Plans for Saturday…

January 28th, 2016

 BY SACHA

 

This Saturday (January 30th), we are planning to do another on the ground search for Randy.  The weather will turn on us next week, but this Saturday calls for sunny and clear skies, and warm temperatures.

We will meet at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, again.  I will be there by 8 am, and hope to get the group out by 9.  The address is: 100 Caja Del Rio Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507.

This time, we will focus on the area north and south of Diablo Canyon, close to the Rio Grande, but not focusing on the edge.  This is rough terrain, and is not your average gentle hike.  Aside from the muddy road in, it will require hiking miles of hills and canyons.

If you want to help, you can meet us there.  Bring your selves, drones, ATVs, and even your dogs, but be aware there is cactus everywhere.

Tomorrow, I will go to the San Idelfonso Pueblo, which owns most of the area we would like to search, and will make sure we have permission to access these areas.  If by some chance we don’t get permission, we can still search other areas in the Monteso Peak area, but these can be just as bad with the mud.

I will update everyone after I have spoken to someone in the tribe and have ensured we have access.

In addition to our search, I have heard there will be a crew rafting from Buckman to Cochiti, on Saturday.  The ice has been melting, and rumor has it that there is a clearing through there now.  Let’s wish them luck, and hope for them to have a safe trip.

Also, everyone wish Cynthia luck tomorrow.  I don’t envy her task, but I admire her heart for doing it.  And a big Thank You to Radcrad for promising to accompany her on her trip.  I think he is one of those stout-hearted men that Forrest once spoke of.  When she asked him to go with her, there wasn’t even a pause before he said yes.

Sacha-

 

 

 

Plans for Friday…

January 28th, 2016

 

NOTE FROM CYNTHIA TO FORREST AND SACHA

Sacha and Forrest
I just left the Bandelier visitor center. I talked to 2 rangers who showed me how to get to the west rim of white rock canyon and be on the south side of frijoles. I told them I wanted to be across from where the raft was found and take pictures using my zoom lens of the entire eastern side including shoreline and side of canyon up to the mesa top. I want to do this both north and south of the raft but more on north.

I just confirmed Roger Craddock. I will meet him in Santa Fe tomorrow morning at 0700 so we can be on foot by 08. The Rangers approved this for me and Roger only as a back-country hike tomorrow only.
The lady ranger said I’m talking about a 10 mile round trip hike from the visitor center. 😄
Cynthia-

 

NOTE FROM FORREST TO THE BLOG

Cynthia and Roger are like two over-charged Energizer bunnies. They are taking the search for Randy beyond what anyone could expect or hope for. If their back packs tomorrow are a little heavier it is because the respect and admiration of a thousand other searchers and well-wishers are going with them.

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Mesa top along south-side of Frijoles Canyon where Roger and I will hike to access West Rim of White Rock Canyon and then continue along mesa top south to raft.

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From White Rock Overlook, Buckman Road Put-in using normal vision

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Standing at same place but zoomed.

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I want to shoot a grid of photos on east side both north and south of Randy’s raft. I can zoom even more than this photo.

Missing Randy Facts Page…

FACTS

RANDY BILYEU DESCRIPTION AT TIME HE WENT MISSING (from Police Report)
Age: 54 years old
Hair: Grey
Eyes: Green
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 200lbs
Home: Thornton, Colorado

TIMELINE (2016)
January 2nd – Randy arrived in Santa Fe.
January 3rd – Checked out of the Motel 6.
Scouted the Rio Grande area from the east side Mesa
January 4th – Purchased the raft from Big 5 Sporting Goods in Santa Fe, NM.
January 5th – Randy’s SUV was spotted by a security guard at end of Beckman Rd.
35.835979, -106.160753
Google Map showing location of where Randy’s car was found:
CLICK HERE

It was on this day that his friend Tom began to call him assuming that he left on the 4th. Randy’s phone went directly to voicemail. There is no cell service in the canyon.
January 6th – 13th – Tom continued to call Randy’s phone
January 13th – Tom contacted Linda Bilyeu that evening
January 14th – 7am Linda Bilyeu filed a missing person’s report. SFPD found Randy’s SUV
January 15th – Santa Fe Police Department requested assistance from TriState Careflight to run their helicopter through the canyon and look for signs of Randy. Dog and raft were spotted from the air on east side of river at coordinates: 35°44’55.7″N 106°15’29.9″W. There were no signs of any human presence. There was no campfire, food wrappers, personal belongings other than the raft which was upside down and reported to have some sort of rip or tear, (possibly on bottom), foot pump and two paddles, (one slightly broken at telescopic connection). Dog was noted to be traumatized, survived frigid temperatures, wearing a sweater, lost significant amount of weight and had a raw paw. It took Erin Johnson (TriState Flight Nurse) approximately one half hour to get the dog to eat food (crushed granola bar). The pump was not connected to the boat when it was found. Raft was a good distance from rivers edge and appeared to have been placed there rather than to have blown there or washed there. The river distance from Randy’s car to where the raft and Leo were found is about 9.2 miles.

