant. And then nothing really comes of that. Besides this random lighter by the time spring finally comes police and forest rangers have spent more than six thousand hours looking for Ted. Jackie Jack Bill and Gary. But it's then after months of the men being missing after six thousand hours of searching the snow finally starts to melt and they get a call. That changes everything. This episode was made possible by Nam Nam. A health company that makes fresh restaurant quality food for dogs and cats. If you guys know anything about me now it's two things. I'm obsessed with true crime cases and even more obsessed with my dog like doing extreme and I know I go over the top. But have you seen chuck? You can't blame me. 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Before his NAM NAM food is based on his breed and his size and his age. Like I input all that when I was signing up and it's so fresh so recognizable and rehill that when we got delivered. My husband thought that I started using a new food delivery service for us. All recipes are research and formulated by Chief. Nutrition officer Dr Justin Shamburg who is also one of the less than one hundred board certified veterinary nutritionist in the country. And you know isn't just for dogs you can eat great to and don't get me started on the treats it looks better than the beef Jerky that. I eat switch to the fresh pet food. That's backed by science. Try Nam Nam Today. And you'll get fifty percent off a two week. Trial go to try numb dot com slash crime junkie. That's T. R. Y. N. M. dot com slash cranky for fifty percents off two week trial. This call comes into them on Sunday. June fourth more than three months since the guys disappeared. The call is from a man. Who's part of a small group of motorcyclists who were out for a Sunday ride in the Sierra Nevada mountains about twenty miles from where Jax Kar had been found? Now when they're on this ride. They happened to find a forest service trailer and they noticed that one window was broken. It and when they get close enough d-notice a horrible smell coming from inside inside. That cabin is a site. They will never forget shrouded in eight layers of betting. Is the emaciated body. A thirty two year old ted his pants or rolled up his knees his leg show signs of gangrene and he's missing by. Toews ALL LOSS TO FROSTBITE. And he's once two hundred pound body has shrunken to nearly half that size. He looks like he's between a hundred. Maybe a hundred and twenty pounds. Oh my God. Can I tell how long he had been there when he died? Won't win. Responders get out there. The pathologist makes a best guess that Ted had been in that cabin and alive between eight and thirteen weeks. And he outlined makes this estimation based on the growth of his word. He can't really get a super good grasp on an exact day or time of death due to the temperatures in that area so they can really only work off of a timeline of you know how his beard was growing in knowing that it's only growing he's alive so Ted's official cause of death was exposure but Brit. This is where the case goes totally sideways so he essential leap froze to death and starved to death. But there was a propane tank outside that could have provided heat to the trailer and they also found a bunch of things that could have been used to start a fire. Wood furniture paperback books but all of that sat untouched except for one candle which had been burned inside the cabin. Police find thirty one cans of food that had been opened and empty. Those cans came from a storage locker outside the cabin next to that storage locker but completely untouched was a second storage locker. That had enough food inside to last all five of the men an entire year but that locker was never opened and all of that food was completely untouched. So Ted froze to death in a cabin never having turned on the heat and he starved to death with food. All around him. O- okay but what about the other four guys? Were they also in the cabin know? Ted's body is the only one police find inside the cabin that day. But there are few signs that lead investigators to believe that he hadn't been there alone whole time. I remember you said that. Ted's body was shrouded in blankets when he was found. Yeah well the way that. The sheets were laid on top of his body suggested that someone else had put them there like layer by layer. Pretty carefully it just. It didn't look to them like he had just pulled him over himself. The second reason they think other people were there. Is that Gary's tennis shoes. Were inside the cabin. But there was no sign of Gerry. According to that nineteen seventy-eight article that I mentioned from the Washington Post. Police thought that maybe put on Ted shoes instead because Ted shoes were missing and Ted had bigger feet so the thinking was maybe if Gary suffered from that same frostbite that Ted had his feet would have been swollen so maybe bigger shoes were more comfortable for him. And that's why he took those but I mean even that's just really a guess and with no sign of dairy. It's impossible for them to know for sure right and that's also just one of the other four guys exactly now the last thing that makes them think other people were there at least at some point. Is those thirty one cans of food. That I mentioned now. Thirty one cans had been opened and police could tell that they had been opened using an army issued. Can opener call? Ap Thirty Eight and police are sure. That only Jack or Gary. Both of them who are army vets would have known how to use that. Okay so they're sure that at