Robert Winters - Strange disappearances from US Wilderness Areas

Robert Winters, disappeared October 8th, 1969, Sparks Lake, Oregon.

Robert Winters Sparks Lake Disappearance

78 year old, Robert Winters, disappeared in October 1969 on a hunting trip with his family in an area around Sparks Lake in Oregon, to the south of Broken Top mountain and north of Mt. Bachelor. The party consisted of Robert and his sons Charles, George and Alvin and they had hunted in Oregon on an annual trip for over 20 years. They had decided to hunt in this particular area because snowfall at higher altitudes would have made it difficult to find animals.

Robert was last seen at around 11am on October 8th, 1969 when he left his family to start hunting, but failed to show up back at the camp as darkness fell that day. As it became dark, heavy snow started falling and around 1.5 feet (46 cm) fell in the 24 hours after he disappeared.

Sparks Lake Oregon

The family contacted the Deschutes County Sheriff to report Robert's disappearance and around 60 people joined in the search and rescue efforts. A helicopter was deployed and tracks were spotted nearby at a place called Soda Creek at around 7,100 metres, higher than the 5,400 metres at which Sparks Lake is located. However, no sign of Winters or his equipment was found during the extensive search.

Sparks Lake Oregon

The following summer Dr. Jack Crosby, a doctor on a hiking holiday in the area, came across a rifle, glasses and clothes just near Soda Creek just below the tree line, near where the footsteps had been seen on the aerial search. After a 3 day detailed investigation by the Sheriff's department the only things found at the scene and vicinity were Robert's deer rifle placed against a tree and his clothes were found at the base of the tree as well as the glasses, one boot and one glove. No bones were found in the area and there was no blood on the clothes. In fact, it looked like the clothes had been carefully removed and certainly not shredded by an animal. Deputies Mel Newhouse and Norman Thrasher who did the investigation at the discovery described the scene as "very odd" as not one bone was ever recovered despite a detailed search.