Drone Footage on Saturday…

January 30th, 2016


Here is Dave’s & Cynthia’s drone footage from Saturday, January 30th. You will remember that they were focused on the side canyon, close to where the raft was found, where a “body-like” image was discovered during a review.


136 thoughts on “Drone Footage on Saturday…

    • its the draw 900 feet south of the raft Im pretty sure. I will see if I can do a side by side comparison of a drone shot with google earth.

      • It is the draw. Watch #5 video at 5:46 I fly to the draw then towards the river and back to the raft area. I think you can see the raft on the bank of the side stream.

        • aah yep saw it….and on that last video at 3:29 you get a better look at that human “shape” and see its just rocks. Man must be hard with all the bushes and that snow to pick out details.

      • @Iron Will, “its the draw 900 feet south of the raft Im pretty sure. I will see if I can do a side by side comparison of a drone shot with google earth.”

        Ah, thank you; I see you are right— my bad. There is a foot trail going to the east mesa from the canyon (Montoso Arroyo) farther south, but a person must wade in the river to get there.

    • The area of the videos does look passable with some effort.
      Recalling; “Look quickly down your quest to cease” Rings in my head as meaning the chest would be at my feet. solid ground.
      Following along Randy’s chase pattern he went about it logically.
      From the point he parked his car to the search area.
      So what was his course of action from the time he left Leo near the boat?
      Leo was not suffering from life threatening injuries, I do not think Randy headed back toward his car without Leo seeing he could have carried the dog.
      So far as i am aware of, no trace has been found of Randy going up to the mesa
      from the landing area. Nor any trace on top of the mesa. Now if Leo is anything like my Yorkie they are inseparable. Which points to another possible crossing of the river and back up frijoles canyon. Why? Because I believe Leo would have followed Randy if he was not chained up. Which I have not read any comments suggesting he was. Ah the tells a dog could tell if they could speak.

      Thank you for posting the videos Cynthia

  1. Thanks to Cynthia and Sacha for being there for us and taking care of logistics.
    A big thanks to Cynthia for taking these videos and posting them. If I tried they would probably load in a couple days.
    Also it was great meeting all the other searchers.
    it is the canyon south of the raft. I guess 900 feet.
    Everyone, make sure you select the HD option and change resolution to 1080. These videos were taken at 4K.

  2. I haven’t been able to use a different Vimeo account to load the final video. I exceeded my weekly limit so will try to get the SD card to Sacha tomorrow.

    FYI, I was not on site when Dave took the drone videos but I got his card and used my Vimeo account to upload them for you all. So I can’t help with any questions. Sorry.

  3. Guys I have an instant concern about an image in the first video….at around the 5:30 mark…..


    Here is a zoomed in look of that video freeze frame of what “appears” to be a human body in dark colors with arms folded across the chest and possibly left leg folded under him (broken?), along with looks like a human head.

    It could be shadows and rocks, but I thought I would pass it along at least. Just trying to be of any help I can from Virginia.

    • NVM I looked at his footage about minute more and he saw it and zoomed in with different angles…and it looks like just shadows and a weird rock.

    • @Iron Will, “Here is a zoomed in look of that video freeze frame of what “appears” to be a human body in dark colors with arms folded across the chest and possibly left leg folded under him (broken?), along with looks like a human head.”

      Alas, it looks nothing like a human to me. Looks like a rock and snow over dirt to me.

      • yeah I figured that out just as soon as I saw 3:29 of the last video. I also deleted the photo from imgur so no idiots try to use it for false trolling.

        • Agree 100%, definitely not a body. I was amazed that David was able to even isolate it on Saturday now seeing what it looks like. Like you, I took screen pics from video 005, mine were at 4 min 26 sec. There’s a link below for anyone still in doubt. Great job of finding it and putting this issue to rest. Like everyone I am extremely disappointed and upset that it was a false lead. The images from that original drone footage were very compelling. I know I was instrumental in it being pursued, and I was emotionally upset and nearly sick when I realized the amount of effort that went into searching that spot Saturday. Thank you and Gob bless everyone involved. http://i68.tinypic.com/r7pua0.jpg

  4. Do I need to log in to Vimeo as this what appears: “Oh dear!

    This video can’t be played with your current setup.

    • Hello Debi. Someone may have a better answer than mine, but it could be the system is busy with so many others viewing the footages. This is an opinion, offered as a thought.

  5. Awesome video David. Were you using a Phantom 3 4k Pro or Advanced? It was amazing how stable the platform was when hovering.

      • I think you definitely have me sold. I fly RC planes and have been wanting to get a good quadcopter. I watched a video of a Phantom Pro like this fly out 3.2 miles, used “return home”, and then landed within 700 feet of where it took off. The only reason it didn’t make it all the way back is the battery ran down and it auto-landed short. His return path was against the wind. I will be saving for this one now.

        • I looked a long time. Almost bought a Yuneek 4k but glad I didn’t. The light bridge link is great for long distance fpv. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Could a telescopic lens be attached to the camera?
      In search areas like the ones depicted that would have been a bonus.

