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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

November 8-11, 2014

Updated: May 6, 2020

Today marks the 50th day since Jack disappeared from Frisco, Colorado, on September 19. Jack’s status remains unchanged – missing. The website – – now exceeds 20,000 hits, and there have been between 2,000 and 3,000 Facebook shares just from the site alone.

Honestly, there have been days in recent weeks during which it seems all hope is vanishing. However, just when it gets dark internally, someone from among you sends us a letter, a note, an email that lifts us up and keeps us proactive with hope. While there have been a myriad of notes from personal friends, much of this communication comes from people whom we have never met. For this, the McAtee family is eternally grateful, because it keeps us moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other, looking under every stone, not stopping, and remaining ever hopeful.

During the past 50 days, each and every member of our immediate family – my wife, Ellen, and our daughters, Megan, Maddy, Katherine, and Ali – has traveled to Colorado and spent significant time and effort working in conjunction with the local authorities, who have spent thousands of man-hours searching for Jack. We have also spent approximately 10 days in Moab, Utah, mountain biking, hiking the various places that Jack loved in this area. We also spent a couple of days flying low and slow over the coordinates of places Jack loved to hike in Moab to get a bird’s-eye view of the off-trail sites that Jack was known to frequent. We have traveled the highways and the byways. We have searched the urban shelters and the mountains, which are continuing to be searched by hunters. We have mountain biked trail after trail, stopping people located at the edge of the wilderness areas, giving them a poster showing Jack, and telling them the story.

As mentioned in the prior update, there is a network of people who call themselves “travelers” who migrate from place to place within the state of Colorado. These individuals do not appear evident to tourists who visit Colorado but are rather very much under the radar. One specific example of this type includes the “rainbow people.” The rainbow people are a band of what most people would call hippies who have decided to live off the grid. And as you can imagine, because of the recent change in drug laws in Colorado, many additional like-minded souls are streaming into the state.

The temperature in the mountains now falls to about 15° to 20° each night and has been doing so for at least the past four weeks – far too cold to make any hopeful assumptions that Jack may still be alive if he is in the wilderness-area high elevations. However, there are a host of cities that are lower in altitude down on the plateau that are still warm enough, as well as some small mountain towns ideal for “travelers” this time of the year. This, for now, continues to be our target.

So therefore, I am asking once again for each of you who has any connections in Colorado to forward a link to the website – – asking them to post it on Facebook and likewise forward the link to anybody they know who lives in a small town in Colorado. I have personally visited many small towns in Colorado but by no means have exhausted the search there. We can use the website for this purpose. The Colorado towns I’m specifically interested in drilling down on include the following: Alma, Fairplay, Leadville, Buena Vista, Crested Butte, Creede, Del Norte, Pagosa Springs, Durango, Bayfield, Silverton, Ouray, Ophir, Telluride, Ridgway, Montrose, Cortez, Dove Creek, Fruita, Grand Junction, Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, Glenwood Springs, Gypsum, Eagle, Avon, Fraser, Granby, Gunnison, Pueblo, and also Fort Collins.

Since the vast majority of these “travelers” have neither a cell phone nor access to the Internet, please request anyone in these towns post on their Facebook page and, if possible, kindly print out the “missing” poster from the website and take it out to someone they may know who is living on the fringes or simply physically post it somewhere on the edge of town where the migratory individuals may walk by. This is the only way we’re going to get the word out effectively to this community of “travelers.”

The leaves on the aspen trees comprising the vast aspen stands across Colorado and eastern Utah have now fallen. However, each and every one of the trees is still connected to the overall system of roots, which will continue to keep each tree alive until the new spring leaves begin to sprout. This is the story of our family and this mission, because of you. You are our root system. You have been our strength; we have felt the hand of God through you. We are eternally grateful. Thank you. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.

