News

Father fears ‘Into The Wild’ inspired missing son

Father fears ‘Into The Wild’ inspired missing son

Still from 2007's "Into the Wild," directed by Sean Penn. Photo: WENN

By Jonathan Kaminsky

Olympia, Washington (Reuters) – An Arizona teenager who appears to have vanished into the remote woods of Oregon may have been inspired by the 2007 movie “Into the Wild,” based on the true story of a young man who ventured into the Alaskan wilderness and died there, his father said on Sunday.

Missing 18-year-old Johnathan Croom’s 2000 Honda CRV was found a week ago on a road near the small town of Riddle, Oregon, with his identification and money inside it, his father, David Croom, said in a telephone interview from a search site.

The father said he became concerned that his son may have gone missing after he failed to return last Monday to resume classes at Mesa Community College in Arizona, after driving to visit a friend in Washington state.

Croom said his son sent a text message to a friend more than a week ago saying: “I’m going adventuring.”

Croom described his son as a happy young man with an electric smile who had – in the past six months – grown fascinated by the true story of Christopher McCandless.

In the early 1990s, McCandless, a recent college graduate, embarked on a cross-continental journey, discarding his possessions and living in the rugged Alaskan wilderness, where he eventually died of starvation.

McCandless’ story was made famous by “Into the Wild,” a best-selling non-fiction book by adventure writer Jon Krakauer, published in 1996, that was made into a popular movie.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office found Croom’s car on Wednesday. David Croom, who is in Riddle to help in the search for his son, said residents there told him they’d noticed the abandoned vehicle as early as last weekend.

Dwes Hutson, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, declined to comment on the case.

Croom said he had searched along remote roads for his son after getting a tip from a logger who said he had seen a young man with “the most amazing grin” walking with a woman two days earlier. Croom said he didn’t know who the woman might have been.

Private search groups and individuals have volunteered to help look for the missing teenager, including one group that offered to send in drones and horses.

Aside from a stint with the Boy Scouts of America, Croom said his son had little outdoors experience.

“He doesn’t really have the skill set for this,” he said.

Croom said his son had split up with his girlfriend a few weeks ago and that may have been weighing on his mind.

Croom described his son as 6’1″ and weighing 140 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes and may be carrying a multicolored backpack.

Croom said he was unaware of his son’s fascination with McCandless’ journey until after he went missing.

“The problem I have with that movie is that several kids have tried to emulate it, and what he was doing was dangerous,” said Croom. “The guy in the movie doesn’t make it.”

Recent Headlines

in National

Manufacturing, construction data point to sturdy U.S. growth

An overall view of the assembly line where the BMW X4 is made at the BMW manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina March 28, 2014.

U.S. manufacturing activity hit a nearly 3-1/2-year high last month, a sign the economy entered the third quarter on strong footing.

in Lifestyle

Pistachios may help reduce diabetes risk

Pistachios are seen after sorting at a processing factory in Rafsanjan, 1,000 kilometers southeast of Tehran September 23, 2008.

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide.

in Lifestyle

Triathlons popular with middle-aged athletes

Runners and bikers compete in the 34th annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, California June 1, 2014.

Triathlons, the swim-bike-run races of varying lengths, are scaling the bucket lists of many middle-aged athletes.

in Sports

Indianapolis Colts owner pleads guilty to intoxicated driving

James Irsay, owner of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters March 17, 2014.

Billionaire James Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, was arrested in March after failing roadside field-sobriety tests.

in Sports

Phillies’ Cole Hamels, bullpen combine for no-hitter

Sep 1, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) throws the ball against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Turner Field.

Cole Hamels set up a combined no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies as they beat the Atlanta Braves 7-0 at Turner Field in Atlanta.