      • I don’t think they have a telephoto adapter. That would be useful.
        The only thing I have seen is filters for the camera lens.
        I can fly lower than my take off point. I just didn’t yesterday.

          • As far as I know the field of view is fixed at 94deg. You do have some video/photo setting adjustment on the iPad as you fly.

        • I was just thinking out loud. I know weight is a factor it flight time etc.
          By no means am I familiar with a drone’s capabilities. However I am impressed with what I have seen via the videos.

  6. Excellent high resolution for crowdsourced examinination. I can download the original 4K onto my 27 ” monitor, zoom in on minutia and/or send it over to my 46″ TV.
    Thank You, this is hugely appreciated by those of us who feel so helpless to help from a distance. I hope that we are able to help Randy’s family and loved ones to get past this horror.
    – Respect

  7. Thanks, Babylon, I transfered to my TV also.
    Is it possible to do a drone search at the rivers end at the lake? Search coast line and around ice edges?
    I feel, until the sun is positioned overhead in a few months, the shadows and snow lessen the accuracy of the search, especially in canyons/arroyos.
    I DO appreciate the efforts of all to allows us to help.
    Praying for closure. 🙁
    ¥Peace for Randy ¥

  8. DJI 005..3.37 mark ..middle left edge,lying ontop of the rocks what looks like a body. Cannot be snow because it’s in the sunlight..Maybe just my eyes playing tricks.. Check it out.

  9. Dal,
    You forgot to mention the picture I sent you is in the middle left edge of the clip. For those using an IPad,you can edit,zoom and turn the photo to see what I’m seeing.

  10. I’d like to hear from folks who have either been there, have a lot of outdoor experience, or are most familiar with the area about this question. Assume for a moment that Randy’s plan was to raft down the river with the treasure (I hardly understand that, but how else would he get a 40lb chest out?). Given the state of the raft, and what the conditions are, do you think he would have tried to search for the treasure, or quickly cancelled plans and tried to get to safety?

  11. Twistedankle and others, many of us have poured over all the photos, video and reports of Randys searchers. With utmost respect I tip my hat to all who have gone into the wild to find him. As we reflect on what we know, it seems apparent that he’s not in the immediate vicinity of the raft, as that has been picked over with a fine toothed comb. Being that that seems so, if he got further away, which way did he go? And if he is that far away, why was Leo found near the raft?

    The following is full of big ifs, as they say; a lot of speculating. If Randy stowed the raft for later floating down the river with the chest, that means he never made it to his “hidey spot”. Or he did, and the chest was not there. So, was his hidey spot on the East bank where the raft was found, or across the river in the valley of Frijoles? If it was across the river, then I think we have to assume it was his intention from the beginning of the trip that he was going to beach the raft on one side of the river and wade across to the other side fighting the “heavy loads” of hydraulic pressure.

    • Did he make it across? Well, there are human footprints and small dogprints going into and out of the Frijoles Valley. What we don’t know, is where were those prints found in relation to the raft? Were they near it on the opposite bank? What if Randy and Leo made the first crossing without incident and on the return trip is when Randy faltered and slipped under, never making it back to the raft area to initiate his exit plan?

      More and more, I am becoming convinced because of his not turning up amongst all the other overland exit possibilities that have been searched, that he slipped into the river. It makes the most sense to me that it was probably on the return trip when that happened.

      It is not my opinion that he couldn’t get to the West bank to search. I think he did get across and didn’t make it back. This explains why there were so few footprints and no signs of human activity on the sand bar where the raft was found. I’m just trrying to make sense of the clues left behind. Maybe I am way off base and he is alive and well in a cabin on the East Rim. There is always a glimmer of hope until proven otherwise.

      • I am coming around to thinking he is in the river also. Frijoles may have made sense to him even though it’s so hard to access now. I read that he told someone that it behind a falls (or something close to that). You know how we get fixated on our solves. I’m sure he was going for a falls still. He may have been excited to learn that there had been a trail to the falls from above before the 2011 flood. It might have been his “aha” moment. He wouldn’t know that it was always a difficult trail, so it would fit with FF’s statements. He rafts down, is cold, with damaged equipment. Decides to try and inflate raft and give it time (an hour?) to see if it holds air before continuing downriver, thinking otherwise he’d have to walk somehwere. I think if he’d felt critical danger at this point he would have left some kind of sign or signal. And, if he had a small can of dog food with him, he likely would have fed Leo before trying to walk out. So, while raft is being tested, he crosses the river to at least do first hand recon of Frijoles. Tries unsuccessfully to return across river. Leo gets back to raft. Leo would probably frantically run up and down the bank for as long as possible before returning to the raft area. Under htis scenario, if he’d made it back to raft, he either would have rafted down river, or decided to try to hike out. I really think Leo would have been found somewhere else if Randy had fallen etc. while carrying Leo.

