Stacey Arras - Strange disappearances from US National Parks

Stacey Arras, Disappeared July 25, 1981, Sunrise High Sierra Camp, Mariposa County, Yosemite National Park, California.

Stacy Arras, Yosemite park disappearance

On 25th July 1981, 14 year old, Stacey Arras, from Saratoga, went on a horse riding trip with her father, George, and seven others in the Sunrise Meadows area of Yosemite National Park in California.

After riding a few hours, they stopped at some cabins at Sunrise High Sierra Camp, around 3 miles South East of Tenaya Lake and 1.5 miles from Sunrise Lakes. The group decided to freshen up after the ride, having planned to stay the night. Sunrise camp is  9,400 feet above sea level and the last one on the fifty-mile High Sierra Camp Loop. Nine cabins provide beds for 34 guests and it is set against a lovely alpine meadow facing Mt. Florence and Mt. Clark. Later that day after going on a short hike, close to the cabin area, she was never seen again.

Sunrise Meadows area of Yosemite National Park

Sunrise Meadows area of Yosemite National Park

Sunrise Meadows area of Yosemite National Park

Stacey cleaned up, showered and changed clothes. An older member of the group, Gerald Stuart (70-77 years, age unclear) was sitting on a boulder about 100 feet away from the cabins. Stacey told her Dad she would go for a walk close to where Gerald was sitting to stretch her legs after the horse ride and to take some pictures of the views. She asked her Dad if he wanted to go with her but he told her he'd pass on this occasion. The last conversation she had with her Dad related to her footwear, where he advised her to change from her flip-flops/thongs to hiking boots. She was wearing an off-white, pullover windbreaker, white jersey blouse, leggings, grey hiking boots and also had metal braces on her teeth.

Everybody saw her go walking over to the boulder with the man and take some pictures. Subsequently, she told Gerald she was going to take a walk to a nearby lake or body of water. This was either a few hundred yards to flooded (lower) Long Meadow or the longer walk to Sunrise lakes 1.5 miles away (exact destination unclear). Stacey planned to take some more pictures of the lake and he offered to accompany her.

After a little while down the hill the elderly man felt tired and sat down, the rest of the group watching from up above saw the man sit down. They all watched as Stacey went on a little further towards the lake, go behind some trees and eventually disappear from sight. This was the last time she was ever seen. After a while when Stacey didn't return, Gerald got concerned and returned back towards the cabin area and gathered the group for a search. The horse riding group had no luck, reported her missing and summoned search and rescue. Gerald told park officials that he had spoken to a group of people coming from the direction that Stacey had taken, but they had not seen the girl

Stavey Arras SAR briefing
Stacey arras SAR

A huge search involving up to 100-150 people (including 67 Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) volunteers representing most of the Region's teams) and sniffer dogs were deployed over 10 days, concentrating on a 3-5 square mile area around Sunrise Lakes . Three helicopters were also used in the search, with the park's own contract chopper in the air for over 40 hours. Despite the efforts of SAR teams, the only thing ever found was the lens cap from Stacey's camera, just inside the tree line from where she walked in to the area by the lake.

Since she was wearing tooth braces, if her skeleton is ever found it will be easier to identify, but 36 years on no sign has ever been found of Stacey, her camera or her clothing.

It seems likely she was abducted given no signs of animal attack or her camera and given the proximity of Stacey's hike to the camp it would be implausible she was lost on her way to the lake. The Fresno Bee reported on July 28th, 1981 that Stacey was having some family or school troubles and was missing her boyfriend, but if she was intending to disappear why did she originally leave the camp in completely inappropriate footwear before her father intervened? A very strange disappearance from Yosemite.