DENNIS LLOYD MARTIN
DATE OF BIRTH: 6/20/1962
DATE OF DISAPPEARANCE: 6/14/1969 (6 DAYS SHY OF 7)
AREA: SPENCE FIELD, GREAT SMOKEY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK IN TENNESSEE
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT: 4'0 TO 4'1 & AROUND 55 LBS DESCRIBED AS A "HEALTHY HUSKY BOY".
HAIR AND EYES: DARK BROWN WAVY HAIR AND BROWN EYES WITH LONG THICK EYELASHES.
CLOTHING: RED T SHIRT, SHORT GREEN TROUSERS, LOW CUT OXFORD SHOES WITH SIMPLE HEEL.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: MISSING ONE OF HIS UPPER FRONT TEETH. HAD LEARNING DISABILITIES. AROUND A HALF A YEAR BEHIND DEVELOPMENTALLY IN AGE. DESCRIBED AS A QUIET BOY. WOULD NOT CALL OUT BUT WOULD SPEAK TO STRANGERS. DENNIS HAD HIKED BEFORE. WENT BY "DENNY".
Great Smokey Mountain Police
DETAILS OF CASE: PRIOR TO DISPPEARANCE
ON FATHERS DAY WEEKEND IN 1969 THE MARTIN FAMILY (WILLIAM THE FATHER, CLYDE THE GRANDFATHER, AND DOUGLAS, THE OLDER BROTHER ALONG WITH THE YOUNGEST DENNIS) TOOK A TRIP OUT TO THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS FOR A FEW DAYS OF HIKING AND CAMPING. THE DAY PRIOR TO THE DISAPPEARANCE THE FAMILY HAD BEEN OUT AT CADES COVE AND RUSSELL FIELD (WHERE THEY CAMPED THE DAY PRIOR) BEFORE HIKING TO SPENCE FIELD. THE NIGHT BEFORE THEY HAD MET A DR. CARTER MARTIN AND HIS FAMILY FROM HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA. YES THEIR LAST NAME WAS ALSO MARTIN. (PAULIDES ALSO LIKES TO TALK ABOUT HOW UNLIKELY IT WAS FOR THIS TO HAPPEN. ADDING TO HIS "SPOOKY" NARRATIVE. WELL ITS NOT AN UNCOMMON LAST NAME.)
(NOTE: IN A TRAGIC TWIST. MANY YEARS LATER CARTER MARTIN WOULD ALSO LOSE ON OF HIS CHILDREN. ONE OF THE ONE WHO PLAYED WITH DENNIS. CARTER WILLIAMS MARTIN JR. )
DAY OF THE DISAPPEARANCE: SATURDAY JUNE 14TH, 1969
AT AROUND 430 PM THAT DAY DENNIS AND DOUGLAS ALONG WITH THE OTHER MARTIN BOYS DECIDED TO PLAY A TRICK ON THE ADULTS OF THE GROUP AND SNEAK UP ON THEM AND TRY AND SCARE THEM. ACCORDING TO BILL HE AND THE OTHER ADULTS KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING. DOUGLAS AND THE OTHER TWO MARTIN BOYS CIRCLED AROUND ONE WAY (SOUTH THEN WEST) AND DENNIS CIRCLED AROUND THE OTHER.(NORTHWEST INTENDING TO COME AT THEM FROM THE NORTH SOUTH POSITION) THE REASON DENNIS WAS CHOSE TO COME FROM THAT DIRECTION ALONE WAS THAT HE WAS WEARING A RED T SHIRT AND THE BOYS THOUGHT IT WOULD GIVE THEM AWAY. WHEN THE BOYS SPLIT UP FROM DENNIS THAT WAS THE LAST TIME HE WAS EVER SEEN. ACCORDING TO THE OFFICIAL PARK REPORT HE WAS LAST SEEN ON THE TENNESSEE SIDE OF SPENCE FIELD. BILL STATED THAT BETWEEN 3-5 MINUTES PASSED BEFORE THEY NOTICED DENNIS WAS GONE. BILL IMMEDIATELY BEGAN CALLING OUT TO DENNIS AND RAN ALONG THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL AS FAR OUT AS AROUND 1 MILE. AND THEN RETURNED THINKING THAT DENNIS MAY HAVE FOUND HIS WAY BACK. HE DIDN'T. HE THEN WENT OUT AGAIN WEST AROUND 2.5 MILES AWAY ALONG THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL TO RUSSELL FIELD. HE THEN RETURNED TO SPENCE FIELD AGAIN. NOTHING. NO SIGN OF DENNIS. CLYDE MARTIN (GRANDFATHER) THEN PROCEEDED DOWN ANTHONY'S CREEK TRAIL TO CADES COVE AND INFORMED