    • I would like to hear everyone’s best theory on how or why was the paddle broken. Where is the other part of the paddle? Was it a clean break or was it dented? This just adds to the mystery. Could this be the key to solving this mystery?

      • Broken paddle/ripped raft scenario:

        Randy floats down, approached one of the several highbottom sand bars. Got stuck, bottom on sand and scooted forward to slide off bar, using paddle to push off. The scooting motion rips seam in raft. Using paddle to push, he applied too much weight on paddle and snapped handle.
        I agree with SWWOT, Randy and Leo examined the canyon, returned to river. Upon crossing, Randy lost footing, Leo continued across and lost sight of Randy. Leo stayed there, waiting. Made a nest to keep warm and (Which they found), and continued his vigil for Randy’s return.
        AGAIN, I reiterate the importance of taking Leo by chopper back to raft and watching his response when asked, “Where’s daddy? Find Randy!” If he keeps looking toward river, either Randy fell in water or went back across to further explore an area where he needed BOTH hands to climb and knew he couldn’t take or leave Leo in the rocks.

        So, he’s either in that canyon, or on down the river, poss snagged or near the lake.
        God bless his soul.

        • I thought that too, about the paddle I mean, however, wouldn’t the lower half have been missing not the upper half? Especially if he used it to push off the rocks.

      • Randy floated down to Frijoles, landed and did his search of the canyon and falls. After the search he crossed over to the east side and tipped the boat over either getting in or getting out, losing Leo and his gear to the river. Damaging the oar and the raft in the process. Cold and wet and possibly injured, he searched for Leo for too long and had to attempt his exit. He propped the boat up just right, in case Leo made it back, and started walking, or climbing, or wading.

      • Eaglesabound, I think Randy’s boat started taking on some water and he knew he had to get to shore to dump it but in the meantime he got unbalanced and his backpack or something of value went into the water. He landed the raft and went down river and into the river to retrieve his floating possessions. He used the upper portion of the paddle as a snag device. He retrieved his backpack and started back, lost his footing and went under when his waders filled and is still in the river. This is just theory.

  12. There is a specialized group out of Portland Oregon, Roswell Flight Test Crew, who have drones equipped with night flir cameras. A body can retain some temp even after expiration, just from sun’s heat and gasses. A body will show more heat than a solid rock.
    Snow expected so could lessen temp, but possibly a search of canyon with drones when a warmer day present could poss get results.
    Just a suggestion.
    (The handles of those paddles are alot flimsier than the paddle blade, since handle is two parts. Blades are made to be pliable, handles aren’t. When metal rod is cold, becomes brittle at connection, breaking with plied pressure.)

    • Too bad drone can’t get lower, I realize it needs the height to cover more ground.
      Thanks for all the hard work!

  13. Thoughts about the oar. My reasoning for the following is if Randy broke the paddle while beaching the raft. Where is the handle?
    The location of the paddle end of the oar is suggestive of it being broken after beaching the raft. Could Randy have broken it to use as a walking stick or a lever? Seems to me it would have been too short for a walking stick? A lever seems to be the best option due to the length of the oar handle. Theory; Randy broke the oar to use as a lever to move some rocks.
    This may have caused a landslide which may have buried Randy to some degree. The injuries to Leo’s paws is suggestive of digging esp if the injuries are to the front paws. ( need info on the injuries )

    Late last night while I was researching the frijoles area I did note another anomaly. In 1996 There was a fire in the Bandelier Monument area. Reading on I noted that there is a fire tower along the rim of frijoles canyon. I could not help wondering if it is manned at this time of the year??? Weather forecast for the Santa Fe area is saying it is going to get up around the 40’s Might be a good ideal to get permission to enter the tower and scan the skies for circling birds. For those that spend a lot of time outdoors you understand my reasoning for this suggestion

    • If you are correct it’s likely Randy’s blood would have been found on the dog, Was any blood noted on Leo?

      • Not necessarily, picture this: Randy finds a possible hidey spot. It’s under a rock at the foot of a canyon. The rocks above it look fairly stable. Randy starts prying the rock. Suddenly it moves, and the rocks above it breaks loose. One may have hit a leg and broken it, or several could have buried him up to the waist. There is other possibilities for the missing oar handle. At any rate I just have this gut feeling Randy had it with him. Considering a post I had just read, he may have tried to use it to roll a log over.
        So many questions run through my mind with so few answers.

    • Chad, The fire tower was not manned last Thursday…I went up the steps to take pictures of the mesa top on the south side of Frijoles Canyon to get an idea of the terrain Roger and I would be walking over the next day. The fire tower was locked.

      From what I heard, Leo’s paw barely had a scratch when they found him…not indicative of walking through a lot of cacti, or extensive digging, or a long walk over the rough, rocky terrain. But I don’t know if a dog’s foot can heal over just a few days, so maybe it was worse previously than it was when they found him.

