Report From Friday by Cynthia…

February 13th, 2016



Friday Feb 12th Search for Randy

A couple days ago, Tom Terrific mentioned he’d like to wade downstream from Buckman Road where Randy’s car was found…he felt the river was low enough and slow enough for him to do this, with the aid of a searcher or two on the shoreline for safety’s sake.

A small group exchanged emails and decided on meeting Friday morning at 7:00 am near Old Buckman Road. I arrived first, quickly joined by Roger Radcrad a veteran searcher, Robert B who is not a Fenn treasure searcher but ex-military with SAR experience, and Tom Terrific himself. I received a text from Scott R that we should go ahead without him…he’d catch up, eventually. Seems Scott was driving a bit above the speed limit on his way north, and got pulled over…

The four of us accessed the river and were surprised to see the flow had greatly increased from what we expected. We agreed wading was not a good idea…we’d walk along the shoreline, spreading out where feasible between the water and cliff-sides, downstream, as far as time would allow.


Roger led the way…along the water’s edge…sometimes winding through thickets of willows that slashed at my face and grabbed at my hair like giant tentacles with claws. There were areas of Russian olive trees that were thick with branches covered in thorns. I noticed the guys were wearing gloves…I understood why as I tried to push the branches aside enough to wiggle through. Later I noticed a bloody scratch across Roger’s cheek… where he apparently lost the battle with an angry branch…

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There were stretches along the shoreline where the sides got steep between the water and cliff- face. Robert’s dog Pepper never seemed to mind…maybe having 4 feet with your center of gravity a few inches from the ground made this hiking much more amiable…

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As we went about our journey, we each kept an eye out for Randy or any clues that would be helpful…sometimes Roger would stop for a moment and use his binoculars to search the shoreline and land across the river. Once Robert and I crawled through the thicket of tree branches, willows, and brush to check out an area that Pepper seemed interested in sniffing…

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Every now and then, we came to an area of sandy beach along the water. This particular search for Randy was bittersweet for me…I was in awe of the beauty of the river through this section of canyon I’d never traveled. Despite the brisk 23 degree temperature when we first stepped out of our vehicles that morning, the sun soon warmed my chilled bones…we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful February day. The sky could not have been any bluer or the water clearer…we were witnessing the Rio Grande at it’s finest. I almost felt guilty with my overwhelming sense of joy to be standing there…

As we took a break on a much-appreciated beach, we heard yelling coming from upstream…we looked up on the butte to see Scott waving to us…he had made it after all and finally spotted us from his vantage point. We hollered back and forth…not really sure what the other said, but good enough to understand he’d continue his hike up high, and eventually meet us downstream.

Below picture: Scott is standing at point of red arrow.


We four, plus Pepper continued on…winding our way along the water, through thickets and brush when necessary. I was delighted when we retreated from the shoreline to meet Scott on higher ground.

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Above photo: Roger, Scott, Tom, and Robert.
The guys exchanged information and stories while I found a nice rock out of the way to take a seat…once again I marveled at the beauty of the canyon, the desert hillside and terrain, the sky…

There alone on my rock in my solitude, I looked at these 4 guys…I mean, unbeknownst to them, I studied them…Roger a 70-yr old Vietnam veteran who has been out searching for Randy almost every day for 4 weeks, mostly alone…he probably now knows the area between Buckman Road and the raft including all the roads and trails around Montoso Peak better than anyone except maybe John Brown. Standing to his right was Scott, a 40-ish yr old guy who looked like he’d just stepped off the cover of Guns and Ammo magazine…This is meant to be a compliment…if I ever need a young, all-around super duper guy for a body guard, Scott would get the call! He, too, has done numerous searches, breaking an axle on his ATV trailer, ruining the transmission in his truck, and finding a flat tire when he returned to his vehicle later today. But, despite his bad luck, he never gives up helping to search for Randy. To his right stands Tom Terrific…I had never met him prior but had read a few of his comments on the blog. Like all of us but Scott, he too is on the north side of 60 and wanted to help search for Randy…he was the instigator of this particular search. On the right is Robert…he had never heard of Fenn and the treasure until a month ago when he saw that Randy was missing. He is ex-military with experience in search and recovery…he also has been kayaking Cochiti Lake, trying to paddle through the ice chunks to the river inlet. Some of you who read this story may criticize me for talking about these guys…but they epitomize the kind of folks who have been searching for Randy the past month…and I want everyone to understand the commitment some of us feel.