RANGERS AT AROUND 8:30 PM THAT NIGHT. THERE WERE SEVERAL PEOPLE IN THE AREA AROUND THE TIME THAT DENNIS WENT MISSING. A NATURALIST AND HIS WIFE HIKED TO SPENCE FIELD AT AROUND 7:30 THAT EVENING AND WERE INFORMED OF THE MISSING BOY. THEY STATED THEY HAD NOT SEEN HIM. ON THEIR WAY OUT OF THE AREA THEY CAME UPON BILL AND PICKED HIM UP IN THEIR CAR. THEY LET HIM OUT AT THE JUNCTION OF BOTE MOUNTAIN RD. AND LAUREL CREEK RD. LAUREL CREEK RD LED TO CADES COVE. AROUND 5-10 MINUTES AFTER THE NATURALIST AND HIS WIFE DROPPED BILL OFF A PARK RANGER PICKED BILL UP AND THEY DROVE BACK TO SPENCE FIELD. ON THE WAY BACK THEY SPOKE TO HIKERS FROM DERRICK KNOB. AS WELL AS SOME FISHERMEN AND ANOTHER SET OF HIKERS. NONE SAW DENNIS. RAIN MOVED IN AS NIGHT BEGAN. IT RAINED AROUND 2.5 INCHES AROUND SPENCE FIELD. RANGERS AND FAMILY MEMBERS SEARCHED THE IMMEDIATE AREA WHERE DENNIS WAS LAST SEEN ALL NIGHT. WITH NO RESULTS.
ABOVE TOP SECRET THREAD I ALSO COPIED AND PASTED THE ENTRY BELOW
I want to thank every person who wrote a polite and interesting question.
I can say that this experience has been interesting and exhausting.
There has never been a point, in any of my research where I had interactions like I had here.
I know that the vast majority of you will never meet a parent who has lost their child, never knowing where they are or what happened. That life void has to be the worst experience any parent could have. The most riveting and emotional interviews I have ever done was with one of those parents, Dennis Martins father, Bill.
Looking back in my career, there have been dozens of times where I investigated missing teenagers, young kids and adults, on nearly every occasion the disappearance turned out to be voluntary. A seasoned investigator could become very calloused to another case and allow that series of experiences to push them to generalize. Ah, this is just another missing person case, probably bad parenting, poor relationship, people feeling sorry for themselves, etc, etc. What I learned years ago, you can NEVER generalize, about anything. Just because you had five experiences where it didn't end the way you thought, that doesn't mean the 6th will turn out the same. If you lose sight of this fact, the relationships and communications you have will be less then honorable and you'll never get to the truth behind the issue.
The background behind the Martin case was pretty straight forward. Dennis disappeared on a rural field in Rocky Mountain National park. What followed is a series of incidents that are truly unreal. When we started to investigate this incident, it appeared that Mr. Martin had been lied to by the investigators inside the National Park Service and by the FBI. It specifically looked as if they were withholding the most valuable information that was gathered in the case.
One of the biggest revenue generators in the Knoxville area is Rocky Mountain National Park. In 2010, (www.nps.gov...) this article states that the park generated 818 million in revenue for the gateway communities, this is HUGE. The number of businesses surrounding the park that are dependent on the park visitors for revenue is large.