      • Ok, that eliminates a rock slide to a point. With what I have gathered so far.
        No footprints or sign of Randy on the eastern mesa or going back into frijoles canyon. leads me to think Randy may have slipped in the river and ended up downstream. Question is: Was he able to make it back to the shoreline and survive hypothermia for a short period of time? Looking over another google map. That is a lot of ground to cover. So much of this does not make sense. Might as well stick a pin in a map with a string and pencil and draw a circle representing a ten mile circle. My lord how this pains me. Although I have never had the pleasure of meeting Randy or any of the fine folks here in this blog I feel a certain kinship to each and everyone. Explorers, adventurers, nature lovers and dreamers all sharing a common interest. My hope is that those new to the chase go prepared and understand the inherent risks involved in a search.
        Keeping in mind that a 79 or 80 year old man hid the chest. In other words he did not hide it someplace dangerous.

        Thank you so much Cynthia you for all of your efforts

    • A rock slide covering Randy, caused by using the oar to move rocks, wouldn’t account for the oar being placed in the position it was found. It was neatly placed next to the other oar by the raft. My impression is that at 200 lb. he was caught on some sand further upstream and was pushing himself and the raft out into the river when the handle broke off.

      The wider shots of the raft have been interesting. Clearly he placed the raft here, behind the big rock, to at least partially conceal it from boaters coming down the river. That wasn’t apparent in the initial photos that came out. I don’t know what any of that means, but here are the facts: He didn’t deflate the raft and pack it away. He partially concealed it. He may have planned to use it again in (what he thought) was the near future. It may actually be that his exit plan was to continue downstream.

      • Jeremy, your reply begs the question: Where is the handle?
        Let’s say he did break it on a sand bar. Apparently he took time to retrieve the paddle end. Unless he inverted it and used the paddle end for a grip point which would mean that the handle is someplace along the river??? This raises some doubt in my mind because the paddle end would allow for a better grab into a sandbar. Another possibility has crossed my mind. Could Randy have used the paddle as a walking stick, slips and falls. The sudden stress in the paddle snaps it like a twig. This leads us back to the question: Where is the handle??

        • Actually, I think “handle” is a stretch. There’s no grip on the end.


          I think what we’re really talking about is a length of the pole. I’d like to see that break point, to be honest. The zoomed in photos of the raft and oars looked like it was a relatively clean break. I’d like to look at that break point and see if it looks accidental (like I described) or if Randy broke it to use the piece for something (like you described).

          It’s frustrating to live far away and not be able to examine the evidence in person.

          • I tend to believe it was broken, looking at the pictures on: https://dalneitzel.com/2016/01/17/search-update_01/

            Those oars are collapsible. Just twist the black plastic and the handle will slide into the paddle shaft. It can be taken apart by twisting the plastic in the opposite direction. The poles are made of hollow aluminum. Yes it is very frustrating sitting here and not being able to observe things first hand.

          • My apologies, Chad. Looks like I was typing as you were posting. We both have similar thoughts to the paddle handle being able to slip in or out of place. So many possibilities to where the handle may be…tossed ashore by Randy as he continued down river; floated down the river once separated/broke; he carried or used it after the raft was placed, etc.. If he injured his leg, could he climb out after seeing the photos and videos? Or walk the shoreline only? If injured, crossing the river would be too dangerous. I believe the shores have been searched from the lake to his vehicle with no signs. This is an opinion, offered as a thought.

          • John brown, noted. I was unaware that Chase Chat had improved their site.
            Bookmarked for future reference. Please forgive me. atm I have many fish frying in my personal life. Namely a deal for a house near the mojave desert. My ole bones can no longer take mi winters. So I have been dividing my attention to preparing for the trip west and thinking about the repairs that I will need to do once I get there. So if at times I seem incoherent, it is because my mind has taken a short vacation. 🙂

      • Hello Jeremy. Didn’t take a good look at the paddle in question. While looking at the photo you attached, would it be possible that the paddle actually may have loosened at the black lock ring where one twists to tighten in place and slipped out of place? One could say it’s broken because the upper piece is missing, but did it truly snap or break? Besides a splint, could the piece be used for anything else? Some kind of survival piece?

        • I can not say if it had been taken apart due to the inability to zoom in with any real clarity. Perhaps someone that seen it up close could comment on it?
          As a splint it would not be my first choice seeing there is plenty of bushes in the area that might offer a better fit. And there is nothing supporting that ideal. I.E torn shirt etc. Now I am going to guess at the dimensions of the pole in question.

          It is larger than a silver dollar in dia. So ummm say 2 inches from side to side?
          And around 24+ inches long?? what we do know is that it is a aluminum tube closed at one end. Not my first choice for a club to fend off a wild animal. But in a pinch it would have to do. It could be used to make noise to scare off a animal.
          it would not make a good digging tool. For some reason I am having the phrase: there will be no paddle up your creek… run through my head. Ideals?

          • Hello Chad. I wish I did. I’ve felt he either climbed up and headed East, possibly toward Montoso Peak, or somehow the river was unforgiving. The tear in the raft makes me believe he didn’t return to the river, but climbed up. This is an opinion, offered as a thought.