least one of those two guys had to have been there. Was there any other clues as to like how long they were there where they had gone tracks outside anything? There is nothing pointing to when they were there along. They were there or where they would have gone but as grim as it is finding heads body at least police have something I mean. This is at least a starting point for a new search. They get to work searching the surrounding areas hopeful but realistic about what they may discover and two days later on Tuesday June. Six about four and a half miles from the cabin. Police discovered the remains of both Jack and bill based on where their bodies were found. Police think they likely died before they ever reached the trailer like their bodies just gave up along the way less than five miles short and they died right there in the tracks and the rest of the group kept walking towards where they would eventually find the trailer now. Both of their bodies had been picked apart by animals and they're mostly bones at this point. Jack's bodies in a stream and police think he'd been dragged there by animals. I mean his body is somewhat intact like he still has a watch on his wrist and car still in his pants pocket and on the other side of the road police find bills remains which are nothing but bone just kind of scattered across the forest floor the Yuba county coroner is able to confirm Jack's caused as hypothermia and exposure but bills remains are so decomposed that they left no sign as to how he died though exposure would probably be a pretty good guess. I think now at this point Jackie and Gary are still the only two missing and Jackie's dad decides to join the team on the search now. Police plead with him not to come. I mean this is at this point. A recovery mission and. They're worried about what he might find in those woods but he ignores that as he searching. He's walking along the service road that runs to the trailer when he spots some of Jackie's close his jacket jeans and his shoes all in the same area now he runs over and picks up the jacket and when he is a spine falls out of police find Jackie's skull the next day about one hundred yards away now where he was found is sort of between the cabin and where Jack and bill were found the deep before now completely unrelated to his remains about a quarter mile away from the cabin in a totally different direction. The search team finds three will forest service blankets and a flashlight. Well there's still one guy unaccounted for is does that mean. That's Gary was sued. That's what they're thinking. There's one guy left Gary and this be pointing to which direction he wanted so the search team continues to comb through the area around the trailer looking for any signs of the fifth guy. Gary the also look hard in the area around where they found that flashlight and that blanket and police feel like they've gotta be close especially because according to an article from the load I knew sentinel. They said that there was a smell of decomposition in the area but they like couldn't pin it down but despite the blankets despite the flashlight despite finding the four other men. They don't find Gary in any of the places that they searched. Police continue searching the grounds around the trailer for weeks. The also send descriptions of Gary to psychiatric institutions in the area. I mean he hadn't taken medication with him that night to the basketball game. So they're thinking that if he's gone he's going to need them at some point in maybe he would contact one of those institutions but their efforts turn up nothing on June nineteenth. They finally give up their search. And that's it. Well that's kind of it at least in terms of the search for Gary but not in terms of the search for answers okay. There's one thing that's still really bugging me about this whole thing. Why didn't the police or forest service people or whoever think to look at the trailer from the very beginning like it? Seems like a huge oversight that cost? I mean at least one life well. There is some dispute about that. Now police say they didn't know that it was there when their search began and that's why they didn't attempt to find it but according to the forest service officials in an article from June nineteen seventy eight that was published in the Marysville Appeal Democrat. That article says that they did know it was there now. I don't know what's true whether they did or didn't know but you have to keep in mind that the trailer was. I mean like twenty miles from where they found Jacquard so I don't know that anyone including those experienced forest rangers. It might have been out of the radius. Yeah they would have never thought that these guys probably could have made it twenty miles and again. They were not dressed for that kind of hike. They were wearing sneakers. They didn't even bother to bring jackets. I mean frankly. It's astonishing that they made it at all and actually one of the officers who worked on the case back in seventy eight was quoted in the Democrat and chronicle saying that it would have taken them at least a full night and another day to get that far in those conditions and remember. I mean there is a crazy snowstorm. The night that they went missing so by the time police arrived at the car there would have been like a fresh blanket of snow that are raised any kind of sign of which way they went and why they would've left the car. I mean not only. Is this a huge distance from the car it honestly even seems improbable that they even found it. You know like without knowing exactly where