If the park admits that a small boy might have been abducted, this could have a major effect on the surrounding communities and park visitations. Ah, but there wasn't just one mysterious disappearance, there have been several. The theory behind the Martin abduction wasn't mine, the retired head tracker for the park service states that he now believes Dennis was abducted.
When I met Mr. Martin at his house, the same house he lived when Dennis disappeared, the man still looked the same as in 1969. He came to the door, I explained who I was and asked for a few minutes of his time. He explained that this disappearance had had a major impact on the life of he and his wife and that he had promised his wife it would no longer be discussed. I explained that I had traveled from California specifically to speak with him and asked for just a few minutes. He closed the door behind him and stepped onto the front porch.
When Mr. Martin and I started to talk, the man had tears in his eyes. The disappearance of his son had destroyed this families life. At the time of their biggest need, they turned to the NPS for assistance and direction on finding Dennis. Mr. Martin told me that the NPS, investigators and the press had lied and withheld information, I explained what I knew, he was surprised. I asked a few deep questions that probably have never been asked. I explained that I knew the "Key" family had seen something on a hillside in a reasonable time frame after Dennis disappeared and wanted to know if there was something else about this that wasn't released. Mr. Martin stated that the FBI and NPS never wanted this information released to him or the public. They also never wanted the public to know that whatever was seen on that hillside, was carrying something on its shoulder. I believe that the direct impression he wanted to leave was that Dennis could've been on that shoulder. The NPS and FBI told Mr. Martin that the time frames for this observation didn't work, that was a LIE. Dwight McCarter (the tracker for the park service at the time) and Mr. Martin quickly walked from Spence Field to the point of the "Key" observation in a time frame that would've made the sighting possible.
Imagine at the time of your greatest need, when you were absolutely at your lowest point in life, the one time when you needed the governmental agencies there to assist, find and comfort and they do exactly the opposite. You've just lost your most important possession and now the people you've always looked to as honorable turn out to be something quite different.
The last question I ask any witness before I leave, "Is there something about this incident that isn't known by the public and is something I should understand?" Mr. Martin stated that there was. He asked if I was aware of the number of disappearances in the mountains near the time Dennis disappeared, I named them. He asked if I knew the FBI agent that was on scene in each of those cases, I named him. He asked if I knew what happened to him, I stated I did not. Mr. Martin stated that the agent committed suicide. This was later confirmed. It was apparent that Mr. Martin gave us this information for a specific reason.
Our investigation into the Dennis Martin disappearance uncovered several major facts that the public does not know. The Martin family has never had justice in this case and has never experienced support and honesty from the NPS or the Knoxville Press. Each one of the four major television networks in Knoxville refused to report on any of this information. Do I understand why Mr. Martin refuses to talk to the press, absolutely. The support mechanisms meant to support victim families failed the Martins. When I walked away from meeting Mr. Martin, I had tears in my eyes. I know I could never feel the totality of his pain, but I felt some small part of this fathers loss. He lost his son and we weren't there to support him. "WE", I mean we as people. If we start to put our compassion, understanding and honesty on the shelf and work towards an agenda, or allow our behavior to be controlled by past experiences causing us to generalize, we have lost a large part of our humanity.
Thank you for the experience on ATS
The afternoon that Dennis disappeared, Harold Key, 45, of Carthage, Tenn., was near Rowans Creek in the Sea Branch area with his family when he heard an "enormous, sickening scream." A few minutes later, he noticed a rough-looking man moving stealthily in the woods near where he had heard the scream.
"I thought he might have been a moonshiner," Key later told News Sentinel writer Carson Brewer.
Unaware of the search for a lost boy, Key did not report the incident until several days later, after he had returned home and learned of Dennis Martin.
But Key did not recall the exact time this occurred, and part of the time frame he gave included a period that would have made a connection to Dennis Martin's disappearance impossible. Park officials also discounted the likelihood of a connection because of the distance from where Dennis was last seen, and the FBI concluded it did not have sufficient evidence to launch a complete investigation.