          • I seen a photo of the tear in the rafts bottom, it did not appear to be very big.
            If randy had the repair kit that comes with most rafts it would have been an easy fix. My thoughts are he tore the raft beaching it. I have yet to see any supporting evidence of Randy going up to the mesa on the east side. Other than the roads going north and the pueblito tank. The roads do fit a escape scenario. The pueblito tank does not fit into a search for the chest in my mind.
            If Randy would have gone up to the east wouldn’t Leo have followed? I think he would have unless Randy had to hop some boulders. Clearly randy had scouted the area before settling on a search plan. Keeping in mind the poem and looking at a google map supports a search of frijoles canyon area. As I sit here thinking about the poem the phrase ” put in below the home of brown ” Could Randy have taken this to mean; Search below the ruins in or near frijoles canyon?
            Frijoles canyon has so many elements in common with the poem that I can not ignore it. I am sorry I keep beating this drum. I was wondering if anyone was able to find out if there was a cell phone ping record and where the last known ping was located at. What do they call it.. Umm triangulation of a radio signal.
            Would pinpoint his last known location to within a few yards. more to come

          • Would he continue with the poem, knowing he had a tear in his raft? It would seem he found himself in a predicament and would need to concentrate on that, rather than his solve. Let’s say he did continue with the solve, and “found” the treasure, what then? How did he intend to bring a 42 pound box back to his vehicle a little over 9 miles away? I believe he would feel his raft was no longer usable. It was the early part of January, evening would fall soon, even sooner with the overcast skies and being in the canyon. If he had a patch kit with him, wouldn’t he have fixed the raft before continuing? Maybe he tried and it didn’t work. Once more, finding himself in a predicament. I believe the matter of a ping was discussed somewhere on the blog…don’t recall where…perhaps by PM and/or others? This is an opinion, offered as a thought.

          • Ummm I’ll take door number 2. Say he found the chest. the raft being possibly a two man type capable of caring say 400lbs he weighs 200lbs, Leo about 5 lbs.
            Even with the hole I seen in the rafts bottom on Chase Chats site the raft was still capable of carrying them up stream. It is possible that Randy did not take the repair kit.. I ask about the ping thing in another post here and forgot to subscribe to that chat.. My bad. If someone could just put their hands on some concrete information concerning Randy’s last known location. we have a few bread crumbs. What we need is to find the trail of them. As I read some of the posting on Chase Chat there was an opinion posted that depicted a spot on top of a mesa just north of frijoles canyon. I do not know if this was one of Randy’s scouting points or not. Ummm an ideal just hit me. Could we gather the photos Randy took and create a timeline from them????

            I hate to ask this because you have done so much Forrest. But seeing you seem to have the best connections to people involved in the search for Randy.
            Could you please try to get the photo that Randy took while on his search?
            Who received it and when. These may lead us to his last known area.

            Thank you in advance

        • The drop box link isn’t working now, but the photo I saw of the oar was a high resolution one you could zoom in on. It was posted by PM. Intact was the paddle piece and the lower part of the pole. The black piece was intact. There was a small piece of pole extending from the black part that appeared “broken” at the end.

          You can see the small piece of upper pole in the lower resolution of the image of Erin, Leo and the raft, but the higher resolution image showed greater detail.

          This piece of upper pole was slightly pinched (but only slightly) above the black piece, and had a clean-ish edge.

          I really don’t know enough about the oar to say if that means anything. If the oar is telescopic (extends) more of the upper pole may be inside of the lower pole. If the two pole pieces attach at the black joint piece, IMO it’s a weird place to break cleanly and without further pinching. Weird just because I would expect there to be a more of a pinch bending to break it. This may also be the point of greatest pressure, being near the joint, but sitting at home thousands of miles away I would have expected a break at the joint instead of slightly above. To me, it’s weird. It’s an engineering/physics question.

          But it probably was actually broken, and the reason why is because if it does detach at the black joint, and he wanted to intentionally use the upper pole for something, why not just detach it at the joint? Because it wasn’t detached there, intentionally, that says accidentally.

          As an armchair “investigator” I’ll throw out two reasons why the upper pole wasn’t used for a splint as well. It wasn’t used for a leg sprint because the other oar, the intact one, wasn’t used as a crutch. That seems like a natural thing to use. It probably wasn’t used for an arm splint, either, because the oars were neatly stacked. In an emergency situation you probably wouldn’t tidy up after yourself.

          Beyond that, I know nothing.

          • I would further add, the entire arrangement of the raft (neat, and partially obscured behind the big rock) strongly suggests that Randy didn’t consider himself to be in an emergency situation when it was placed there.

          • Oh, and that it was obscured behind the big rock, rather than deflated fully and stuffed away to hide it, also strongly suggest an intention to use it further in the near future. That’s not nothing.

            So what you have (strong inferences from available evidence) is:

            * Randy did not consider himself to be in an emergency situation.

            * Randy planned to use the raft further in the near future.