It was now approaching 1 pm, so most of us decided it was time to head back to the vehicles. Scott wanted to continue his trek downstream a bit further and Roger wanted to hike back up along the shoreline we’d just negotiated. Tom, Robert, and I decided to walk above the river across the terrain where Scott had walked…it was easier and some of us believe this was Randy’s exit strategy all along.

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For the three of us, walking up and down the hilly terrain, winding our way through the junipers back to the saddle on the butte where we sighted Scott was like a walk in the park compared to the hike along the shoreline. Just prior to the saddle, we found the dirt road that winds down to the river from the water wells near Buckman…Randy may have discovered this prior to his trip, and planned this as part of his walk back to his car…we likely will never know.

We were tired when we returned to our vehicles…we had been gone almost 7 hours and most of that time was on our feet. Unfortunately, we did not find Randy, nor any clues. I was delighted, though, that we all returned safely…other than minor scratches, no one twisted an ankle, bled profusely, or fell into the river. Pepper lay exhausted in the shade beside her owner’s truck while Tom and Robert enjoyed a cold beer while resting their tired feet, sitting on the tail gate. I threw my gear in my vehicle, said my good-byes, and headed back to civilization. It was a long ride across the sandy, rippled surface of Buckman Road…passing Diablo Canyon, staring at the guys near the tents there wondering if they were the “Mountainmen from Texas”… but mostly contemplating… what to do next?

Robert has made progress with the Cochiti Pueblo and may be able to gain access to Tetilla Peak next week. If so, we can glass the lake and river inlet. Roger talked about a trail he found up the east side of the canyon from the raft to the mesa north of where the raft was found. If we camped there on top, it would give us an early start to another search day, hiking down this “trail” to the river, where we could search the shoreline and hillside north of the raft upstream to Ancho rapids. Until every square inch of land has been searched or Randy has been found, some of us will never give up…

Peace to Randy and his family.
To see more pictures from today’s search, click this link:

81 thoughts on “Report From Friday by Cynthia…

  1. Wow! Wish I was there, but my spirit is with you all. Thank you for being such great human beings, and doggy! Praying everyday and sending positive vibes.
    Has anyone ever found or contacted the TX mt men? An interview would be interesting!
    Be safe!

  2. My chest swells with pride and draws a tear to my eyes knowing the magnificent people who continue to search for Randy and return saddened and tired. I’m glad everyone returned safely.

    To give everyone a perspective to the Russian Olive trees/shrubs they’ve encountered, the thorns are approximately three inches long and the branches are loaded with them. I once had one on my property and tried to stay away from it as much as possible. The thorns are very dangerous and coming away with only scratches meant they were very lucky.

  3. Cindy I applaud each and everyone of you for the effort and dedication that you have shown.
    This write up really gives a great perspective to the kind of terrain that you searchers have been dealing with!
    Thanks for keeping us updated. The photos are excellent!
    God bless all of you!


        • We have the hill country and Enchanted Rock here in Tx.
          Thanks Cynthia and guys and pup for continuing the search. I pray someone will come across Randy on one of these searches.
          Any word on Leo and where he is and how he is doing?

      • Hey Donna, I was born in Carlsbad, NM and we called it Signal Peak, half of the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe (Signal) Peak is in NM, just sayin, and Carlsbad Caverns and Lechugilla Cave are near by and in NM.

        What you said is true that the exact Peak is in TX but the rest of that entire Mountain Range is well inside NM.

        My family owns 16 section of land there and almost ever year I load up my bow and arrow and hunt, sometimes on horseback but mostly on foot, it is a surprise when you see mule deer as big as anywhere, more deer are taken from the Guadalupe/Sacramento mts than any where in the State, also we sell a lot of land hunt permits to Texans, who pay to hunt Mulies and coues deern instead of White Tail.

  4. Now you can compare photos I took of that trek. I know its a tough walk I sure wish some one would look up river from where Randy’s car was parked. If not I will do it when I heal. Thank you for the photos and the effort.