(THIS PIC CAME FROM A STORY NOT RELATED TO DENNIS MARTIN)
THE TENNESSEAN 7/21/1969
THE JACKSON SUN- 7/21/1969
THE TENNESSEAN 7-27-1969
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT BOTH ARTICLES DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT A MAN HAVING SOMETHING OVER HIS SHOULDER! IN THE VIDEOS I'VE SEEN OF DWIGHT MCCARTER EXPLAINING THE SIGHTING HE SAYS THAT THE KEY FAMILY DID NOT SEE DENNIS OR A BOY. HE DOES SAY THAT THE KEY FAMILY BELIEVED THE SCREAM WAS THAT OF A BOY HOWEVER. THERE IS HOWEVER A DISCREPANCY REGARDING THIS STORY. IN SOME INSTANCES MCCARTER STATES THE KEY FAMILY DID NOT SEE DENNIS OR A BOY. BUT IN OTHER VARIATIONS HE SAYS THE MAN AND BOY ENTERED A WHITE VAN AND DRIVE OFF. NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF THAT.
McCarter said "It is possible for a physically strong man to carry a small child between the two points." He believes more significantly, that "Dennis could have reached that area alone."
"There were so many footprints, a mass confusion of footprints," McCarter said.
FAMILY AND THE PARK SERVICE SET UP BASE CAMP AT SPENCE FIELD. THERE WERE A TOTAL OF 36 MEN. THE PARK SERVICE INQUIRED ABOUT OBTAINING A HELICOPTER TO ASSIST WITH SEARCHES IF THE WEATHER PERMITTED. THE PARK SERVICE REACHED OUT TO LOCAL RESCUE SQUADS AND A HIKING CLUB FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING ADDITIONAL MANPOWER. ANYONE WILLING TO ASSIST WAS ASKED TO BE AT MOTE MOUNTAIN ROAD AT 5 PM. THE SEARCH TEAM ADDED A TOTAL OF 204 MORE VOLUNTEERS TO ASSIST WITH THE SEARCH BY 5 PM. A TOTAL OF 12 VEHICLES WERE USED TO TRANSPORT SEARCHERS BETWEEN MOTE MOUNTAIN RD AND SPENCE FIELD. SEARCHERS OF ALL TRAILS IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA WERE CONDUCTED. INCLUDING THE SEARCH OF DRAINAGES. ALL HIKERS THAT WERE FOUND WHO WERE NOT INVOLVED WITH THE SEARCH WERE QUESTIONED. A HELICOPTER WAS ACQUIRED AND USED TO TRANSPORT SUPPLIES. THERE WERE SUPPLY ISSUES THAT INCLUDED QUANTITY OF FOOD AND WATER. THE PARK SERVICE ADMITS TO HAVING COORDINATION ISSUES.
DAY 3: MONDAY, JUNE 16TH 1969-SEARCH CONTINUES
BLUEFIELD DAILY TELEGRAPH- 10/2/1969
KINGSPORT TIMES: 7-20-1969
GAFFNEY LEDGER: JUNE 8TH, 1970
THIS CASE HAS BEEN USED SINCE AS A TRAINING TOOL FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS AS WHAT NOT TO DO. EVERY PERSON TRAINED IN SAR (SEARCH AND RESCUE) IN NATIONAL PARKS IS VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE DENNIS MARTIN CASE. ITS DAY ONE IN TRAINING.