          • I agree, Randy did not consider himself in peril. So what ever happened did so after the raft was placed in it’s resting spot.

            In summary we have:
            A beached raft with a small hole in the outside liner of the bottom.
            Raft placed neatly next to a boulder.
            A broken oar with the handle missing. Both oars laying neatly next to the raft.
            Leo bedded down near the raft.

            Little to no sign of what direction Randy may have headed in other than a map
            Which could be related to search areas or observation points.
            And questionable footprints in frijole canyon.
            Randy took selfies in various areas, suggesting a possible timeline to trace.
            Miscellaneous items found in various areas i.e. canvas gardening gloves, a pen.
            None of which can be directly linked to Randy.
            A river that can be a challenge to wade across but can be done.

          • One possibility is that he used the other half of the broken oar to help with crossing the river before losing balance and potentially taking on water into waders. In that case the other portion of the oar may be downriver.

          • I mean, we can follow this out further. It makes complete sense where he should be. Except that he’s not there.

            To recap, the arrangement of the raft — tidy, partially obscured behind the big rock, partially inflated — strongly suggests that Randy planned to use the raft further in the near future.

            This means he had no interest in going up the East rim. So that’s one direction out. If his intention was to go up there, and stay up there, he would have deflated the raft and hid it or packed it.

            The flat area above the raft, before the cliffs, seems like a place to explore looking for a treasure. It might match his interpretation of the poem (modified after a bust in Frijoles). It’s difficult to get to but not by raft. Could have been overlooked over the past six years. I can see Randy intending to explore that area. His raft is there. His dog is there. Randy should be there. Except that he isn’t.

            This leaves West or downstream. I’m not sold on theories where he planned to cross the river, on foot or by raft. It seems much easier to have landed on the west side in the first place. However, while thinking about the big rock, I did think of one scenario why he might have parked the raft on the east side intending to cross the river and go west. The big rock might not have been to obscure the raft from people coming down the river, it may have been placed there to hide it from rangers on the west side of the river. It seems, to me, to be an unnecessary thing to do, but maybe it wasn’t to Randy. Again, he planned to use the raft again (else it would be hid or packed), but he might have intended to cross west and then return to the east. That scenario fits the evidence (even though it isn’t the simplest explanation). Under this scenario, Randy should be on the west side in Frijoles Canyon. Except that he isn’t.

            I’m sorry to say, there’s really only one direction left, and it’s without the raft he left inflated for that very use.

          • Jeremy, I’ve followed you here and on other threads. Your logical deductions are always solid. But what gets me is the empathy in your words/phrases of explanation.

            Sadly, I agree with you:
            “I’m sorry to say, there’s really only one direction left, and it’s without the raft he left inflated for that very use. “

  14. I was examining the photos of the raft and particularly the underside and then something was odd. The raft was found flipped over. But, underneath, there is dirt on the raft. Not just dirt from water seeping in from the tear or holes, but dirt on the inside side areas and residue on the bottom of the raft from where water and mud pooled. It looks more like the raft was flipped. What do you think?

    • Hello Rose. There’s always the possibility it could be that. I wonder if it was due to Randy’s entrance into the raft at the “put in” spot; perhaps sitting cross-legged? He would have had muddy/dirty footwear. Possibly the rapids he may have traveled splashed over the sides and left it in this condition once dried? You’ve got a good eye, Rose.

  15. Regarding the collapsible oars and Sevylor raft : this is a flimsy set up. Look at the reviews on Amazon. Many of the rafts leaked air when new, ripped easily. Oars lasted “one and one half” river trips. Collapsible oars are weak when fully extended. If placed in the oarlock, the black plastic ring sits just above the oarlock. If a normal rowing motion is applied, the upper tube will fold and break at the weakest spot, just above the black plastic ring.
    Randy may have tossed the broken tube, thinking it a puncture hazard, or used it for a short climbing stick – – it would possibly work if climbing uphill in steep terrain.

  16. I have posted this above,but no one seems to be listening. The wallpaper on DJI0005 tells it all,in my opinion of course.
    If you look really close to your left center of this clip of the video,there is something there. Zoom in and see above the tree,on the rocks. It cannot be snow or it would have melted,seeing as it is not in the shadows and no where else on the rocks are snow except in the shadows. I sent a picture to Dal and Sasha and haven’t seen any comment back except for Dal.
    I just want to see what that rest of you think and know if someone is planning on checking this out..Cynthia ,Sasha,Roger anyone?

        • Onaut, I see a black figure, but it looks all black. Can’t tell any detail. But, I can see what you found.

          • Onuat and others: as one who feels very responsible for all that hard work on Saturday after I pushed so hard on the image that CursingMouse first discovered, I will try to help here. This should link to a screen shot for you from vid dji0005 at 3 min 37 sec, it’s only the left portion of the screen. I circled the only thing I think might be what you refer to, I also put a grid on the picture so if its somewhere else, Onuat can indicate where it is easier. Trying to help and spare pain.