    • Jeff, if you hunt north of the bridge over the Rio above Buckman, you must get permission from the San Ildefonso Pueblo, we have considered that he could have over shot his mark in the dark, but that is probably much less likely than the Cochiti Lake scenario.

      Tom T

      • Thank you Tom I was just thinking of where he may have put in. It was pretty rough where his car is parked the put in was right in front of his car The gate is to the right there he may have crossed the gate and put in up river where there was calmer water. I’m not sure how far up the bridge is But I think it is possible that he would of looked for calmer water just for a short trip to test the raft. somewhere just above where he parked his car to do a fast float test back to his car. I would look for the broken part to the paddle he must of got in some sort of trouble to break a paddle. Someone may be able to get close to the bridge without permission I’m not sure. Thanks Tom I also saw the yellow ribbon mentioned in the recent search. It appeared to be a marker as where to leave the river I’m not sure. But I did follow the ribbons and it lead to a old camp site. The fire in recent photos brings hope and should be explored more. Two or three pictures past that fire ring on the bank there is a photo of a short piece of bank up on the right is a clearing with a man place 4 or arrow I need to go eat but if you need me to send that photo I will. Just thinking as everyone has been doing but I think one can go up river a piece and look let me know the boundary coordinates so I can check it on google earth Please. This way If I get that way I wont be stepping on anyone’s toes. Ill be back in a few hours to check in. Thank you Tom

        • Jeff, until we get more evidence, like the broken piece of the paddle or the blue backpack, waders or other identifiable objects like the pump he used to fill the raft, there is really not a good reason to go up from Buckman Landing, launch area, so everything points South of there, could be west and south but more likely east to Cochiti Lakes head waters his vehicle was was clearly where everyone thinks he launched from it is just above and close to the SF muni water intake on the river at Buckman. There is a poster right where his vehicle stayed for many days.

          Tom T

          • Tom I stood Right where randy parked his car and the launch was right in front of it. I asked a Officer and he pointed to the exact location it was found. It was a rough place to launch a raft that’s all I am saying. I looked and walked the bank south from there I searched along way down river from that point. I’m repeating myself sorry but when I asked the guard about the weird noise reported he pointed north of Randy’s car up river when. That conversation occurred after the days search or we may have searched the area up river that day. He may have been wrong but that is what got the craw in my mind and it won’t let go. I have looked at google earth and there are a few places that may have served as a better put in up River that are fairly close. I thought the pump was with the raft. Also why would he not let the air out of it if he planned to pack out? It is at least a warrant to walk up river to have a look see. To really rule it out one must go there and search. You may be right about the lake thank you for all your doing.

          • The picture on the tree or lost flyer was closer to the put in and the Rio Grand then where Randy’s car was parked. We are talking a hole 30 ft or more away from where they found the car. Unless the law enforcement officer’s place to where he pointed the car was found was wrong. This is not that important but where he went wet is. Yes Tom, I went to the tree that has the poster on it. It was a Laminated 8..5 x ..11 piece of paper. To who ever put that there good job.

            . I do not think I am alone when I say a lot of this story does not add up. Something went wrong along the path for Randy that day but where that place is is the question. I try to work both ends with a open mind. Like the picture of the two campers the one that is wearing a blue coat has waders on and a blue hat. That is clear you can see the suspenders and It looks like that person has a animal on their shoulder like a bird or something white what ever it is we cant make out the face or sex of that person. The big guy with a Mohawk hair cut has the answer as to who was standing in front of him.

            He or She has a blue hat on. Randy wears a blue hat like that in some of his pictures. From my understanding this photo was taken after Randy disappeared by the NMSAR or the sheriff from the air. Why they blurred it out is in question. Or maybe its just that low of quality. I Know they worked on it from the other lighted Items in the photo. Why the brick wall or lack of communication?

            This has nothing to do with all the gifted searchers. They are all angels Thank you Tom for the answer to why people think that its a waste of time to look north of Randy’s car. That is exactly what the head of NMSAR said when I talked to him about this subject. He said It would be a waste of time and the man hours are better served down river.

