Robert Perry Bissell - Strange disappearances from the U.S. wilderness

Robert Perry Bissell, disappeared July 10, 2010, Rock Lakes BasiN, Roaring River Wilderness Area, Oregon

Robert perry bissell disappearance

On 7th December 2010, 57 year old, Robert Bissell left his home in Portland, Oregon to go camping near Rock Lakes, to the south-east of Portland.  He filed a wilderness-use permit with the U.S. Forest Service saying he expected to return on July 16th.

Robert Bissell disappearance car at trail head

He was reported missing after his brother went to Bissell's campsite on July 19 and July 24, finding no sign of him. Robert had parked his car and hiked around five miles to set up camp off Trail 512 near Middle Rock Lake. Authorities started a search the following day on July 25th.

Some other campers reported to rangers that they had met Robert in the Roaring River Wilderness Area at the beginning of his trip, about 20 miles southeast of Estacada. His car was found parked at the Shell Rock Lake Trailhead, Trail 700.

rock lakes, Estacada, OR, USA

Searchers believe that James set up camp, then went on a day hike to fish the Rock Lakes Basin as his rod and fishing tackle were gone but the rest of his equipment was left behind including tent, sleeping bag and food. There was plenty of trout to be caught in the lakes in the area.

Bissell left a note spelling out when he was heading into the wilderness area and when he expected to return.

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Sgt. James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Search and Rescue Unit said it was possible that Bissell suffered a serious injury while trekking around the Rock Lakes Basin in the Mount Hood National Forest. Rhodes and his team were confident in finding Robert as the temperatures around his disappearance were cool but not freezing, "It gets chilly at night, but it's not the kind of weather that pushes people into hypothermia." Unfortunately, there was no cell phone coverage in the area.

60 to 70 professional searchers and volunteers searched the zone of interest. Helicopters were used to search the meadows and the shorelines of more than a dozen lakes in the basin including Serene Lake and Shining Lake. Surveillance planes have crisscrossed the area, flying grid patterns. Canine search teams from the Yamhill County and Clark County, Washington combed the ground along with teams from the Air Force Reserve 304th Rescue Squadron and Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue.

Searchers generally worked in teams of six. They followed standard search-and-rescue procedure, moving into new areas, then shouting and blowing whistles. They then waited quietly for a response, which never came.

During their search, teams discovered several items they thought Bissell might have left. But each time, they brought the items to basecamp, his brother, Michael Bissell, said the items didn't belong to Robert. Searchers also located other campers who said they spoke to Robert as he set up his camp.

After eight days, the search was called off. No sign was found of an animal attack, bones or a body. None of Robert's clothing or fishing gear was located.  He had completely vanished, never to be seen again. Seven years on, nothing has been found.