"Approximately 1,600 people, and perhaps many more, have gone missing on public lands, according to sources cited in a fascinating new article from Outside Magazine. The piece prominently highlights two tragic Colorado cases covered in this space, involving Joe Keller and Dale Stehling. Regis University instructor Heidi Streetman also took part in the article, and she tells us that progress is being made toward her goal of creating a national database that could help solve such mysteries...
...The disappearance of Keller, a nineteen-year-old from Cleveland, Tennessee, was just as inexplicable.
Keller and a group of friends visited Conejos County's Rainbow Trout Ranch in the summer of 2015, as we pointed out in our previous post. Then, at around 4:30 p.m. on July 23, 2015, Keller and a pal went out for a jog and got separated. Keller was never seen again.
Speculation about this vanishing ran the gamut, with foul play among the possibilities considered.
But clues were scarce, and after about a month or so, the search for Keller was suspended.
Seasons passed — and on July 6, 2016, according to the Conejos County Sheriff's Office, a hiker traversing Conejos Canyon spotted human remains near Forest Service Road 250, about four miles west of Highway 17.
In the days that followed, the CCSO, in conjunction with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and search-and-rescue teams from Alamosa and Archuleta counties, recovered the remains, which were subjected to DNA testing for purposes of identification.
The announcement about the outcome subsequently shared on the Find Joe Keller Facebook page was simple and straightforward.
The DNA results have come back and confirmed that the remains found on July 6, 2016 in the Conejos Canyon are indeed Joe. Continue to keep the Kellers in your prayers [as] they prepare to bring him home.
At present, there's no way of telling how many stories like this one have taken place on public lands, since there isn't a federal database that allows access to information about such incidents. In the hope of changing that, Streetman launched a petition titled, "Make the Department of the Interior Accountable for Persons Missing in Our National Parks & Forests."..."