Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UPDATE: CURIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF PARIS WALLACE

Sad news out of New Mexico today, as authorities report that a body was found downstream from the location of missing Grand Junction man Paris Wallace's vehicle.  From The Denver Post:
 
Medical investigators have yet to identify the body, but all the evidence so far indicates it is that of missing pastor Paris Wallace of Grand Junction, New Mexico State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said.
 
Identity has not been confirmed, we will await further confirmation before speculating any further. Prayers for the family of Paris Wallace.
 
 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

THE CURIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF PARIS WALLACE...AND RANDY BILYEU

 
 
A Grand Junction, Colorado man who went missing earlier this week may be the second known person to die while searching for buried treasure in northern New Mexico in the last couple of years.

Paris Wallace, a pastor at Connections Church in Grand Junction was first reported missing by his family on Wednesday June 14.  As reported by KJCT-8 ABC News  and The Daily Sentinel

, Mr. Wallace was traveling alone in the vicinity of Espaniola, New Mexico for some meetings.  He failed to show up for an appointment on Wednesday. Police found some of his belongings at his hotel room in Espaniola but Wallace and his vehicle were not there.
 
"Family members reported that Wallace was hiking in the area but it’s unclear what he may have been doing when he went missing. He is driving a tan 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe with Colorado license plate FQS-377. He’s described as being a white/Filipino man who is about 5-feet 9-inches tall, weighing about 200 pounds, with chin-length hair and a clean-shaven face."

As the week unfolded, more information came to light. On Thursday, Wallace's vehicle was found along NM State Road 570, a few miles west and south of Ranchos de Taos.  Initially, KJCT-8 News reported that "Approximately 1.5 miles uphill from where Paris’ vehicle was found, NM Search and Rescue found a backpack belonging to Paris."
Area Map of Northern New Mexico.  Paris Wallace was hiking in the vicinity of the Rio Grande or Rio Pueblo rivers between Espaniola and Taos. (Image from Google EarthTM) 
 
 But a subsequent report from local authorities indicated that a receipt for a rope (as well as other items) was found in his vehicle and a short distance from the vehicle a rope was found across the Rio Pueblo river, a tributary of the Rio Grande. The backpack was reportedly found in the river some distance downstream from the rope, leading one to speculate that Wallace may have been trying to cross the river, swollen by late spring run-off, and somehow got swept into the current.  Search continues downstream from the site and into the Rio Grande.
 
Paris Wallace's vehicle was found along the stretch of the Rio Pueblo river between Ranchos de Taos and the state road 567 Taos Junction bridge across the Rio Grande, (Image from Google EarthTM)
 
 
DEADLY HIDDEN TREASURE
It turns out that Mr. Wallace was not merely hiking in the area.  Authorities have also reported that they were informed by family members that Mr. Wallace was in the Espaniola area to search for hidden treasure.  In particular he was interested in a purported stash of gold and jewels valued at between one and two million dollars. 
 
This article from Vox provides some background on the story of Forrest Fenn.  Mr. Fenn, now in his late-80s is a well-known Santa Fe artifacts dealer and author.  Stricken with cancer in 1988 he allegedly packed a small ornate chest with gold, jewels, ancient jade carvings and diamonds, intending to take it into the mountains and die beside it.  But his cancer was successfully treated and he held onto the treasure until...
 
"...two decades later, around 2010, an aging Fenn decided it was time to cement his legacy: He left his home, drove somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and hid the chest. In a subsequent memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, he revealed the treasure to the public and offered a 24-line poem containing nine ambiguous clues leading to its precise location."

 
 
NOT THE FIRST??
If Paris Wallace is found to have died while searching for Fenn's treasure, he would not be the first. In 2016, another Colorado man, 54-year-old Randy Bilyeu, died along the Rio Grande River west of Santa Fe while searching for Fenn's treasure via raft as reported in The Guardian last year
 
"Family and friends say Bilyeu bought a raft and set out on 5 January after scouting for two weeks along the river west of Santa Fe. He had a GPS device, a wetsuit and waders. He brought along his little white dog, Leo.  More than a week passed before a worried friend reached out to his ex-wife in Florida, Linda Bilyeu, who filed a missing person’s report on 14 January. His raft and dog were found the next day."
 

R.I.P.
Randy Bilyeu
2016
 
 
 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

BREAKING NEWS REGARDING MIKE RUST

Thanks to commenter dean0 for giving me a heads up about a big break in the case of Mike Rust, missing from the northern part of the San Luis Valley since March 2009. 
 
Kirk Mitchell of the Denver Post reports online here on January 14, 2016, that Saguache County Sheriff's office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are looking into a set of human skeletal remains found about five miles east of Mike Rust's home near Saguache. 
 
