Rodney Letterman, disappeared 28 August 2017, Remains found February 25th, 2019, Devil's Den State park, West Fork, Arkansas.
Rodney Letterman, age 33 of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, was last seen hiking on the Butterfield Trail in the Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas with a friend Sunday 28th August 2017, when they were separated.
Rodney's friend went back to the car around noon to get high blood pressure medication for him. When he returned to the point on the trail where he had left him, his partner was gone. The weather was fortunately mild in August, but plenty of drinking water is advisable at that time of the year in the park.
Butterfield Hiking Trail is a 14.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near West Fork, Arkansas that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail gets its name from the Butterfield Stagecoach. It starts at the Devil's Den State Park. The terrain is pretty rough, lots of uphills and loose rocks with downed trees covering the trail and overgrown vegetation.
Rodney was carrying water (only 1.5 litres) but no back pack.
Search and rescue teams from several counties as well as the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism scoured the area of Devil’s Den State Park on foot as well as using ATVs and horses. Searchers located the cellphone belonging to Rodney but other clues were not disclosed. His wife Stacia said “He wasn’t feeling good before he went and was exhausted and didn’t have his medicine and we know he doesn’t have his phone; it was found at the campsite.”
As of December 2017, no trace of Rodney has been located. Like many similar cases, a group of hikers become separated and one individual disappears for good. It was interesting that the cellphone was found at the campsite. Foul play or just wandered off the trail waiting for his friend?
Update March 13th, 2019
On February 25th, 2019, a hiker came across a human skull and remains at Devil's Den State Park, Arkansas, near a hiking trail, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
The remains were sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for a DNA profile. The cause and manner of death hadn’t been determined at this point.
Park officials said the area where the remains were found is three miles away from the visitors center and is actually on private land surrounded by U.S. Forest Service property.
That area is generally inaccessible, and Tim Scott, Devil's Den Park Assistant Superintendent, said he was surprised the hiker found the remains because the terrain is very rugged. "As remote as that area is...there might be some hunters going there and a few hikers, but the location doesn't get much foot traffic or even wheeler traffic," Scott said.
Park officials did re-evaluate search records and found the area where these remains were found was searched back in 2017.
Nearly two years on could this be Rodney and a conclusion to this mysterious disappearance at Devil's Den. If the remains are confirmed by DNA to be Rodney, what happened that day in 2017?
Update March 29th, 2019
The skull found in February was confirmed as being from Rodney Letterman by authorities.