George Knapp: Right. Let’s talk about Nevada. In one of your most recent books you wrote about the Nevada Triangle. There’s been some attention to that over the years. And until I saw it in your book, I didn’t really connect it to “Missing 411.” How does it fit? And describe the parameters of what you’ve found.
David Paulides: So, the Nevada Triangle is between Reno, Las Vegas and Fresno. And it covers a lot of the Sierra — some of the rougher areas. And when I first looked at this, I initially thought, well, that’s kind of interesting, but how does that apply? And then I pulled out a map of Nevada and California. I almost fell out of my seat, because the largest cluster zone we’ve ever established is in that Nevada Triangle.
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Paulides: And there’s two other clusters that are also in that triangle, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park area. When I first started to document missing people that fit these profile points, I got out a map of North America and we started to plot with pins, the disappearances. Something you do when you’re working a criminal case. After documenting 500, 600, 700 cases, all of a sudden patterns start to show up. Clusters of disappearances start to show up. Again, not just disappearances, but ones fitting the profile. Largest cluster of missing people in the world that fit our profile? Yosemite National Park.
Knapp: And it’s in the Nevada Triangle.
Knapp: Somebody could say, “Look, it’s a big area, there’s mountains, there’s inclement weather.” You’re talking about not only people disappearing on the ground, but planes that disappear and are never found, right?
Paulides: 2,000 planes in the Nevada Triangle that have disappeared. And that’s per a Reno investigator, not me. And when you couple that, with the number of disappearances in the clusters I’ve talked about, and in this specific area of the Sierras, you start to understand the correlation. And when you understand that a lot of these people aren’t found. The unusual part is many times they are not found in areas where they should have been found — that’s noted by searchers. And then you bring in the other correlating factors we talked about. Weather. Well, weather … “Looked like a clear day when we took off.” And all of a sudden, the weather turns bad, the plane’s gone. It’s been something that I documented in my latest book along with a series of other triangles that I think there’s that relationship.
Knapp: Is there something weird about the planes, in that they vanished as if they just fell out of the sky? I mean, you don’t find a black box? You don’t find any wreckage? Are there those kinds of instances in the database?
Paulides: Absolutely. And that is another interesting point that has, I think, a lot of people baffled, is that we have radar that covers every point on this earth, you would think. And especially in the United States. So in this day and time when most planes are carrying personal locator beacons or flight locator beacons, I’ve read reports where eventually a plane is found years and years later and supposedly the beacon is destroyed. When I was a young kid, we had a plane and we carried a beacon. The thing was made like a tin box. So how that is destroyed? It’s pretty baffling.
Knapp: Steve Fossett. Is that the most famous case in the Nevada Triangle?
Paulides: I think so. I think so. Took off from Smith Valley, Nevada. And a lot of people may not know, but Steve Fossett was probably the most airworthy, knowledgeable person in the world. He held over 100 different records. Balloons, planes, gliders. He probably spent as much time in the air as you and I have spent, you know, in our backyards. And he took off just on a leisurely trip. Well, he disappeared. Huge search. Civil Air Patrol, private parties, everyone was looking for him and nobody could quite believe that he was missing. And eventually the search is terminated. Months and months later, some hikers are up in the Sierras and they find an ID, and it was Steve Fossett’s ID. So the searchers come out, and they found some other miscellaneous things. And then they expanded their search and a half mile away, they found some wreckage. Now the explanation was that animal predation — that was their statement — took the remains a half mile from where the wreckage was, to where a couple of bones were found that were DNA determined to be Steve’s. But here’s an example of one of the most … probably the most famous flyer in the world … disappearing in that triangle not being found on a search. That search was so thorough, they found 8 other wreckage of other craft that was missing, that they didn’t even know existed at the time.
Knapp: You know, I could see people saying, as they’ve said about the Bermuda Triangle, “Well, there’s a lot of traffic there. The Bermuda Triangle has ships and planes missing because a lot of ships and planes go through there.” Is the same true for here? I mean, the Nevada Triangle?
Paulides: I think you could say that for almost any point in any mountains anywhere that have elevation. I live in Denver, and we have mountains that go over 14,000 feet. We don’t have that issue. And the mountains in the Sierras? Yeah, there’s a couple at 14, but the majority are way under 10, where they’re crossing. And so I don’t understand that. And in the Rockies, the mountains are much wider. Sierras are kind of narrow. You fly over a brief stint the mountains and then you’re in Nevada. And I don’t understand it. I don’t claim to know it. I’m just reporting facts. And that’s kind of what I want to be known for.
Knapp: People want to know. Obviously, the public wants to know. But the people who are really hit by this the most, and the most powerful stories that you tell are about the families of these missing people who just don’t know. There are no answers for them and it must be excruciating.
Paulides: That’s probably the hardest part of my job is dealing with moms and dads and relatives of the missing, and trying to help them get some relative closure with what happened. Many of these people are some of my best friends now. And they’re looking for somebody to give them an answer. The commonality is that the searchers and law enforcement that come in to look for these people can only spend a limited amount of time. There could be another case down the road, there could be a shooting in the mountains, and they got to go do something else. And so, many times they feel abandoned and left alone, and nobody helping them from the point that that search ends.
Knapp: Yeah, it’s heartbreaking to hear the stories … just not knowing.