David Paulides: May 29, 1977. A group, a family was camping near Tabletop Mountain, bottom of the canyon. And the family went off to do some fishing. Cathy Simon, 15, she was just gonna hang out at camp. Well, they came back and she was gone. Didn’t make any sense to anybody, because she was a real stable nice girl, followed her mom and dad’s orders. The family couldn’t believe she left. Huge search starts. And they bring in some of the best bloodhounds from the state, some from the penitentiary.
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Paulides: They search for two weeks, they don’t find anything. There’s a lot … there’s many other peripheral things I won’t go into, but it fits our profile to a tee. A week after the search ends, some other people who were also camping go to the top of Cottonwood Canyon, way higher in elevation, miles away from where she disappeared, and they find her body. And this is an example that a young person or even an older person, when you’re high in elevation, you’re smart enough to realize that as you go lower in elevation, the weather changes. It gets warmer and it’s … safety. And if you’re at the top of a mountain, you can look down and you can see, “Oh, there’s my campsite.” Well, the explanation was is that she died at elevation from hypothermia. And the weather had changed and it was much colder and raining up high. But the reality of it was, people sometimes forget, common sense tells you and it would have told Cathy at the time, hey, you’re cold, turn around and go back down. Why did she stay up higher? Why did she allow herself to die? And why didn’t searchers find her? And I think that’s the cornerstone of most of the cases I talk about. And it’s not that unusual … it happened outside of Tonopah. I mean, you and I have talked about another case that happened outside of Las Vegas, where a boy disappeared, sheriff searched for him for days and days, and he was never found in a wilderness setting. So Nevada isn’t immune to this type of thing.
George Knapp: I mean, are you comfortable we’re using the word abduction? I know it carries a lot of connotations, and the alien aspect, and we’re not saying this is alien. But some of these seem like abductions. That they’re taken away. They’re plucked.
Paulides: Well, I’ve heard that. And I suppose that would be an explanation why there’s no scent trail, why the dogs can’t pick up. In vast majority of these occasions, search and rescue has a professional tracker in conjunction with the searchers. And they can’t find any tracks leaving the scene. And that’s hard to understand. Maybe if you’re in an extremely rocky, gravelly, boulder-strewn environment, you can understand that. But say in the environment we’re in today, you should be able to pick up tracks. And the scent should be there for days.
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Knapp: You have people — search and rescue people — who don’t want this to be true. Who will say all these things can be explained. People make irrational decisions when they’re disoriented and confused and scared. And that’s an explanation why they’d walk up instead of down or why they take their clothes off in a cold environment. What do you say to them?
Paulides: A few years ago, I made a presentation in front of the largest search and rescue organization in the world. It’s called NASAR. The room was packed. And after about 90 minutes, two guys in the back of the room stand up. They’re Alaska State Troopers, and they said, “Dave, you’re talking about things that nobody in this room wants to talk about. Everybody knows it’s going on. Everybody here faces it. But nobody wants to talk about it. Thank you for bringing it up.” Well, needless to say, I haven’t been invited back to NASAR to talk, because it’s an area that makes people uncomfortable.
Knapp: Those guys don’t like to say we can’t do it. We can’t find it. We can’t figure it out. They devote their time and their energy and their expertise to go find people. They don’t like to admit this is something beyond our ability to resolve.
Paulides: Or beyond their ability to understand.