"The discovery of a bicycle-sprocket belt buckle amidst human bones told family members of a mountain biking pioneer all they needed to know.
"We believe the remains of our brother have been found.  The belt buckle was very unique.  I've never seen another one like it," said Fountain Hills resident Karl Rust of bones he believes are those of his brother Michael Damian Rust."
 
 
This blog reviewed the early details of the Rust disappearance in July 2012 in a post entitled "Yet Another Missing Person in the San Luis Valley"
 
Mr. Rust went missing after apparently finding evidence of a fresh break-in at his home and phoning a friend that he was taking off after the culprits.  A vest with blood was found along with the broken handle of a hand gun Mike had obtained as a memento of his brother following his brother's death. The motorcycle Rust was believed to have been riding was later found about 20 miles east of his home, pushed off a cliff into a remote ravine.  Blood was found on the vest and also on the foot peg of the motorcycle.
 
Now, almost seven years later skeletal remains have been found in the sparsely populated area between U.S. Highway 285 and Colorado Highway 17 in the northern part of the San Luis Valley. A unique belt buckle identified by his brother as belonging to Mike was found along with the remains.  Confirmation of identity is pending, but all signs point to this being Mike's remains. 
 
We would like to offer our best wishes to the surviving friends and family of Mike Rust and hope that this new discovery leads to information that will answer the question of what happened to him seven years ago. 
 
Meanwhile, the curious disappearance of Jack Gordon remains unsolved with no new information.  Jack disappeared from his off-grid home near Fort Garland in October 2008, about six months before Mike disappeared.  Perhaps one day someone will stumble upon his remains and we will get our own answers.
 
R.I.P Michael Damian Rust

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

To Save Us All From Ruin- Sample Chapter

The following is an excerpt from my new book, a novel based loosely on my Dad's WWII diaries.  It is available on Amazon in paperback and for the Kindle, or from the Create Space e-store
 
 
 
CHAPTER 1- To Save Us All From Ruin
 
“My father had a Randall knife, my mother gave it to him.
When he went off to World War II to save us all from ruin.”
               -songwriter Guy Clark, The Randall Knife.
 
 
January 1942- The Muldoon family farm, NE Colorado
The sun rose on a clear and crisp eastern Colorado day in mid-January 1942.  As Seamus Muldoon leaned his tired head against the flank of yet another milk cow, his mind began to wander.  He stripped the teats rhythmically making the frothy white milk sing a tinny tune as it sprayed against the inside of the shiny milk pail.  Bessy (or was this one Flossy? Or Bossy? Seamus could never keep their names straight) munched placidly on the hay in front of her.  It occurred to Seamus that for the last month the cows had been setting up their early morning ruckus earlier and earlier each day.  The shortened days of winter seemed even shorter when the cows dragged you out of bed at “oh-dark-thirty”.  His father’s words echoed in his memory, every winter morning milking session since Seamus was knee high to a Guernsey his father had cracked the same tired joke.  “Hoo boy, it’s colder than a well digger’s ass, and twice as dark!”  Seamus usually thought to himself at those times, “Yeah, how would you know?” Seamus knew better than to give voice to those irreverent thoughts however.
Of course, the old man had not been joking much this past month.  His jawline had been set in an attitude of grim determination ever since early December when the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had come.  The entire family had huddled around the radio in the living room waiting for “a momentous address from the President” as the surprisingly chipper-sounding announcer had put it.  The president’s sonorous baritone voice intoned over the usual faint crackle of static.  “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

DANIEL BESSEY GUILTY OF DOUBLE MURDERS

On December 31, 2014 the Del Norte Prospector reported that the jury in the murder trial of Daniel Bessey has returned a verdict of guilty. Bessey faces as much as 232 years prison sentence.


It remains to be answered whether Bessey may have been involved in the brutal murder of Brenda Kay Shepard in Saguache in September 2008.  There has been speculation to that effect, but no charges were ever filed by Saguache County authorities.   

Another odd coincidence is the short time period between the murder of Shepard in late September 2008 and the disappearance/murder of Jack Gordon on October 2, 2008.  Is it possible that a man on the run for one crime inadvertently came into contact with Jack Gordon and panicked?   While we do not know of any connection between the two victims, perhaps there was a connection between the two suspects.  Did Daniel Bessey know John Busby (aka John Robert Fureigh)?  We just don't know.  These are avenues of investigation for the authorities to continue to probe.  

  As always anyone with knowledge regarding the murder of Brenda Kay Shepard or the disappearance/murder of Jack Gordon is encouraged to contact either the Saguache County Sheriff or Costilla County Sheriff.  Or leave a message for the blog administrator of this blog.


*   *   *   *   *
 
 
Rest In Peace
 
 
John Salazar
 
 
Sarah Janay Beasley