          • Hello twistedankle. I zoomed in at 300% and all I could see was the dark shadow from the rocks and the white/gray circled area was snow. Perhaps others will see it differently.

          • pdDenver, I don’t see anything significant, was just trying to help get that posted for “onuat”.

    • onuat, I looked at 3:37 in the clip when you first posted, but I couldn’t make out anything. Can you upload a picture with the “body” circled?

      • I wish I could Melanie..I just don’t know how. That’s why I sent it to Dal and Sasha.. If only you could see the picture.

        • Dal can you please share the photo here so everyone can see. I still haven’t figured how.. I need IPad for dummies..:) 🙂

          • I think I see what you are trying to point out. About an inch from left side of screen center just above the smaller end of the boulder pile. What I see there is a brownish rock casting a small shadow.

          • Chad it’s not a shadow I’m looking at its in the open right above the tree below. On the rocks in the open. It’s so small in the video. I did screen shots of the video,zoomed in and rotated it to see…Dawn Flickr account..having problems..

          • If this were not so important, well… help me to see what you are seeing – it is at 3 minutes & 37 seconds from the beginning (0:00) of video ending in 005 correct? It is about half way down the left side of the frame. Correct? Then, it is about 1/5 of the frame toward the right. Correct?
            Did we ascertain that no one can capture the frame and put a circle around it using preview?
            I have gone over this area and do not see anything resembling a human shape – but I could be wrong and too much is at stake.

    • I am sorry I do not see what you are trying to show us.
      So I await a link or upload of an expanded view of the area.

      Thanks for your efforts

        • I think I see where he’s looking. I see a beige rock just above a tree in half shadow. Instead of a tree, you can see it as a head and torso. Before starting the video above, follow the right edge of Cynthia’s picture straight down to just above the middle, to the left of the trees. Trace your finger up from bottom, the left side of the white box (with 09:21 inside). Your finger will rest just below the “figure”. If you look closer, you will see the dark part is a tree in half shade.
          Hey, previously I clearly saw the “blue” thing, and now I won’t be fooled again!

          • Timecode is your friend. So is it 3:27 or 9:21? The difference is like I speak Venusian and you are from Uranus. Are you all saying there is a human figure in the frame before you even start playing it? Either way – I never hoped I was wrong so bad… I do not see anything at “”9:21″” or 3:27. Maybe someone else can do this.

        • Thanks twisted ankle – above and beyond – I downloaded the original 4K video to my IMac, 27 ” screen, zoomed in 400% on what I think he was talking about. I see snow in the shadow of a rock. No human form. But thank you.
          Perhaps onuat might look at your clipping and count off the grids to better describe where “it” is?
          Thanks Again

          • Thanks, I scribbled numbers and letters for each column and row, so that should help onuat and anyone else trying to discuss this pic. I don’t see what it is yet though.

          • Thankyou Twistedankle.and everyone. Sorry I couldn’t reply sooner. Some of us do work late hours,you know. 🙂
            What I’m talking about is not in the red circle but to the immediate left of it..On top of the rocks,in no shadow above the tree below. Move a little to your left. If y,all cannot see what I see then maybe I’m wrong.I actually zoomed in closer and rotated it a little and edited the color.
            Imagine this ..someone falls off a cliff or takes a steep stumble on to some rocks.would that person look the same before he fell or would that person look all distorted after the fall,all twisted with broken limbs .
            Dal thinks it might be snow,maybe he is right. If you all can’t see the same then maybe I’m just imaging things.
            If l can figure out how to post my picture here,I will. Thankyou all again.

          • onuat –

            Now I see what you are looking at – after blowing it up – I think it is snow on rocks – but I might be wrong – thanks for posting it.

  17. Forgive me for loosing my mind for a few minutes. I need to loose some of my stress. What i am about to post is not meant to diminish the importance of finding Randy or as an insult to all who have searched for Randy. It is purely meant as tongue in cheek.

    What if?

    Randy wanders to close to Los Alamos labs, setting off alarms. The MIB hit the choppers. Troops repel on ropes to surround Randy. They arrest him and take him back to a holding room within Los Alamos compound for questioning.
    While the MIB investigate Randy’s background. Agent X wants to know if Randy had seen something he should have not seen. The saga continues…
    Randy has fallen into the black hole of government secrecy.


    Randy is exploring a mesa top, looking up he sees a glow in the sky coming toward him. it is not the sun because he can see his shadow off and to his left on the ground. The object hovers overhead not making a sound. A bright light engulfs him and poof. He finds himself the guest of aliens. Through telepathic communications Randy is informed that the aliens are visitors from a far away galaxy. The aliens are curious and want to know if all humans are like the ones at roswell. Yes roswell, the recently converted alien research center turned intergalactic visitor center. Randy feels his head spin for a moment as the aliens
    scan his mind. watching them carefully Randy notes that the aliens facing each other gesturing. Once again the soft touch of telepathic messaging caress his mind. It is decided, Would you like to come with us to our home world for cultural exchange? Randy realizes this will be his greatest adventure and agrees.

