Dennis Martin ////// 238

15 comments

  • Jenny

    Jenny chicago

    I agree that it's likely that this could be an abduction. It's possible that maybe the abductor was walking with Dennis through the woods, leading him away, and people who may have witnessed this assumed this person was his parent and thought nothing of it.

    I agree that it's likely that this could be an abduction. It's possible that maybe the abductor was walking with Dennis through the woods, leading him away, and people who may have witnessed this assumed this person was his parent and thought nothing of it.

  • Sarah

    Sarah

    I live in Utah and tons of people go missing in the mountains and National Parks out here every single year (we had 324 of them last year, according to the Salt Lake Tribune). It's unfortunately very common. Some of them are never found even with today's technology, and some of those leave no trace behind them at all. The ones who are found are usually found MILES from where they went missing. It's so easy to get turned around out there and to lose your way. You can cover a lot of ground without realizing it. It's also easy for even highly trained searchers to miss something in the undergrowth. They can walk right past a body without even seeing it, especially when the body is of a small child. The fact that they didn't find anything even with an extensive search, and even with the Green Berets coming in, is not at all unusual. Especially considering it was 50 years ago and the search was so disorganized in the beginning. They didn't have the thermal detection software, night vision goggles, GPS, aerial navigation photos, moving maps, drones, and all of the other things that search and rescue teams use today. It's EXTREMELY likely that he got lost, either died of exposure or drowned in the river, and was just never found.

    I live in Utah and tons of people go missing in the mountains and National Parks out here every single year (we had 324 of them last year, according to the Salt Lake Tribune). It's unfortunately very common. Some of them are never found even with today's technology, and some of those leave no trace behind them at all. The ones who are found are usually found MILES from where they went missing. It's so easy to get turned around out there and to lose your way. You can cover a lot of ground without realizing it. It's also easy for even highly trained searchers to miss something in the undergrowth. They can walk right past a body without even seeing it, especially when the body is of a small child. The fact that they didn't find anything even with an extensive search, and even with the Green Berets coming in, is not at all unusual. Especially considering it was 50 years ago and the search was so disorganized in the beginning. They didn't have the thermal detection software, night vision goggles, GPS, aerial navigation photos, moving maps, drones, and all of the other things that search and rescue teams use today. It's EXTREMELY likely that he got lost, either died of exposure or drowned in the river, and was just never found.

  • Ward3

    Ward3 Somewhere in Canada

    It's an interesting story, but not unique by any means. Another of my fave podcasts "Somebody knows something" by the CBC had a season looking for 5 year old Adrien McNaughton who vanished in 1972 in similar circumstances in eastern Ontario Canada, where he was on a fishing trip with his family. After all of the talking, the interviewing and the like, I was left with the feeling that he probably drowned, and the lake bottom was just too stumpy and weedy to find him. They actually brought in cadaver dogs to the wilderness, and they found a place on the lake that interested them. Adrien McNaughton will probably never be found, but I can't help but feel that Dennis Martin met a similar end. Lots of rain, lots of water, lakes, the whole lot. I hope for peace for all these families, but IMO these are both tragic accidents.

    It's an interesting story, but not unique by any means. Another of my fave podcasts "Somebody knows something" by the CBC had a season looking for 5 year old Adrien McNaughton who vanished in 1972 in similar circumstances in eastern Ontario Canada, where he was on a fishing trip with his family. After all of the talking, the interviewing and the like, I was left with the feeling that he probably drowned, and the lake bottom was just too stumpy and weedy to find him. They actually brought in cadaver dogs to the wilderness, and they found a place on the lake that interested them. Adrien McNaughton will probably never be found, but I can't help but feel that Dennis Martin met a similar end. Lots of rain, lots of water, lakes, the whole lot.

    I hope for peace for all these families, but IMO these are both tragic accidents.

  • Camille

    Camille Battle Ground, WA

    I really enjoyed this episode... you should make more episodes about disappearances in the woods! Maybe a short series? I used to work in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York as a ranger and we had tons of people disappear like Dennis. Look into the story of Steven Thomas, it will really make you scratch your head.

    I really enjoyed this episode... you should make more episodes about disappearances in the woods! Maybe a short series? I used to work in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York as a ranger and we had tons of people disappear like Dennis. Look into the story of Steven Thomas, it will really make you scratch your head.

  • Megan

    Megan NC

    I've spent time in the Smokies and with the National Park Service. I have to say that if he did get turned around and either was attacked by an animal or expired and predated, there could easily be zero trace of the boy at the time of the search. Especially if he was alive and wandering while the search was happening. It's difficult terrain for most of the public if you get off the beaten path to this day, even with modern survey equipment and transportation. Finding remains after all this time would likely be impossible if not in water (large storm, draining/damming lakes could dislodge a body). Soil deposition and scavenging animal behavior would likely result in completely obscuring the remains. Taking off my forensic anthro hat, I have to say this sort of thing happens easily and it's just heartbreaking.