Google Map showing the location where raft and Leo were found:
CLICK HERE

ITEMS FOUND IN RANDY’S CAR
Hiking boots, jacket, wallet, maps, dog bed, dog toy, half eaten sandwich.
Map that appears to show where Randy was headed.
Receipt showing purchase of a raft, a compass and wetsuit.

ITEMS OWNED BY RANDY BUT NOT FOUND IN CAR
Waders
Blue day pack

OTHER INFORMATION
NM Search and Rescue reported a set of boot prints and dog prints were found going into Rito de los Frijoles and out again. These are assumed to be Randy’s and Leo’s.

Report From Forrest on Tuesday…

January 26th, 2016

by Forrest

 

Still aloft

We flew out of the Santa Fe airport again today. Three of us in the plane. Doug and I were the main eyes while Glenn held the camera in the back seat moving from side to side to get the shots he wanted. He was in awe of the geography, and he kept shaking his head.

We searched around the boat, and up and down the banks, and on the ridge, and in the fringe canyons, and the near-by mesas.

Cochiti Lake is half void of ice now, and we used a few minutes to look in the deep water,  I asked Doug to head back up river.

We took our time flying low up Frijoles canyon, looking hard at the sandy creek bed. No one could climb the sides of that canyon. The waterfall is one of the most compelling places I’ve seen. I kept thinking that beautiful place was trying to tell us something. But what? No buzzards, crows or ravens, no tracks in the sand, no sign of a fire being built, and no Randy Bilyeu.

We have thoroughly searched the places that looked most promising to me, and those that were suggested by searchers who are familiar with the area, or had good hunches.

Later, Sasha, Cindy and I discussed our next plan. After ten hours of searching that 15 mile area from 100’ up, we have exhausted all of the places where we think Randy could be, maybe it’s time to start searching the places where we think he isn’t. But where are they?

Inside Edition…

January 26th, 2016

by cynthia

 

I was almost relieved this morning when I received the email from Forrest that he’d canceled his helicopter ride and interview with Inside Edition…Santa Fe had received a couple inches of new snow, so searching for Randy with a news crew would have to wait. I went about my morning… time to complete some sorely needed chores.

As I pulled out of my driveway, my cell phone rang…it was Sacha excitedly telling me the interview would take place after all. It turns out Inside Edition had already sent their Houston correspondent to Santa Fe, as well as a team including the cameraman and sound guy. They even said they’d pay for the helicopter…

Forrest asked us to meet them at 11:30 am in the Jet Center at the airport. Not only does it take me an hour to drive there, I needed to shower, etc.
Sacha and I talked briefly while I hurried to get ready…I could make it there by 11:45, but she’d be a bit later since she too had changed her morning plans for child care.

As I pulled into the parking lot at the Jet Center, Forrest was walking from his car, and the Inside Edition folks were carrying their equipment inside. While they waited for the helicopter and pilot Doug, Jocelyn the Producer/Reporter unofficially interviewed Forrest from the waiting area. Glenn the cameraman and Zach the sound guy were busy preparing their equipment.

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Doug arrived right on schedule at noon…Glenn the cameraman grabbed the big TV camera and accessories and Zach grabbed his case with the sound equipment…the official TV interview began on the tarmac.

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Eventually, the ground interview finished and Forrest went up in the air with Glenn and Zach. I think Jocelyn stayed back because only 2 folks could fly with Forest and the pilot. By that time, Sacha had arrived and we began discussing the next move for creating another group ground search for Randy. The hour the guys were in the air flew by…before I was ready, they were walking through the door from the tarmac. I was busy most of that time downloading photos of Randy from the Sept book-signing at La Fonda, as well as some photos from our boots-on-the- ground group searches for Randy for Jocelyn to use for the show.

The next part of the interview took place at Forrest’s home in his office. Sacha and I were told to accompany them there…which we did.

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There’s a lot of hurry up and waiting when it comes to making a professional production, even when the footage of Forrest’s interview which airs could be just a few minutes. It took awhile for Glenn to place the lights and Zach to set the microphones. Again, Jocelyn spent time chit- chatting with Forrest and taking notes, while Sacha prompted her and sometimes Forrest for the right question or topic.