    I hope some find this release of imagination entertaining.

    • Chad, You need to write a fiction book! I like #1 expand and publish changing names of course. It sure seems like Randy disappeared into the abyss.

      • Thank you, I am glad you liked it.
        I have thought about writing sci fi. The biggest problem I have is writer’s block.
        I have something in the works but using Ywriter has not fit my needs for organization. So my book is on hold until I get a few projects done.
        Until I get something solid on paper I will not reveal my pen name.

        Again thank you.

    • It’s funny, I actually thought the UFO abduction myself. Maybe watching too many X-Files.
      The Truth Is Out There.

      Also, maybe he actually found the treasure and is still sitting there reading FF’s biography in that teeny little lettering.

    • Second video, 7:30. Middle of the screen about 2/3rds down.
      The little U shape.
      Does that look man made?
      Maybe the start of a shelter?

      • I saw that shape. It is on satellite images probably prior to search. It does look like old man made structure. I don’t feel it is recent. Any other thoughts?

  18. I have never commented of FF related blogs. However, I am a big fan of TTOTC, an experienced hunter, outdoorsman and retired firefighter.

    After reading all of the posts here regarding the search, I offer the following theory.

    Randy appears to have seriously underestimated the time and effort his trip down the river and back would realistically take compared to his reported travel plans from Colorado and future activity schedule noted by close associates and/or family.

    I believe after his initial search, his focus would turn to getting back to his vehicle which was then a formidable nine miles up river. I noted mention of Rapids. Where are they upstream from the raft location? He may have attemtpted rowing upstream, exhausted himself on one or more Rapids, breaking the oar handle, grabbing in the water to retrieve the blade end while dropping the handle end in the water in his panic.

    Then, sweaty wet from exertion, the cold sets in and he drifts back down to where he beaches the raft and spends a miserable sleepless night under the raft contemplating his options. He may have concluded that the only way to get to his vehicle was to head up the river, wading where he needed to, with the remaining strength and food he had. At that point, he may have decided that he couldn’t save his own life if encumbered by his dog. So in very dire circumstances, he left his beloved dog (return rescue intended) and shouldered his backpack and started by wading across to the west side to head up River to his car. The dog could not follow. Others with experience on this blog have noted how absolutely treacherous this undertaking would be in ice cold water to a person with limited experience. Waders are not the same as wet suit and when filled with water, can be deadly. One mistake can be fatal. He may have drowned anytime during his attempt going upstream (settling on the bottom or drifting down to the lake). I am not convinced that SAR was able to search every square foot of the river between his car and the ice covered lake. It would be a monumental undertaking.

    I am very sorry that Randy appears to have encountered such devastating circumstances and admire the dedication and service rendered by all of those involved in the rescue/recovery effort.



    • Sadly this is a real possibility Dave. I live about 3 miles from the Detroit river. IN years past ice fishermen would fall through thin ice and vanish until late spring start of summer. At which time their bloated bodies would pop to the surface.
      I have done my best to avoid this line of thinking. However as so much time has past with very little to go on. I have to accept that something tragic has come to past.

      Personally I would rejoice to hear that Randy found the chest and has been laying low until he figures out what to do. Nothing would please more.
      Why? Because we would get a wonderful story of his success and know he is alive and well.

      I still remain hopeful that Randy is in the care of a local native and is being nursed back to health after a fall.

  19. If you look closely at Randy’s map, and admittedly it’s a low resolution map, the dashed line is NOT in a West to East canyon area. There are canyons North and South of the dashed line.
    Could the raft have been used to slide down the steep canyon wall? Someone posted that the raft was very scrapped up on the bottom, considering it only had a single 9 mile river trip (yes, the shallow and rapids would have scrapped the raft).
    Do we have any drone footage over the dashed line area, especially near the steep areas?

  20. If you look closer to both images posted on thirty acres possible cave 2 look to the right, looks like a bobcat /mtn , inside cave floor could be a bottle. Did searchers go into area? Looks like a zoomed image from DSLR. Who has original jpg image?
    Just a observation. Tks.

  21. So as silly as it may seem to some folks, every night as I fall asleep I say a prayer and ask Randy to help guide us to him. This morning around 3a as I drifted back to sleep, this is what popped into my semi-sleeping consciousness…from below, look up, such as under an overhang. Then I got sand and/or metal. Then I got something about not leaving his dog. Not sure if any of this means anything, but maybe it might.

    • Hopefully you get a little more to go on. But it makes some sense that Randy may have been climbing up to a ledge. ( Thinking along the lines ) ” Look quickly down your quest to cease. ” Which could explain the x’s on his map of the area. Possible viewpoints from above to verify the location of a ledge and path to it???

  22. And one more thing I just remembered! The number 9. Not sure what if anything it means. Hopefully it helps.

  23. The Denver Post reported that a blue backpack was found near a waterfall in Bandolier. Any more details on that?

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