We simply cannot express in words our love for our son, Jack, whose heart for God is immense. We wanted to make sure that there was something on the website so that if Jack were to go into a library somewhere and access the Internet, he would see letters from each of us. This is our prayer. There is a new section in the “About” tab on the website entitled “Message to Jack from the Family.” And Jack, in case you happen to be reading this instead of pushing the link on the “About” page, following are those letters:


Dear Jack,

This is Katherine. I think about you every day wondering where you are, and what you are doing. Sometimes I pick up my phone and try to call you, and then remember that I can not talk to you. We are all really hurting without knowing where you are, and hoping that you are okay. Each night before I go to bed, I pray that we find you soon. There are days that go by when I wish I could just hear your voice, and laugh about things with you. The Lugos and I were talking about so many funny childhood stories growing up with you, and how you are such an incredible person. Jack, you have no idea how many people love you, and miss you. So many people ask me about you, and how our family is. My heart doesn’t feel full with you being gone. You are our only brother out of the five of us. I really could not of asked for a truer, smarter, wiser, or loving brother. You are such a good person Jack. When I say that, I think it’s really rare to be a genuinely good person. You have such a kind heart that cares for people. There are a lot of people that you will meet along your path in life that come and go, but family is always there. We want you back with us! We want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas and the rest of the year with you! We miss you. Things are truly not the same and never will be without you. You complete our family. I love you so much! There are so many incredible stories about you, which makes you such a unique and interesting person. Please keep hope if you are in danger, but if not and still do not want to come home, just call or email someone. We just want to know that your okay! I love you Jack sooo much more than words can ever express. I just want to give you a hug, and laugh with you. I want to hear about the stories from the adventure you are on right now. I miss you!





I miss you so much and have tried SO hard to find you. I even loaded up my 8 week old Augie and brought him to Colorado with me to look for you. I am so baffled as to where you are and what could have possibly happened. There is not one hour that goes by that I don’t think of you. I am heartbroken not knowing where you are. I call your phone and FB message you often hoping to get in touch with you. If you are traveling on your own adventure, there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about ... please just let us know where you are. I have felt like I have been so close to finding you so many different times just to feel you slip through my grasp. Please come home and tell me about your adventures and where you have been. There are no words to describe the agony of having a missing sibling.




Dearest Jack,

We miss you more than you will ever know. Your absence has left a huge hole in the family that can never be repaired until you come home. I want you to know that I love you so very much. God gave us the most amazing brother, I can’t imagine a life without you. You make us laugh, you fill our hearts with joy, you have so much to give. The boys are ready to start skiing lessons from you, we need you home! Ali has her season pass, ready to ski with you every day. Katherine needs her friend to talk to and Maddy and I need to hear your amazing story of this adventure you have been on. I’m sure you will make us laugh, cry and shout with joy that you are back. We all wake up every morning with a prayer that today will be the day you come home to us. Mom and Dad are desperate to find you. Come home buddy, come home for the Holidays. I love you from the bottom of my heart.




Hey buddy,

Not sure where you went man but it’s not the same town when your not around. I miss you so much, and moved out here to be with you. I hope you didn’t think I was mad at you, this summer with you was a blast. Every single person I see around town “even people I’ve never met” ask about you. This town loves you man. But it’s not the same without you and I don’t think I’m going to stick around if your not coming back. I’m sorry I didn’t have time to help you set up your fish tank with you a few days before you left. I really hope you didn’t think I was mad at you because I love you so much and you mean the world to me. Your the best brother anyone could ask for. Love you so much, hope your ok somewhere. If you want to stay off the grid we’ll all respect that but just a phone call to let us know your ok somewhere. You are the smartest, most genuinely kind hearted person I know. And I know I’m not alone when I say I love you, I miss you, come home.

Love you so much,



Dear Jack,

Please watch the attached message from your crash site at Lake Dillon:


Mom & Dad


Thank you. All of you. And may God bless you greatly and hold you in the palm of His hand.

The McAtee Family

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