Missing Family

Search for missing family continues by Martin Phillips - 8/19/77

The search continues for a missing family who vanished from their campsite in the Ozark National Forest two weeks ago. According to neighbors, Martin and Virginia Daniels, along with their children John and Jolene, left their home in Little Rock early on Saturday, Aug. 6, in their van packed with camping equipment. One of Mr. Daniels’ co-workers told police the family was going on their annual summer vacation to the National Forest, and had planned to spend four nights before returning late on the next Wednesday. When Mr. Daniels failed to return to work on Aug. 15, the police were sent to investigate, but found an empty house.

In the course of the investigation, police determined where the family had camped, and discovered the site with all the equipment still there, along with the family’s van. Both U.S. Forest Service rangers and State Police reported no signs of a struggle, with one ranger stating it was “like they just up and flew away.” Rangers, police, and volunteers soon formed search teams, but after two weeks of air and land searches, hope is fading of finding the Daniels family alive.

Police sources have reported that a camera was found with several pictures taken, and they are being developed.

Missing family case takes strange turn by Martin Phillips - 9/4/77

The case of the missing Daniels family has taken a strange turn, according to police sources.

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According to sources with the State Police, shortly after getting the photos from the Daniels’ camera developed, agents from the FBI arrived and took over the case. The State Police have been “shut out of the whole thing,” according to one source. Neither the FBI nor official State Police spokesmen returned our calls for comment.

However, we have received the photo accompanying this article anonymously, which included a note stating it is from the film in the Daniels’ camera, found at their campsite in the National Forest.

According to the note, it was taken by a man from a nearby campsite, who appeared in two other photos. Friends and neighbors of the Daniels family have confirmed the picture is of them, and the note says the man is being sought as a possible witness.

Witness to family disappearance reported missing by Martin Phillips - 9/12/77

Days after a possible witness to the vanishing of the Daniels family was interviewed by the FBI, he has been reported missing by his girlfriend. Cheryl Adams told Russellville police on Sept. 9 that her boyfriend, Travis Grady, hadn’t come home from work the night before. Police found his car the next day in Atkins, with a dead battery and out of gas, but Mr. Grady still has not been found.

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According to Ms. Adams, after seeing the picture of the Daniels family published in the Gazette, Mr. Grady told her that he had seen the family the day they arrived, but hadn’t seen anything unusual before he left a few hours later. He admitted to taking the picture, and Ms. Adams convinced him to talk to the police. After calling the Russellville police, two officers arrived and took a statement. The next day, two FBI agents arrived and interviewed Mr. Grady for several hours, according to Ms. Adams, who says she was forced to leave during the interview.

Police are still looking for Travis Grady.

Over three years later, bodies of missing family, witness found by Harry Mason - 2/8/81

Nearly three and a half years after their disappearance from a campsite in the Ozark National Forest, the bodies of Michael and Virginia Daniels, as well as possible witness Travis Grady, have been found over 1,000 miles away in the Yellowstone National Park.

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According to a witness who found the bodies, they were impaled through the chest on branches near the tops of trees, and appeared to have been cut open down the front of the torso. The witness also stated that what looked like organs were found sealed in plastic at the base of each tree. “The weirdest thing was that they looked fresh, like they’d just died a few days ago,” he said. “How in the name of God they got up there, I’ll never know,” he added.

Neither the US Park Service nor the FBI would confirm these reports, other than to say the bodies had been recovered and sent for autopsy. The Daniels children, John and Jolene, were not found with their parents or anywhere nearby, according to sources with the FBI, and are still considered missing.

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