    I've spent time in the Smokies and with the National Park Service. I have to say that if he did get turned around and either was attacked by an animal or expired and predated, there could easily be zero trace of the boy at the time of the search. Especially if he was alive and wandering while the search was happening. It's difficult terrain for most of the public if you get off the beaten path to this day, even with modern survey equipment and transportation. Finding remains after all this time would likely be impossible if not in water (large storm, draining/damming lakes could dislodge a body). Soil deposition and scavenging animal behavior would likely result in completely obscuring the remains. Taking off my forensic anthro hat, I have to say this sort of thing happens easily and it's just heartbreaking.

  • Gigi

    Gigi Houston

    He wasn’t in the water. A body will float after a while (sorry). I think he was abducted because there was never a trace of him found. Sad.

    He wasn’t in the water. A body will float after a while (sorry). I think he was abducted because there was never a trace of him found. Sad.

  • Moose

    Moose Canada

    Another heartbreaking and puzzling case. Since he was supposed to be hiding nearby the adults to pop out and scare them makes it seem less likely to me that he wandered off and got lost. My sister and I used to do this to eachother all the time growing up and you would always be hiding somewhere just out of sight so that you can see or hear the other person and know when to pop out. On the same logic I also think that if an animal or person attacked him while he was hiding he would have been close enough that one of the others would have heard him scream. I think that he maybe ran into the wrong person who convinced him to wander far enough away from the group to abduct him.

    Another heartbreaking and puzzling case. Since he was supposed to be hiding nearby the adults to pop out and scare them makes it seem less likely to me that he wandered off and got lost. My sister and I used to do this to eachother all the time growing up and you would always be hiding somewhere just out of sight so that you can see or hear the other person and know when to pop out. On the same logic I also think that if an animal or person attacked him while he was hiding he would have been close enough that one of the others would have heard him scream. I think that he maybe ran into the wrong person who convinced him to wander far enough away from the group to abduct him.

  • Marty

    Marty Sioux Falls

    Listen to podcast "Sasquatch Chronicles"......you'll then have another theory for the many that go missing in National Parks.

    Listen to podcast "Sasquatch Chronicles"......you'll then have another theory for the many that go missing in National Parks.

  • Kristy

    Kristy Australia

    I believe he got lost the poor little thing! Once he was lost he was probably taken by an animal either near death or after death leaving no trace of him. From my experience with being a parent, I think the reason he didn’t reply when they were calling his name is because in his mind they were playing hide and seek and he was trying to not be found - this probably caused him to venture further into the woods trying find a better hiding spot whilst keeping quiet. My children have both done this exact thing, I can think of several times in fact. All in all, in my opinion, it’s just a totally heartbreaking tragic accident.

    I believe he got lost the poor little thing! Once he was lost he was probably taken by an animal either near death or after death leaving no trace of him. From my experience with being a parent, I think the reason he didn’t reply when they were calling his name is because in his mind they were playing hide and seek and he was trying to not be found - this probably caused him to venture further into the woods trying find a better hiding spot whilst keeping quiet. My children have both done this exact thing, I can think of several times in fact. All in all, in my opinion, it’s just a totally heartbreaking tragic accident.

  • John

    John Georgia

    I was fascinated by the Martin case. I have often hiked in that part of Tennessee/North Carolina, particularly in the area around Cade's Cove, Tremont, and Elkmont. In spite of all the time I have spent there, I'd never heard of the Martin case. For your listeners unfamiliar with that area of the country, it is densely covered in vegetation, and if you leave the trail you can easily become lost and disoriented. I cannot imagine a young child lost in that maze of green. At any rate, good job!

    I was fascinated by the Martin case. I have often hiked in that part of Tennessee/North Carolina, particularly in the area around Cade's Cove, Tremont, and Elkmont. In spite of all the time I have spent there, I'd never heard of the Martin case. For your listeners unfamiliar with that area of the country, it is densely covered in vegetation, and if you leave the trail you can easily become lost and disoriented. I cannot imagine a young child lost in that maze of green. At any rate, good job!

  • Ty

    Ty Jackson

    As a native Tennessean (7th generation), this has always been an interesting case to me. As with any crime, we have to take the given circumstances and try to find the explanation that fits them all best. Here's my attempt: there are two animals native to those mountains that could quietly and invisibly stalk little boys at play, waiting for one of them to be isolated, then could snatch a small child noiselessly and swiftly, and could quickly make off with him over a long distance, or to some such place, that recovering the child would be difficult or impossible, especially in the weather that set in immediately afterward. One is sometimes easy to track, the other is notoriously difficult. Dogs are seldom ever reluctant to go after the one, but almost always wary of the other, if not outright cowed by it, as some of the dogs in this case were reported to be, lying down on the trail and whining, refusing to go on. The two critters I mean are a man and a mountain lion, and in this case, my money is on the mountain lion. I know people say there were none in the GSMNP at the time, that they had been gone for 40 years, but I assure you that is a load of bull. Talk to any old timers who live in the area and they will tell you otherwise; they have never been completely gone, and they are highly migratory anyway. They recently found a specimen in Tennessee whose DNA showed it was born in the Dakotas. So, what happened to Dennis Martin? A cat got him; that's my theory.

