Jason Knapp - Strange disappearances in U.S. national parks

Jason Andrew Knapp, disappeared April 12, 1998, Table Rock State Park, Pickens, South Carolina

Jason knapp disappearance Table Rock

Jason Knapp, 20, was last seen at his apartment in the vicinity of the 100 block of Calhoun Street in Clemson, South Carolina on Easter Saturday, April 11th, 1998.

That evening, Jason rented a movie with two of his roommates and at about 10.30 pm they left him alone watching the film. It’s the last time anyone saw him alive.

In the fall of 1997, the Michigan college that Jason thought would move him forward wasn’t working out, so he transferred to Clemson University in South Carolina to start a mechanical engineering degree. In the spring of the following year, Jason was doing well academically and would talk to his mother nearly every day, sharing with her plans to find an apartment with a friend for the summer and fall.

Some of Jason's fellow Army ROTC friends became concerned that he had not attended physical training and ROTC classes for a few days and called the apartment inquiring about him. It was at this time that the roommates became concerned. At first they thought that he just took off for a few days and would be back. They contacted a close friend of Jason who was attending college in Pittsburgh, PA thinking that maybe he had gone to visit her for a few days. She informed them that they had not talked to each other for over a week. When Jason did not return by Friday, April 17, 1998 the roommates decided to call his mother, Deborah A. Boogher. The same roommate who had last seen Jason placed the call. She immediately contacted the police and they went to the apartment searching for him. 

Jason A knapp disappearance

Jason was in good spirits the before his disappearance, and had just been inducted into the elite Pershing Rifle Corps at Clemson University. He was looking forward to school ending and making plans for the summer. 

His mother said "I did not find it unusual that he did not call me that week. I knew that most of the problems that were upsetting him had been resolved and that he would be studying for finals and getting all his assignments up to date. I just assumed that we would be talking over the weekend and making final arrangements about a new apartment for the following school year, and deciding on a date for me to come down and help him get packed up to return home for the summer. How wrong my assumption would be."

His 1990 white Chevy Beretta was found on April 21st, locked and parked in the first row of spaces along the lake at Table Rock State Park in South Carolina. This was around 30 miles from his home. He was more of a mountain biker than a hiker, but he could have gone to walk the trails.

Table rock state park South Carolina

Inside the car, authorities found a park pass that had been bought between 3 to 5 pm on Easter Sunday. and tests later showed Jason’s fingerprints on the pass. Also inside the car were receipts from earlier in the day at a Wendy’s restaurant near his Central apartment and an Ingles grocery store in Seneca where he had bought a six-pack of root beer and some fruit juice. Investigations had indicated that Jason had withdrawn $20 from his bank account and that no other activity had taken place on the account since then. Fifty (dollars in change was found in the console of the car. His checkbook was found in his apartment and contained a considerable amount of money, which had been untouched. His suitcase and, from what we can tell, all of his clothes and other personal belongings were still in the apartment.

A park ranger at Table Rock State Park had seen the car for more than week, but at first wasn’t suspicious because hikers often left their cars parked for several days without signing the guestbook at the trailhead. The white 1990 Chevrolet Beretta was locked, and the park admission ticket indicated that the car entered the park between 3 and 5 pm on Easter Sunday.

Table rock state park trail, south carolina

His mother pointed out to investigators how obsessed Jason was with his car stereo. In 1998, having a detachable face on a car stereo was normal and they said it was very unusual for him not to remove it on the day of his disappearance if he was to go hiking. Apparently he was obsessive about removing it and particularly if he was leaving the car in a public parking lot at Table Rock.

There was no evidence that he planned to harm himself as his rifle and some ammunition were found in the closet of his bedroom in the apartment untouched. His bed had been stripped and the bed linens rolled into a ball, as if he had planned to return to do laundry.  His checkbook, suitcase and clothing were also found in the apartment. His checking account contained a considerable amount of money, which had been untouched. 

Despite around 3400 man hours of searching by volunteers and search and rescue professionals, including dog teams from North and South Carolina. Not a single clue was found that could prove Jason was ever at the park except for his car and since his disappearance no sign of Jason has ever been found. He vanished.

His mother Deborah wrote in 2011 "We have no idea what happened to Jason. He never talked to me or anyone else about this park."."On December 26, 2000 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though the doctors assured me that all of the cancer was removed, and I received a clean bill of health in November 2001, it has made me acutely aware that something could happen to me before I find out what has happened to my son. I have made a pact with God to keep me healthy and give me the strength to find him. I will not die without knowing what has happened to Jason. I have spent the past four years trying to get Jason's story on national television. It has all been so frustrating. I want to find my son. I need to find my son. He was my whole world and I miss him terribly. The longer he is gone the harder it gets. The pain does not go away. There is this gaping hole in my heart that will never heal. I sincerely hope that you can help us in our search. Perhaps your help could provide the clue that would help the police locate him. Please find it in your heart to help me find my only son, my only child."