            A half mile to a mile up river may have the answer but then again you all may be right and it would be a waste of time. I’m in no way trying to be argumentative. I thought he was close to the raft when this all began too. No boot tracks around the raft is a big question that needs answered. Its just a thought of when everyone says they have exhausted their Ideas of where to search for Randy. May the sun shine on all your paths forever. Jeff Burch and Titan

          • Jeff burch i just was just reading what you wherw saying to tom on searching up stream from where his car was. I would like to say on the part about good or bad ideas or what some think could be a waste of time. In my opinion there is any thing that is a waste of time or even any thing that is a bad idea when it comes to looking for some one. Also i also feel it never hurts to look again in places that have been searched again. I dont know how many times when out hunting and after someone hadmade a good shot on an animal but was able to get out of sit from the hunter. When we went to go look for it it wasnt where it should have fell after the shot and had to look for it for quite a while and it wasnt close to where it should have been and after going over our steps and just looking out side of the box is when we where able to find it. So it shouldnt matter to ever to look out side of the box when looking for Randy.if i had any thing other than my lexius to go look for him now i would go look in that area for you and other places.after bring my car down there last friday i feel i cant take that risk again because if it breaks down and not having a job it would put me in a world of hurt even more than im already in and wont be able to pay for any repair on it or look for a good job.. ill do my best to find a way to check it out.

          • I think so to Scott and its always good to compare images. Some of mine were poor. I don’t have that great of a camera. Be careful and try to take someone with if you travel into that country. Better safe then sorry. TY JB and Titan

  5. I am inspired by your determination…all of you. You’re an incredible group of stout-hearted people…men and woman. I’m positive that heavenly recorders are taking notes. Keep on keepin’ on.

  6. The only thing i came across on the search i forgot to tell cynthia about where one spot where i found two old sleeping bags that where covered up with dirt and to old to have any thing to do with randy they most likely where from a year or two ago when maybe someone else got lost in the same area. The area would be ez for someone to get lost in if you got stuck out there at night unless you know what you where doing and the other was after everyone was going back twards to cars i went down along the river bank going down steam and saw where some of sar or who ever the searchers where for the state had got out of there raft and started searching. I say this bevause of how it was marked by there yellow tape to mark the area was searched. Other than that nothing found on where randy could be or what could of happened. I went probly another mile down the river bank from the rest. I just wish we had found something pertaining to Randy so we can bring some closer for his family. But we will keep our trek going until we know. I want to say thanks to Tom and Rodger for the help they gave me that day when it came to helping on the bad luck i had that day and Cynthia for the kind words and also Robert for coming out and to see a new face on the search. All the people ive met while searching have all been great people to meet and be able to call new friends. Now our next search day will be gain for Randy.

  7. Thank you Cynthia and others for checking this area out and giving us a sense of what travel is like along the river bank. I hiked down to the unnamed arroyo east of Ancho Rapids on 2/13/16 and took a lot of photos from Ancho Rapids to Frijoles if others are interested in trying to find a needle in a haystack. 🙂 I noticed a campfire, quite black, on the west bank of Ancho Rapids but this could be from anyone. Map: Photos start here:

    • Julie, I need to talk/email you. Dal, could you please give her my email address so she can talk to me. Thanks. There’s a guy who is helping with finding out what happened to Randy and needs information from anyone regarding raft to rim searches either side of the river. I know John Brown, Geydelkon, and Radcrad have done many, as well as Jeff Burch so I will send him the emails I know. Thanks. cynthia

      • Cynthia, what ever happened with the plan to search the lake? I know Dal had said that Forrest’s nephew is with a group that helps do that sort of thing for free for families that can’t afford to.

    • Thank you Julie these pictures are in great detail. Two or three pictures past the fire ring there is a section of bank if you look up right just a little there is a little clearing with a man placed 4 or a arrow. Maybe a marker?