it was. Oh totally I mean again. It was found by happenstance like these guys on a motorcycle. Riders happened to come by the trailer. They smell a decomposing body. Finest guy in there and then they notify police. I can't help but wonder had they never gone. There had no one ever gone back to that trailer. Would the boys just be still missing people so at this point police had nothing to go on? No idea why these guys would have been on the mountains in the first place indefinitely. No idea where they would have gone from there. And that's the big question in this case to this day. Why why were they on that mountain? Were they chased up there? Were they lead up there? Driven up there by someone else. Someone who had to have known the road and if so who and more importantly why did they abandon their car and run up hill twenty miles through deeper and deeper snowdrifts in a howling storm? What were they running from? What were those whistling? Sounds that the witness heard the night on the mountain. And why did Ted starved to death in a cabin full of food? Why didn't even try and start a fire? And who was in there with him and most of all the question that I can't stop asking is where is Gary. Police could never prove foul play in this case but they couldn't rule it out either and police along with the families of men who died had their hunches. An all of the hunches came back to one person. This episode was made possible by better help. Is there something interfering with your happiness or preventing you from achieving your goals? Let better help help you with better help you go from sign up to communicating with a professional counselor in under twenty four hours. The service is available worldwide. You can send messages to your counselor anytime. And it's more affordable than traditional offline counseling. Better help wants you to start living a happier life today. I mean it's more important than ever to keep our mental health front of mind. And if you're unsure go check out their website and see some of the amazing testimonials posted daily people just like you visit better. Help Dot com slash crime junkie. That's better help. H. E. L. P. And join over the seven hundred thousand people taking charge of them rental health with the help of an experienced professional. There's a special offer for crime junkie listeners. You can get ten percent off your first month when you visit. Better help dot com slash crime junkie. The one person whose name is still a huge question mark for police when it comes to the disappearance of the Yuba county five is Gary. The one who never really fit in with the rest of the group the one whose body they never found and the one who's still missing to this very day remember Gary didn't have an intellectual disability like the other four guys. He had a mental illness schizophrenia. All the parents of the other guys. I mean they had major concerns about Gary even from the very beginning long before they all went missing like when he started hanging around with the other four to begin with and then their concerns only deeper as police found Ted and find Jack and then they find bill then they find Jackie but they never find gary as I mentioned the beginning of the story. His illness had been well managed for the last two years. But it hasn't always been that way you see. Gary had a history of volatile and sometimes violent behavior. His first visit to the psychiatric ward happened when he was in high school. His parents told investigators that he had a bad trip is how they put it. His time in. The army wasn't picture perfect either. He was using drugs the whole time. He was in Germany. He was getting himself into a lot of trouble and things didn't get better after he was discharged from the army. Either he continued to use drugs heavily and regularly and he would often fail to take his meds which would then make him lapse into psychosis and end up back at the hospital probably because of his mental illness. Gary also had a police record. He become violent on several occasions and was charged twice with assault. He broke into a home once. And the couple who owned the home woke to find him in their bedroom looking for a ring to return to Satan in the times when he was institutionalized he escaped from a psychiatric hospital not once not twice but three times in Benji Eagles piece for the Sacramento Bee. He writes about Jerry walking walking from Portland Oregon to you account. That's five hundred and forty miles. The story goes that he survived by stealing milk off a people's porches and eating dog food. So there's no question in polices mind or the minds of the family that Gary was a stronger personality than others. He was different than the others and potentially capable of surviving on his own on the run. Exactly so the theory around carries involvement isn't super clear and we don't even know that he was involved but police believe that something or someone lead those men out to the forest that night. They didn't just walk into a blizzard on their own without any evidence. Their families just speculated Ted sister-in-law wondered if maybe the boys sauce something at that basketball game in Chico or maybe in the parking lot something that they shouldn't have seen and maybe they didn't even realize it at the time but whatever it was it prompted someone to chase them all the way up that mountain. Jack's mother thought that someone else was involved too but she thought it was a third party. Someone who is able to somehow get the best of all five men. She said that some force led the men up the