Eventually the equipment was satisfactorily placed, and it was time for everyone to take their seats. Sacha’s and my favorite part of the day was Glenn the cameraman applying makeup to Forrest…now we know why Forrest is such a handsome devil…he wears makeup!

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Finally, it was time to say lights, camera, action…But first, Zach the sound guy reminded us all to turn off our cell phones…these guys are professionals, and there can’t be any arbitrary sounds in the background. The interview started…it seemed to be going well. Soon, Glenn hollers “Cut”…there was a “ding”…oops, Forrest’s laptop dings each time he gets an email. Sacha jumped up, disconnected ff’s laptop from the power cord, and took it out of the room… the interview proceeded.

Five minutes later I realized I’m holding my laptop on my lap beneath my jacket and phone which I had powered off when told to silence it. I thought, oh my God, my laptop dings, too, if I get a message. I swallowed and prayed no one would text me. After a minute or so, I nonchalantly turned it off but for some reason decided I too should move it to another room. I knew to be exceedingly quiet because the shotgun microphone on the camera would pick up any little sound. I knew the camera was a closeup on Forrest and that I was out of camera shot. So I got up and silently tiptoed out of his office to the foyer where I set it down. As I re-entered the room, I heard Glenn yell “cut” once more…my body moving across the lights created a moving shadow on camera. Jeeze…this movie making stuff was a lot harder than I anticipated.

After 30 minutes or so, they said they had enough footage so I thought the interview was over. No, they wanted to tape Forrest behind his desk, reading and answering his emails. More preparation, new locations for the camera and microphone, more waiting. This time the filming was much shorter and no one was talking.

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In the meantime Peggy and Zoe returned home. I chit-chatted with them in the foyer while the Inside Edition folks moved here and there, gathering their equipment, putting some away and re-positioning others.

Again, I found the day was not over. They wanted Forrest to walk through the heavy double doors between his office and kitchen carrying his book Too Far to Walk. He was instructed to walk up the steps, go to the table, sit down, and open the book to the map of the four states inside the back flap.

While Forrest sat at his desk catching up on emails as they set-up, Peggy entered his office through the same heavy wooden double doors, carefully holding onto the railing as she descended the three steps into his office. He gently looked up at her and sweetly asked “do you want me for something?”…her sweet reply, “I always want you for something.” I swear, I wish I could have captured the look on his face…after 62 years of being married to Peggy, I think he is still smitten…I felt like I’d just witnessed a beautiful young girl tell her boyfriend for the first time that she loved him…it was the highlight of my day!

The next scene was finally shot of Forrest going up the steps into the kitchen and displaying the map. Finally…the Inside Edition interview was almost done. They requested Sacha provide a sound bite. I followed them outside, along the south side of his house to the pond…it was a beautiful setting. I watched as they placed the microphone on her lapel, brushed her hair, and got set. Her interview began…she was a pro. I mean, this girl needs to be a TV news anchor…I was truly impressed. Jocelyn asked her to elaborate on Randy’s fate. Sacha had the integrity to say it wasn’t appropriate for her to speculate. She talked nicely of Randy…it could have been any of us….she made me proud to be one of us…this close knit community of Fenn treasure hunters.

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This episode of Inside Edition is scheduled to air tomorrow. The network and time varies depending on where you live. Jocelyn said it’s scheduled to air on KOB-TV at 3:30 tomorrow afternoon. That is a New Mexico station. Please, everyone check your own TV times., and recheck this one here in NM as well.

I have a possible small warning: Sacha and I listened to the entire interview…there is a segment where I think Jocelyn asked Forrest three times if he feels responsible for Randy’s death. The third time she repeated this question, I formed my hand into a gun and pretended to aim at her because I was pissed off. But then I realized, this is her job…this is what she does for a living… Inside Edition tends to sensationalize the news they report. So go easy on her and the show…
And go give someone a hug…

Peace be with you, Randy…

Cynthia

 

This story is scheduled to air around the country on Thursday, January 28th. To find out what station near you and what time click here:
http://www.insideedition.com/listings

The video clip is now available on the Inside Edition website:
http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/14352-daughter-of-man-who-vanished-looking-for-buried-treasure-his-plan-bewildered-me

 

 

Drone Footage Links…

January 26th, 2016

 

Katya just posted the links to the drone footage. Please review.

https://vimeo.com/153130197

https://vimeo.com/153130176

https://vimeo.com/153130129

https://vimeo.com/153128514

https://vimeo.com/153125477

https://vimeo.com/153124182

https://vimeo.com/153124165

Photos From Jeff Burch on Tuesday…

January 26th, 2016

 

Jeff Burch and Titan went out to the search area to see if they could help. Jeff sent the following photos from the area where Randy and Leo put-in with their small raft.

