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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

July 8, 2015

Updated: May 6, 2020

Today, July 8, marks 293 days since Jack’s disappearance from Frisco, Colorado, on September 19, 2014. Jack’s status remains unchanged – missing. The website has almost 40,000 hits.

It was a long, cold winter for our family as we waited to hear some word of Jack. Winter turned to spring, spring to summer, and still no solid leads. I do not know how we possibly could’ve gotten this far without all of the great friends we have. Thank you for all of the prayers that have been lifted up and are continually being lifted up for Jack and our entire family. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Even in light of the fact that Jack has now been missing for such a long time, we remain vigilant, hopeful, and thankful for you, even in the face of despair. All we want to do is find Jack and bring him back to good mental health. And if that’s not possible, we desire closure.

After eight months of careful review of all the evidence, Jack’s personal profile, and everything that has been done using social media and an incredibly talented group of people on the ground here in Summit County, expert consensus is that there is a 50-50 chance that Jack is still alive. There is a 50% chance that Jack wandered off into the wilderness and attempted to survive. There is a 50% chance that Jack successfully left the area, either hitchhiking or on his mountain bike, and resumed life with a new identity – a new life in another part of the country, living under the grid, most probably in the western United States. We are covering both aspects. Both locally here in Summit County and now again stretching out West, we are going to extend our search considerably at this time using social media. And this is where I will ask for your help later in this message to once again spread the information about Jack.

First – Summit County, Colorado.

Colorado experienced record snowfalls this spring, with some 89 inches fallen between April 16 and May 31. This delayed any kind of restarting of the search locally in Summit County until the snows were sufficiently melted.

Our family deeply appreciates the thousands of man-hours that are continually being spent by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the internationally acclaimed Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG), including 65 active members and seven mission coordinators and the Summit County Flight For Life team. After months of careful analysis of all the evidence that has been collected about Jack, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and SCRG have developed an extremely comprehensive and accurate profile of Jack, utilizing the statistics of thousands of cases. They have created a local search plan this summer for Jack in Summit County, based on his profile as it pertains to a missing person’s behavior, to narrow the geographic focus of the search in the area. We have identified a specific geographic area immediately adjacent to the hospital where Jack was last seen as a renewed focus. We will also focus on the entire Ten Mile Range, which stretches from Frisco to Copper Mountain. Jack loved this area and knew it well, and it contains some very high spires of rock that Jack loved to climb.

This range has 14,000-foot peaks. We are specifically interested in the upper terrain and in searching the bottom of the bowls. This area takes a technical person to navigate and is far from the area that is populated by recreational tourists. This is an area that through Jack’s profile we understand would be attractive to him.

TO EVERYONE living in Breckenridge, Frisco, and Dillon, Colorado:

One of the things that remains a great mystery to all of us is the location of Jack’s bike. Jack had a very good mountain bike – a blue Trek, with a split seat. This particular bike is the bike of choice for very serious mountain bikers, and Jack was never without it, exploring endless trails throughout the mountain ranges within Summit County. We have been unable to locate the bike, having searched every bike repair store in Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon. The bike is missing and remains a key piece of evidence. If Jack had his bike, he could’ve made it very far into the mountains. This would be good to know. If he sold his bike, he could’ve easily and quickly sold it for $800 to $1,200 and avoided using his bank account, which has several thousand dollars in it with no withdrawals. This is a key point, because this would’ve allowed Jack to assume a new identity and not be traced through electronic transactions. So therefore, I’m asking everyone in Breckenridge and the entire area to post this on their Facebook pages and start a conversation about the blue Trek. Has anyone seen it? Does anyone know of anyone who purchased a bike like this in August or September 2014? Any information about this bike would be very much appreciated now. Please report any information about the bike to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Thank you in advance.

Second – everywhere else.

I am continually amazed the more I find out about the forgotten tens of thousands of people in this country who intentionally live under the grid. I’ve learned a lot about the migration habits of these individuals to places seasonally, which provide them the opportunity to make decent amounts of cash in a short period of time.

ALASKA – Fishing season is in high gear right now in Alaska. And the Alaskan fishing industry offers individuals under the grid the opportunity to make a large amount of cash in a short period of time. The labor for many of the thousands of boats that participate in the fishing season right now is provided by individuals (such as Jack) who have migrated up from the Lower 48. And Jack knows Alaska, having spent several weeks flying throughout the state in a private airplane. He could easily get to Alaska and around Alaska by hitching rides from private airports, as Jack knows the aviation world. I am asking all of my personal friends in Alaska to post this on their Facebook pages and ask their friends to do the same, notifying anyone they know who is in the fishing industry about And I am asking everyone else to creatively approach the many Alaskan fishing websites that are advertising for jobs with the link This will quickly provide penetration of the Alaskan fishing industry via the Web.

SLAB CITY – Slab City, or The Slabs, is a campsite in the Sonoran Desert 156 miles northeast of San Diego, California. Several thousand campers use the site during the winter months. These people stay for only the winter before migrating north in the spring to cooler climates. This was noted as a destination for Chris McCandless in the book “Into the Wild.” This was Jack’s favorite book, and therefore we suspect that he may have had Slab City on his radar heading west. Please send this update to everyone you know who lives in Southern California or the Southwest and ask them to post it on their Facebook pages. Ask them to think of individuals they may know who would have some sort of connection to Slab City. The website is if you want to discern creative ways to provide the link to

BURNING MAN FEST (August 30-September 7, 2015) Burning Man is a weeklong festival in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. The event begins on the last Monday in August and ends the first Monday in September. This particular event is a magnet for people living off the grid and each year attracts approximately 50,000 people. Its website is Take a creative approach to posting on “off the grid” blogs or websites and embed a link to Jack’s website:

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Once again, of particular geographic interest in the state of California is Mendocino County. Small Northern California towns that we are asking you to direct a link to the website to include the following: Ukiah, Willits, Boonville, Point Arena, Mendocino, Ferndale, Fortuna, Eureka, and Arcata. Essentially, the targeted area is all the small towns on U.S. Highway 101 stretching north from Santa Rosa. Also, Placerville, which is located just to the east of Sacramento, is of particular interest. If you know anyone living in Northern California, including any area in San Francisco to the north, please send instructions and respectfully request they post the link to the website on their Facebook pages and request that anyone actually living in those towns please print out the poster from the website and physically post it somewhere on the edge of town. Again, we are focusing on an area where there is a significant subculture of people who wish to remain off the grid. By the way, a great way to do this efficiently is to call the library in each of these towns, speak with the librarian, and ask if you could forward the link to Jack’s website and ask the librarian to post it on the library’s Facebook page.

Finally, Jack, if you happen to be following all of this, just know that all we want is knowledge of your well-being. Please give us a call; we love you more than you would ever imagine.

I will be leaving the mountains today and journeying back to St. Louis. When I arrived here some 10 days ago, I looked at my inspirational journal and couldn’t believe what it said: “You have journeyed up a steep, rocky path in recent days. The way ahead of you is shrouded in uncertainty. Look neither behind you nor before you. Instead, focus your attention on me, your constant companion. Trust that I will equip you for life whatever awaits you on your journey.”

I have been holding onto those words for the past 10 days. God is in control. I’m not. No matter what happens, our family knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has Jack in the palm of His hands, wherever he is. If just one person in the world, as a result of all of this, would come to the Lord, it would all be worth it. We want to express our love to all of you as we wait to see how God will end the story.


The McAtee Family

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