hill that night she was actually quoted in The Washington Post article. I mentioned saying quote. We know good and well somebody made them do it and quote but the question is who police could never prove that the men were chased or followed up the mountain by another vehicle but it could explain why they were so determined to keep going in that direction. Like Jake Rawson asked in a story. He wrote for mental floss. Why abandoned they're perfectly good car and run headlong into the winter wilderness. Unless what's behind you even more terrifying and that might make sense of a few of the other things. Police were never able to pin down. Like that grey cigarette lighter. They found outside the cabin that the water witcher them to or it could make sense of a gold watch that they actually found on the bedside table next. Tad's body a watch that didn't belong to Ted or any of the other guys. Could the watch the lighter how belonged to the same person and was that person holding the men in the trailer controlling? What the eight in which supplies they used. And is that Whitehead. And maybe even Jackie and Jerry to starve to death despite having access to tons of food. I mean I guess but the trailer was there for the force workers to use a for me. At least it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that the watch could have been one of their is. That had just gotten left behind less time than the trailer was used. Exactly I mean and the lighter could have belonged to a force workers. Well arranger a hiker. I mean it's not like no one ever went out there. People were out there on motorbikes in the area I mean that's how they found the trailer to begin with now. It's hard to prove that either of those things has anything to do with the Yuba county five and yet it's also impossible to prove that they don't have anything to do with it. So what do we know? What can we prove? The truth is not much. Police can only say for certain that one man even made it to the trailer. Tet- you was the only body found there but based on what they found in the trailer and around it and the position of the other bodies police think that at least three of them made at that night they think Ted. Jackie and Gary made it to the trailer the other two Jack and bill. They think they died on their way to the trailer though. There were no outright signs of Jackie in the trailer. Police believed that he was there. His body was found totally apart from Jack and bill and unlike Jack and bill whose investigator sink died on the way to the trailer they think made it now not only that but he may have been there the whole time that Ted was alive somewhere between eight and thirteen weeks and they think that maybe only left the trailer. After Ted died I mean he could have been confused and horrified knowing who wants to be stuck in a trailer with the dead body of one of your best friends and the reason they think Gary had been there at least for a little while anyway was because of his shoes that they found in the trailer right and he would have been the only one of three have known how to operate that army as you can opener right so this left police with one bizarre question was Gary. The one who led the group up the mountain into the snow had deary been controlling access to the food and the heat and other essentials. And if so why? I don't think we can discount Gary's history of schizophrenia. And the story yes. He was stable for the two years before this incident but maybe something changed if that night then definitely slowly in the days and weeks before February. Twenty four something. That ben at goal put forward his reporting for the Sacramento. Bee was what if Garry chose not to take his medication so it side effects wouldn't slow him down for that big basketball game but the guys are playing the next day. Could he have found himself in the beginning stages of a schizophrenic psychosis that night and could he have in Burnley led his friends? Who may not have had the mental capacity to question him on a psychosis fueled journey up. The mountain into snow covered forest. I think it is a likely scenario that something lead Gary to believe he needed to either get chew something in those mountains or away from something in that car and his friends just didn't know enough about his illness or about schizophrenia. Or Psychosis in general to know that Gary may have been in a paranoid state. He could have been seeing things that weren't there hearing things that weren't there and terrified of something that wasn't really there and what if after happening upon this trailer in the middle of the Wilderness and recovering for a few days from their journey. Gary left either to find help or to get away from something that he thought was inside the trailer and then maybe gearing never came back. That would explain why. Police only found thirty-one empty food cans. Maybe Gary was the only one capable of not only opening the cans but also finding the food which is outside the trailer in the storage lockers. I mean it's a plausible scenario but there are things. I can't stop about the whistling that night that Joe heard when he had his heart attack. That sighting of the guys with the woman with the baby. I mean we know the car was found in there. He obviously saw them. Who was this other person? Did he just hallucinate that part I mean we had the lighter and the watch but most of all would I can't get over is the fact that the car wasn't damaged and nobody who was in the car that night knew the area to me. It means someone else was there and don't forget we had