We may have to wait for Jeff to return before we can get complete caption information.

If you click on a photo it will open up to the full size I received from Jeff.

Jeff sent this comment:

The photos were all taken from around Randy’s car where he put in, and down river from there. I can’t tell you how many steps but the dog and boot tracks were after the rough water and fast water rapids, down river from the launch. The pictures are from the banks, both below and up high after we crawled out on the end. Maybe searchers will find something in the photos.  Thanks JB and Titan

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You can see all of Jeff’s pics and read the whole story, where he posted them…Here

 

Report From Forrest on Monday…

January 25th, 2016

by Forrest

 

We searched for 2 ½ hours today and again I am not happy with the results. John Pearson was with me. We circled the boat where Leo was found, flying at 100’ for 30 minutes looking at the banks a thousand feet around. I think I can say that Randy is not there. Lots of trees, brush, and large rocks. We went up Frijoles Canyon all the way to civilization and back. Cochiti Lake has very thin ice. I am not as optimistic as I was a few days ago, but I just don’t feel like we should stop looking. The weather is good with almost no wind. I’m thinking about trying again tomorrow.

 

Below are a few pics from Cynthia as Forrest and John prepared for their search.

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Forrest and John at the airport previewing their search area prior to departure

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Thanks Cynthia

 

Plans for Monday…

January 23rd, 2016

 

Forrest is meeting up with John, Sacha and Cynthia at 11:30 tomorrow for a briefing with the helicopter pilot, Doug. Forrest and John and Doug will take off for the canyon at Noon…as always, weather permitting.

There is no organized search by foot scheduled for Monday, January 25th. Cynthia noted that apparently folks are showing up at the animal shelter every day but that was a one time meeting place and is not an everyday occurrence. Neither Sacha nor Cynthia are organizing a foot search for Monday.

We all await the analysis report from the drone operators and an opportunity to view their footage. But I do not know if that is coming on Monday. It is what Sacha reported last Friday…but plans do change.

 

After the Search on Friday…

January 22nd, 2016

by CYNTHIA

 

As I pulled into the Santa Fe Animal Shelter parking area this morning, I was astonished to see the number of vehicles awaiting my arrival. Despite the brisk 34 degree temperature, most of the folks were already milling around, introducing themselves. I immediately joined the gang and handed out a few packets of photos of Randy’s maps that I had printed for 3 teams. We discussed the plan for the day. We all would caravan in seven vehicles as close to Montoso Peak and the canyon edge as possible within the red circle on the maps. If any of the vehicles could no longer tolerate the muddy, slippery conditions, we would stop as a group and place those folks in the vehicles that could climb and grip the sloppy tracks to a spot close to the canyon edge.

We put John Brown in the lead because he knew the way to the mesa area we intended to go… he had been there previously with Gene, I believe. I followed in the FJ, Radcrad and Mike Hendrickson were next in line, followed by Katya and Billy who had organized three guys to help search using their drones (Tizz, Sam, and another). Eventually Tom G and Amber and her little dog June fell into line.

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One nice thing that Katya mentioned before we were under way was that Cid’s Market in Taos paid for a bag of groceries for us to make a nice lunch in the field. Kudos to Cid’s…really cool.

About the time we hit the asphalt, Katya received a call from her 3rd drone operator that he was running late but he’d catch up on the dirt road to Montoso Peak. If you don’t know the area, you’d likely get lost in a second. So anytime we came to a fork, Roger (Radcrad) tied an orange ribbon to a branch to mark the way.

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During one of the stops, some of the guys revisited the map of the area.

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I wish I had pictures of the “road” once we started the journey around Montoso Peak because I’m not sure I have the proper words to describe the drive…for me, it was basically terrifying… and I was the one driving the probably most capable vehicle for the conditions out there. The path twisted and turned and tilted between the juniper trees, all the while our tires slinging mud and snow. To make it even worse, there were sections of jagged rocks poking up here and there, as well as an area the guys referred to as “the steps”…large rocks that we crawled over and around going down a short section of steep grade…which I knew we had to climb up over on the return trip. The only saving factor for me was that there were no cliff edges on either side, so even if we’d slide off into a ditch and flip, we likely wouldn’t be killed. Sometimes the path through the trees was so tight the branches would sweep both sides of my car….one branch was large enough to knock my side mirror against the side…

John finally stopped ahead of me, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized he was parking…we had made it.