    As a native Tennessean (7th generation), this has always been an interesting case to me. As with any crime, we have to take the given circumstances and try to find the explanation that fits them all best. Here's my attempt: there are two animals native to those mountains that could quietly and invisibly stalk little boys at play, waiting for one of them to be isolated, then could snatch a small child noiselessly and swiftly, and could quickly make off with him over a long distance, or to some such place, that recovering the child would be difficult or impossible, especially in the weather that set in immediately afterward. One is sometimes easy to track, the other is notoriously difficult. Dogs are seldom ever reluctant to go after the one, but almost always wary of the other, if not outright cowed by it, as some of the dogs in this case were reported to be, lying down on the trail and whining, refusing to go on. The two critters I mean are a man and a mountain lion, and in this case, my money is on the mountain lion. I know people say there were none in the GSMNP at the time, that they had been gone for 40 years, but I assure you that is a load of bull. Talk to any old timers who live in the area and they will tell you otherwise; they have never been completely gone, and they are highly migratory anyway. They recently found a specimen in Tennessee whose DNA showed it was born in the Dakotas. So, what happened to Dennis Martin? A cat got him; that's my theory.

  • mG

    mG tX

    I think the only explanation is going into a river or stream and then getting washed out into the lake. Obviously not a wild animal, there would be a blood trail and remains. I doubt an abductor, that just seems like paranoia and the active imagination of the true crime community. If those streams are running fast (and were because of rain), that body is going to be gorged and beaten to a pulp (filling up lungs and puncturing internal gasses. When it gets washed into a giant lake that tide takes it out, that body is gone forever.

    I think the only explanation is going into a river or stream and then getting washed out into the lake. Obviously not a wild animal, there would be a blood trail and remains. I doubt an abductor, that just seems like paranoia and the active imagination of the true crime community. If those streams are running fast (and were because of rain), that body is going to be gorged and beaten to a pulp (filling up lungs and puncturing internal gasses. When it gets washed into a giant lake that tide takes it out, that body is gone forever.

  • Mark J.

    Mark J.

    He may have went down towards the water as the shoe prints indicate and startled a large cat ( puma, mountain lion also known as a Panther in that area)at the waters edge and was attacked. Large cats are known to hide their prey in the treetops to keep it away from other predators. While searching everyone is so focused on the ground level that they never think to look up in the tree tops.

    He may have went down towards the water as the shoe prints indicate and startled a large cat ( puma, mountain lion also known as a Panther in that area)at the waters edge and was attacked. Large cats are known to hide their prey in the treetops to keep it away from other predators. While searching everyone is so focused on the ground level that they never think to look up in the tree tops.

  • Michelle

    Michelle Durham, NC

    I agree with Ty's mountain lion theory. I have been on the NC side of the Appalachian Trail from Mt. Pisgah all the way up to the TN line once when I was a teenager and we saw two mountain lions on a peak, thankfully quite a bit away from where our party was at the time. Even in bright daylight, the forest is tightly packed overhead in places the darkness can be almost complete, and the vegetation can grow hip high. Very easy to get lost if you go off the trail.

    I agree with Ty's mountain lion theory. I have been on the NC side of the Appalachian Trail from Mt. Pisgah all the way up to the TN line once when I was a teenager and we saw two mountain lions on a peak, thankfully quite a bit away from where our party was at the time. Even in bright daylight, the forest is tightly packed overhead in places the darkness can be almost complete, and the vegetation can grow hip high. Very easy to get lost if you go off the trail.

  • Beth

    Beth Missouri

    I agree with the mountain lion theory. They attack swiftly and kill their prey instantly. This little boy would not have had time to scream. These animals carry off their prey, possibly to a den to share with their cubs. They also cover their prey to mask their scent from other predators. And they do take prey up into trees. We lived in the Gatlinburg area and the GSMNP is huge. Cats devour prey, bones included.

    I agree with the mountain lion theory. They attack swiftly and kill their prey instantly. This little boy would not have had time to scream. These animals carry off their prey, possibly to a den to share with their cubs. They also cover their prey to mask their scent from other predators. And they do take prey up into trees. We lived in the Gatlinburg area and the GSMNP is huge. Cats devour prey, bones included.

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