LIKE I SAID IN THE BEGINNING OF THE ENTRY. THIS CASE HAS BEEN BASICALLY HIJACKED BY THE TIN FOIL HAT CROWD. AND MOST OF THE TIME ITS MADE INTO SOMETHING IT ISN'T. THERE IS NOTHING PARANORMAL ABOUT THIS CASE. THIS CASE IS ABOUT A BOY WHO WENT MISSING AND PERISHED IN THE GREAT SMOKEY MOUNTAINS. I DON'T BELIEVE DENNIS WAS ABDUCTED. EVEN THOUGH THE FAMILY OF DENNIS MARTIN DID BELIEVE THAT. THEY WERE ALSO OPEN TO OTHER THEORIES. IF YOU WERE A FAMILY MEMBER OF A LOST CHILD. AND THEY WERE LOST IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO THE WAY DENNIS WAS. YOU'D WANT TO THINK THEY WERE TAKEN BY SOMEONE AS WELL. YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO THINK THEY WERE HELPLESS ALONE IN A WOODED AREA. I WOULDN'T PUT MUCH CREDENCE IN THE KEY SIGHTING. I BELIEVE HAROLD KEY WAS BEING HONEST ABOUT WHAT HE THOUGHT HE SAW. BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE IT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH DENNIS. IN THE REPORTS AS I STATED HE NEVER SAID HE SAW THE BOY. OR SAW SOMETHING BEING CARRIED OVER SOMEONE'S SHOULDER. HE SAID HE HEARD A SCREAM AND A PERSON WHO SEEMED TO BE ATTEMPTING TO HIDE. I DON'T BELIEVE THE PARK SERVICE DID ANYTHING WRONG HERE EITHER. CLEARLY THIS IS A VERY LARGE AREA. AND IT TOOK TIME FOR PARK RANGERS TO GET THE SCENE AFTER DENNIS WAS REPORTED MISSING. THERE WAS NO QUALITY TRAINING AT THE TIME TO PREVENT THIS KIND OF THING FROM HAPPENING. I DON'T BELIEVE THERE IS ANY BLAME TO BE PLACED ON THE MARTIN FAMILY. I HAVE KIDS AND THEY HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF MY SIGHT FOR A FEW SECONDS AND HAVE BEEN FURTHER AWAY THAN I ANTICIPATED. IT HAPPENS. ITS BEEN SAID BILL MARTIN WAS VERY FRUSTRATED WITH THE PARK SERVICE. (YOU HAVE TO TAKE THAT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT SINCE I'VE ONLY HEARD THAT FROM PAULIDES) AND IF TRUE I UNDERSTAND WHY. HE LOST HIS SON. AND HE LIVED THE REST OF HIS LIFE NEVER KNOWING WHAT HAPPENED. HE WAS ALLOWED TO THINK WHAT HE WANTED. THE BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT CLUE I THINK THAT WAS OVERLOOKED IS THE FOOT/SHOE PRINTS THAT WERE FOUND. THAT WERE LATER DISREGARDED. I DO BELIEVE THOSE WERE DENNIS. ACCORDING TO THE PEOPLE WHO FOUND THEM THEY WERE THE SAME SIZE AS THE SHOES DENNIS HAD ON AT THE TIME. THE REPORTS SAY THEY WERE IN A PATTERN THAT LOOKED LIKE DENNIS HAD ONE SHOE ON AND ONE SHOE OFF WHEN THE TRACKS WERE MADE. I BELIEVE THE SEARCH WAS DONE WELL ENOUGH TO TRY AND FIND HIM. LOOKING BACK EVEN THE PARK SERVICE ADMITS THERE WERE PLENTY OF ERRORS MADE. ITS EASY TO LOOK BACK AND POINT OUT MISTAKES. BUT I BELIEVE THE WEATHER WAS THE MAJOR FACTOR IN WHY HE WASN'T FOUND. YOU KNOW THE OLD CLICHE "TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE." WELL, ITS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. LOOK AT THIS CASE AS A PRIME EXAMPLE. (ANOTHER EXAMPLE CONGRESS) AS I STATED I BELIEVE DENNIS MARTIN WAS LOST AND PERISHED IN THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE OF THE GINSENG HUNTER AT TIMES. MY GUT TELLS ME HE IS TELLING THE TRUTH. IT PROBABLY WAS AN ERROR IN JUDGEMENT THAT HE WAITED SO LONG TO TELL ANYONE. ONE ODD THING IS I CANT FIND A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE THAT STATES ANYTHING ABOUT THAT ASPECT OF THE CASE. BUT SINCE IT CAME FROM DWIGHT MCCARTER. I WONT QUESTION IT. I'LL PROBABLY KEEP UPDATING THIS ENTRY. SO KEEP CHECKING BACK IN.
WILLIAM C. MARTIN'S OBITUARY