David Blake, disappeared March 9th, 2018, Body found October 22, 2018, Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, Georgia
UPDATE: A skeleton was discovered by a hiker on October 22nd, 2018. The Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office positively identified the remains as David Blake on October 24th. Foul play was not suspected in Blake’s death, according to Major Dan Ferrell of Cobb Police’s Crimes Against Persons unit. A cause and manner of death was yet to be determined by the medical examiner’s office.
Blake’s remains were located near Stilesboro Road and according to Chief Ranger Anthony Winegar with the National Park Service, the remains were discovered well off the trail to Little Kennesaw Mountain.
What took David off the trail the day he went missing?
On March 9th, 2018, police found David Blake’s car parked near an overflow car park off Old Highway 41 in the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park with his hiking bag and keys in the cup holder. David was nowhere to be seen.
David, 25, was an avid hiker and outdoorsman and very familiar with the park and its 16 miles of trails. His camping gear was left behind in the apartment indicating he wasn't planning to spend time camping in the wilderness.
Kennesaw Battlefield Park preserves a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta Campaign and also contains Kennesaw Mountain. It is located at 905 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, between Marietta and Kennesaw, Georgia. The name "Kennesaw" derives from the Cherokee Indian "Gah-nee-sah" meaning cemetery or burial ground. The area was designated as a U.S. historic district on October 15, 1966.
Search and rescue first assumed he walked to one of the park's trails and may have been somewhere up on Kennesaw Mountain.
David's mother Neill last saw him on Wednesday March 7th and said he was his normal, calm, easy-going self. "He said, 'Love ya mom, see ya later' like we always do,” His mom, dad and older brother called it completely unexpected and said David would never just walk off. David Blake’s dad, Bill Blake."No one, roommates, coworkers, family had no inkling we would be standing here."
The family said David wasn't into any high-risk behaviours, or illegal activity and called him quiet and relatively boring. "All they do is stay up till 3 a.m. playing their video games, watching movies, no indication anything was going on from that perspective,” said Stuart Blake, David Blake's brother.
David's phone was last used to send some text messages early on Thursday March 8th. He never showed up to work that day and didn't call in. Since that time there was no activity on his phone or from his bank or credit cards.
Dozens of searchers scoured the Kennesaw area including sixty members of Cobb County’s Community Emergency Response Team, which investigated a wooded area not far from where his car had been found. The area for the search was chosen based on location data from David's cell phone.
“With the county, we organized a search because the family had search volunteers that really wanted to help,” said Chief Ranger Anthony Winegar with the National Park Service. “We organized a search of a couple of small areas over near Stilesboro Road and Barrett Parkway. Evidence early on in the search had pointed us in that direction.”
On March 9th a Georgia State Patrol helicopter was deployed and a bloodhound from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office that searched from the ground. On March 10, cadaver dogs found no indication of a decomposing body within the search area.
“At the end of that search (Thursday March 15th, 2018), we sat down with the family, and said, ‘This is all the evidence we have, including concrete, solid evidence, and Facebook tips and everything else. We have exhausted all of that,’” Winegar said. “We haven’t come up with anything new, any sign that he is here. He has left no evidence that he is here with the exception of the car.”
On-duty park personnel continued the search for Blake on Friday, March 16th, but were expected to go back to normal daily operations the following day unless credible information on his whereabouts is reported.
Chief Ranger Winegar said “We have a very good idea of where people go in this park, and where people seldom go, and we are concentrating on the places where people seldom go. This place is so busy, my theory is that if he were here and he were hanging out somewhere near the busy places, he would have already been found. So we’re going to the places where we know people don’t go very much, and there aren’t that many of those.”
So far no sign of David which seems a very out of character disappearance. Why leave his keys and bag behind in the car. Foul play or suicide perhaps?