sightings of them in a red truck now we don't know if those sightings are legitimate but all of this to me is pointing to someone else someone not part of the original five. I don't know how it all fits together but I do think that Gary is the missing piece of the puzzle. But where is he now? There's no evidence that Gary survived the ordeal that killed Ted Jackie Jock and bill. But there's also evidence that he died out there either like there's no evidence of foul play and no evidence to prove otherwise. This case is long on questions but short on answers pretty much everyone involved in this case officially and the families of the Yuba County five thinks Gary died in those woods. It defied logic that the men's survived as long as they did the conditions in that forest during February and March challenged the experienced forced rangers looking for the men and they were dressed for the weather. Gary was undoubtedly the best equipped to deal with the journey. I mean intellectually anyways but even he couldn't survive out there. Long-term police did look beyond the Plumas National Forest Gary. Even if he had gotten out of there alive he wouldn't have been able to fly under the radar for long without medication for schizophrenia. Investigators sent descriptions of him hospitals and psychiatric facilities in the area. But no sign of Gerry. Ever turned up. It's like Gary died in those woods along with Ted Jackie Jacksonville. And if he did the story of what really happened to the Yuba county five died right along with him. If you WanNa see any pictures we talked about in this case. Were to see a list of our source material. You can find all of that on our website. Crime Junkie PODCAST DOT COM and be sure to follow us on Instagram at trend Janke podcast. We actually won't be back next week with a new episode. Next week is Memorial Day. So we're taking a little bit of time off to spend with our families but will be back on June I with AJ Berry special episode. And if you want to hear more from US stick around for a puppet of the month story. Junkie is an audio chuck production. So what do you think check? Do Bro Okay. Ashley I'm going to be up front about this because I already gave you the heads up when I found this prop it but as a reminder to you a warning for all of our listeners. I'm awarding this problem. The month posthumously. Lucky the golden retriever mix passed away from a battle with cancer when here's a fit over thirteen years old but his story definitely grandma interest and I think our views will appreciate it to know boy so here. We go our listener. Morgan submitted the story of the first dog lucky and when Morgan was a kid she loved visiting local animal shelter on weekends but she spent with her dad. They go and pet. The dogs play with them but always with understanding that they were doing it because they were never going to any of the last words but also like you know it's important for rescue. Dogs be socialized around people for their own being and honestly ours. Too but yeah. They weren't going to get a dog mainly because Morgan's dad lived in an apartment. Plus her parents had shared custody of her idea of having shared custody of a dog to sounded like a little bit downdraft sounds a little bit messy but when. Morgan was ten. Her Dad got engaged to a woman who had a fenced in backyard which changed everything and one day. They were visiting a shelter. Play with the dogs and Morgan met her dog. He was sweet. Golden retriever mix who had little white socks and a little white patch on his chest. Which little fluffy retriever pause with white? I just can't. He was sitting so patiently on the other side of the fence. While all the other dogs were barking and jumping around and going crazy and obviously her dad was like friendly reminder. We're only there to play on the not So they do that but Morgan cried all the way because she knew that this dog was her on. Are you crying already? I've about that is so. Here's one of my favorite parts of the story is the very next day. Morgan's future step. Mom went right back to the shelter and adopted this guy for organ and when she got there there was actually another family. Looking to adopt. Him and Morgan said that to this day. She has no idea how her mom was able to get him but she basically said. I'm not leaving without the stock. I love already got a win so once all the paperwork was done. The shelter handed her this giant binder with a notebook in it as well as like all of the dogs health records and stuff like that and this shelter actually had worked with a local women's prison that put a dog training program in place in the prison facility and lucky had been fostered and trained by an inmate. Which may I? I don't know about you but like I love hearing stories about these programs. Because due to they help like local shelters so much like fostering and training and that helps dogs get adopted faster. But it's also super therapeutic for the inmates and start like we habilitation which like two birds one stone. I love programs like this so they get lucky home and start flipping through the notebook that came with him and it's actually his training notebook from the prison program and this notebook was build with meticulous notes and like almost journal entries detailing what a dog lucky had been how his training progressed and things he struggled with within the process and the whole family was amazed at what incredible job is inmate had done in kind of recording. Lucky life behind bars. And that's what I noticed the name on the front of the notebook. Dr Deborah Green