    • Julie that Picture of the bank with a Man made A or arrow on it made out of sticks I discovered is the bank is in front of the Fire ring from picture 37 anyone could of Put it there for some kind of sign not sure what it could mean Its there I sent the Picture to Dal last night the picture is 111 if enlarged you can see the A made of sticks on the upper right bank clearing what do you guys think this could represent? I don’t think nature put that there

    • Julie picture 27 is a fine example of how to spot a person in these photos . there is a person walking the canyon trail across the river on top. Great photos again Julie good job TY

        • The person in the photo 42 appears to have blond hair a blue coat and maybe packing waders over their shoulders. Can someone blow that picture up and let me know what you think? Could it be that Randy is well and does not want to leave without knowing what happened to Leo? This kind of stuff bugs me and I cant get it out of my thoughts. Like alot of all of this. Have a good day everyone JB and Titan

          • Sorry I just went and checked it again and it moved again I;m not sure of the # now I will email it to Dal and maybe he will post it I;m not going crazy I sent the Picture to Dal Forrest and Julie There is a Hiker in the photo But its not # 42 now so your not going crazy either Maybe Flicker is moving Photos but Julie has not responded to it yet, Sending a request to Dal Now.

          • That’s not the one either….I went forwards and backwards 20 clicks each way. Can’t find the pix you’re talking about. WTH is going on? Why is this so weird?

            Well Jeff, I guess we are both going crazy.

          • Thanks, Jeff. Hope you got some sleep last night now that the case of the moving picture is solved. I can’t really confirm blond hair or waders over the shoulders, but it looks to me like someone wearing a dark brown brimmed hat.

  8. Thank you to all who have searched, prayed, waited, watched and cared enough to spend your valuable time looking for our lost searcher. You are awesome human beings. Be careful on your searches, we pray for your safety . You do what many of us can not do. Peace be with us all.

  9. Wow, the best pictures ever to show just how tough the BOTG search is. I’d like to be one of the ones to say that I’d be there searching with you if I wasn’t so far away. But the truth is that I do not have your courage (never mind stamina and tenacity). What you and the other searchers are doing is amazing and inspiring. Thank you.

  10. God bless you all and thanks for the continued searching for this long. I know Randy’s family is very glad for everyone continuing the search for their father, grandfather and ex-husband. Hopefully that find is coming soon and closure will be found in this for all!!! Stay safe and God continue to bless and watch over all that search and look for this treasure hunter so loved. You gals and guys never give up and are so appreciated great photos and keep doing what you are doing.

  11. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Profound thanx to you five searchers! I, too, wish you had more to report concerning clues to the disappearance of Randy.

  12. What more could I say? It’s all here in black and white.
    To paraphrase Winston Churchill: You all have done so much with so little you are now qualified to do something with nothing.

    In your own way each of you have set an example of what a true american is. Some of you may not have known Randy yet you continue to search for him.
    Such tenacity, courage and dedication is worthy of admiration from all.

  13. Is there any one that has a truck or suv that would like to go back on top where the power lines go down across the river just north of where the raft was and do a search up stream towards buckman . I would like to try and look on the river bank and also along part of the top and try to make it to around where i turned around on friday where i know the next section along the river that i havent looked has been covered. I think rodger may have searched the area or at least part of it but i like to know ive been there to no for sure. If there is any one that does but not sure on the road its not bad along that road unlike the one that gos to where the raft was. Let me no if anyone is up for a long day or a good hike. Thanks.

  14. Scott 2/15 I searched from the rim top above Chino/Water Canyon down to Water Canyon Rapid and then down river to the top of Ancho Rapids. The down hill trail is well marked with cairns. It took 1 1/4 hrs. to hike down to the river. If you mark Randy’s car spot as ground zero then the section of river from the bottom the trail is mile 5 and the Ancho Rapid is mile 6.5. I found no signs on this search however this area is huge and requires much more searching. The access road to this trail is a gate off of road 24 (designated 24N) about 1/2 mile south of the cattle corral road. I placed a clear beer bottle in the hollow of the right gate post top to let searchers know which gate to turn in on. I highly recommend this road be accessed before the next rain as it has ruts comparable to those we navigated on 24 out to the Montoso parking area. There’s good camping at the top and on the beach next to the river. Part of the trail down is subject to mudding and will be difficult to climb back up if wet. Snow saturation caused some mud even after a week of warm weather. To hitch hike on John’s comment about not wanting to end you hike with the most difficult part of the journey, note this climb back up took me close to 2 hours, so plan accordingly. I got a minor back sprain on this trip so will be not hiking for a few days. Good time to do some research.