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After each person gathered their gear, we teamed up, traded cell phone numbers (yes we had a good signal), and Tizz handed out radios to each team. We agreed on the return time to the vehicles as 4:00 pm since we knew returning home would be difficult as well and we needed daylight.

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Amber from Texas and her dog June, Roger, and Mike Hendrickson.

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Billy blessing us and our surroundings before heading out. Drone operators Tizz, Sam, and ?…

Even though we were sort of close to the mesa edge, we still had quite a distance to the river. I teamed with John Brown and Roger…our destination was to sweep the gully along the hill in front of us as we made our way to the edge. Tom G and Amber headed to the edge farther south, and the drone team meandered where needed to find the best place to launch the drones. According to my GPS coordinates, we were exactly where I’d hoped we could go… within the red circle on Randy’s map.

You will see my day through pictures of John. Roger searched a bit away from us so I have few pictures of him or the other teams.

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John heading down the mesa hill into the gully.

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As I walked, I searched every nook and cranny along my route…

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Heading towards the rim…three searchers near center of photo.

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John ahead of me as we made our way down into the gully.

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I was above John about 6 feet when he said he saw “something”…”what” I anxiously asked. 
He described it as a place where branches and pine needles may have been placed on the ground. There was a small yellow spot in the snow where someone may have urinated and what looked like dog kibble scattered about. He picked up the kibble and told me to look at it…it was a stretch but we made the exchange. Excitedly, I examined it and said I thought it was rabbit scat, but I couldn’t be certain….I handed it back. He broke it in half and smelled it… confirming what I suspected. We discussed the yellow snow…even if it was human urine, it could have been from SAR…we left it alone.

John and I continued our hike and search for Randy down through the gully…we eventually got to an area that was too steep to continue, so we started a diagonal descent out of the gully and across the hill side. We wanted to get to the river… to the raft.

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I included a lot of pictures of the terrain, trying to capture the unfriendly ruggedness…there are no trails per se in the area we were at. There was a lot of scree…the loose stuff that causes people like me to fall on their butt and slide part way down…it worked, and I was happy to be wearing my heavy canvas pants.
I think John and I got about half way down the side of the hill to the raft area when we decided we just didn’t have enough time. Disappointed, we both agreed to be safe…we didn’t want the burden of time along with the uphill struggle when we had to climb back up the hillside to the vehicles.

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We ran into Katya and Billy taking a breather. Notice the steepness of the side of this hill. Tough hiking conditions, IMO.

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John and I continued a diagonal path up and saw the slab of rock in below photo. It would be our break stop. We each used binoculars…looking for Randy.

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The teams began streaming to the vehicles a bit early…the drone folks radioed to us that they’d be a bit behind schedule. We agreed we all leave together…we’d wait. No man left behind.

As we began the dreaded drive out of there, I noticed it was already 4:30. The progress was so slow due to the horrible road conditions that sometimes my speedometer barely moved off zero. It wasn’t long before twilight fell upon us…seeing all the ruts and jagged rocks became even more difficult. At the last stop while I waited for the others to catch up, I took the photo below… Despite all that mud, and snow, and ice, and rocky terrain, this was the view as we went home…an almost full moon over the mountains above Santa Fe…

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I’m sorry to say that none of us found clues to find Randy. The drone crews each took over an hour of videos which they will download and analyze over the next day or two. They filmed the entire side canyon just south of where the raft was found. They also filmed, I believe, the edges of the Rio Grande canyon as well.

We all said our good-byes at the SF Animal Shelter where a few of the cars awaited their owners. Forrest requested a small group go to his place and provide him with an update of the day’s activities. I was delighted he was so kind as to have a platter of snacks available for us… with 6 little cans of Dr. Pepper. I was famished and ate accordingly…

There is no organized group search planned for tomorrow. A few individuals are going to go out on their own. Katya and her crew will analyze their drone videos, and we will go from there.

I want to thank all you awesome people who helped search today…everyone used good judgment and stayed safe. We really worked as a team and made sure we didn’t leave anyone on the mountain or stuck in the mud. I’d also like to thank all those who post their ideas on Dal’s blog. Because of the maps that Stephanie made available, we had a good idea of where to go today. We realize this area had been searched by the professionals previously… I guess I just had to see it for myself.
God bless Randy and his family and all you wonderful folks in the search community…

Cynthia