and the whole family was in shock. They knew who doctor was and what she had done. Oh they were like familiar with this person. Whatever crime they committed yes so I was not at all. Have you ever heard of this person? No okay so I find that really wild 'cause Andrel yes that Anne rule actually wrote a book all about this woman. Oh my gosh. So it's like it's like a big case. Yes so. The book is called Bitter Harvest a women's fury a mother's sacrifice and I haven't read it but I'll tell you a little bit about what happened so back. In October of Nineteen ninety-five. Dr Green was a local Kansas City. Doctor who set her own home on fire and she escaped the fire with one of her three children but two of them died in the home and she her husband had had a rocky relationship. He'd actually recently moved out of the home a few months prior to the fire because he believed he was being poisoned by Deborah. Oh my gosh and according to ABC News when the police were called to the home. In what I think was a domestic dispute like a month before the fire. They said that Deborah was kind of acting weird and when they searched the house just to make sure like everyone was safe in okay. They found her beans which those they're used to make rice in a crazy crazy dangerous poison. And if you've watched breaking bad you know that and decorating was eventually arrested. In November of nineteen ninety-five it was charged and later convicted of one count of aggravated arson for setting her home on fire. First degree murder in the deaths of her two children who died in the fire two counts of attempted first degree murder in the fact that when she left her home on fire all three children had been in the home and obviously poisoning her estranged husband. Did her husband died in the fire as well. He didn't because he had moved out. He knew a couple months before so he did not. He did have like ongoing health problems and died shortly after having been poisoned that long could not figure out what was wrong with him because he's really really difficult to detect. His poisoning actually presented in a lot of like abdominal and gastrointestinal issues and he had recently gone overseas. He thought he'd kind of maybe water. Practice something there but nothing ever really panned out. So she ended up taking an Alfred Lee which is kind of like. I'm not saying I'm innocent. I'm not saying I'm guilty. But there's enough to convict me if I believe. Yeah it's basically say well and usually it's still in saying I'm innocent but I recognize that if we were to go to trial it looks bad and I would probably go to jail right and so. She's currently serving two concurrent forty year prison sentences and this is such an old case. I couldn't find a ton of information on it outside the book and a couple of Articles. I did read an article from the KC star that seated that. She filed for an appeal regarding her sentencing. Back in two thousand fifteen but it had been denied. And there's not really been anything since then has been Leonidas. How did our like sorry for like the Mini Crime Junkie in the middle of property of the month and it's just going to say like our province of the month story went to like a full on crime. Yeah I couldn't help it. I read this email from. We're getting I was like I have to tell lucky story so again here. Morgan and her family are welcoming their brand new dogs family and learning more and more about him from a convicted murderer and it kind of became like a morbid joke within the family to say things like don't accept food from. Lucky lucky loan with matches or home back when lucky was locked up but lucky lived a lovely and full life to the age of thirteen when he was diagnosed with cancer and Morgan's Dad. Who all those years ago was so adamant about never getting like Ireland. Because I already know what you're GonNa say it's always. The DADS Yawkey was the most affected. Yeah and he went to increase lengths to make these last months as comfortable as possible and shortly after past dad and step. Mom tried to get another puppy but it was too soon for Dad. We really just weren't ready to replace the best dog ever but Morgan did tell me that just recently. They did adopt new dog. Who looks just like lucky and I love this so much. New Puppy was trained as a service dog but couldn't quite make the cut so we got adopted and I feel like that's me wanting to be a detective like really want to do it. We're going to start a podcast but new dog and dad loved to sit on the Couch in Dad's barn and listen to talk radio but Morgan thinks in honor. It might just be time to introduce them to true crime. Podcast like crime donkey. I love it. I love lucky story so much again. I can't imagine adopting a dog and being like Oh also. A murderer raised up for a while yet again. It could not have been more crime junkie appropriate. I love it so much okay. So that's lucky story Ashley. We usually under episodes with adoptable dog but we have a really great track record of picking dogs that adopted before I before. The episode comes out before episode airs. So I think we're GONNA shift gears a little bit and I want to tell you about a shelter in Kansas and Missouri. Kansas City area. Where Dr Deb? Green Live called Casey pet project and they have cats and dogs. I was scrolling through their puppies today. They have a ton normal ones. I suggest looking at all of them. Because they're amazing. But you can find them at Casey pet project DOT ORG check them out. If you're in the area guys. Thanks for listening. And we'll see you next month for any preparatory.