    • The road your talking about is that the road I was talking about at the dirt tank or are you talking about the one where there’s a gate just before the tank and at first after crossing over the gate the road at first starts going down the fence line then after about twenty or thirty yards gos towards the river. I was thinking about going on the road that gos over the dirt tank and going down that for a ways and then get on the power line road to the end. I know the power line road is a real good road except for the first wash you come to but if I go down the one I want to start going down first gos above where the wash is and past that area of the power line road before it splits and turns to the power line road. Do you no witch roads I’m talking about. The only way I would be able to go back in there a lone would be to hike in. I would take the car as far as I could but even on the good part of the binging of 24 I wouldn’t be able to go for the most part about 4 or 5 miles from the black top road if that far even the lexius is only about 5 inches if not less off the ground and won’t go any where like I did last Friday is to big of a risk for me.

  15. Scott it’s the road that parallels 24 at the gate then goes out toward the river. There is a rock mound at the end where a human grave is marked with a cross on it. I can take you to it tomorrow if you’d like however I am precluded from hiking for a couple of days. I could search (slowly) the ridge top in the area while you and a partner (Cynthia?) do the trail. Let me know and I will plan accordingly for Thursday.

  16. Scott let me know by 8 am if you need a ride tomorrow or Friday out to the area of Chino Mesa. Let Cindy, and anyone else know as well.

  17. I’ve just recently found this blog/website. I read about Randy missing but his dog and raft were found. I had to go out of town and couldn’t keep up with the site. Are there any new developments in finding him? Maybe a post in another area of the website? I truly hope, for his loved ones sake, that he is found soon.

    • Hi Melissa,

      Yes these folks have really tried hard, putting their own lives aside at times trying to find him. I also have not followed the search for Randy much in the last few weeks. Just got too busy with other things. Not enough time in the day to get it all done. But out of respect for Randy I should check in more. I am sure that the cold and snow has slowed any search efforts.

      Like my brother for example. He got frost bite a few years ago in his feet. Now he can’t be in the cold for more than 20-30 min or I should say his feet. If he is then his feet swell, and get very painful and at times can’t walk. Then it takes weeks to fully go away. And that’s no joke, it really happens. I know sounds weird, but it is true. But these folks here, the ones looking for Randy, I must say are amazing. Big thanks to all of U.

      See you around the blog.

  18. I must withdraw from the physical search for Randy. I am sorry to report that due to cardiac problems and Doctor’s orders I am precluded from future exhaustive hikes to look for Randy. This will not keep me from continuing to search either by doing easier hikes or possibly transporting other searchers. It’s been a long process from the middle of January to now and I thank all my fellow searchers and Forrest. Maybe I’ll see some of you at Fennborree.

    • Efforts such as yours never go unnoticed. I’m sure his family and friends appreciate you for all you did to help find Randy.

      Time to take care of yourself.

    • Radcrad, thank you for all you have done in the search for Randy. Sorry to hear of your health issue. you must take care of yourself, hope to see you at Fennboree.

    • Bummer, Roger, so sorry to hear this…This might not be the proper thread but do you still plan to look for Fenn’s treasure?…that will definitely make a much easier hike than those we partook of looking for Randy. If you need me to be your search buddy for health reasons (in other words, so your wife allows you to go), let me know. I’d be flattered if you chose me to go with you…take care. cynthia PS: Fennborree is exactly 3 months from this weekend…hope you still plan to attend.

      • Thanks Cynthia, l’ll keep in touch and I will definitely continue Randy’s search and Fenn’s treasure hunt where I can. If I need a sidekick “you da man!”.

      • Cynthia, what ever became of Forrests nephew and his group to search the lake? I saw it posted that they do recovery for familes that can not afford it

    • Hello radcrad. Thank you so much for all you’ve done in regards to the search for Randy. You and others have gone beyond what anyone could imagine. I am truly grateful. Please take good care of yourself.

  19. Sorry to hear about your health problems and hope they get better with some good rest. One of these days i might ask you if you can bring me to a place i might camp and take a couple days on the search for Randy if you could. One thing that i havent heard about is any thing on us being able to search any where around the lake yet is there any news yet?

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