In 1934, Everett Ruess was a wandering artist, writer, and explorer who had an undeniable love for the outdoors and adventure. He was twenty years old when he set off with two burros, into the American South West around the Escalante area of Utah, where he simply vanished, creating one of the greatest mysteries in the history of that region, and beyond.
Now, National Geographic Adventure has solved the 75 year old mystery with the discovery and positive identification of Ruess’ remains, which were discovered buried in a rock crevasse. Forensic and DNA testing were conducted on those remains, with the results proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that they belonged to Ruess.
Writer David Roberts wrote about this story in the very first issue of Adventure, ten years ago, and his original story can still be found online here. A new, updated article, can now be found in the tenth anniversary issue, which is on newsstands now. That article details the latest findings, which include a story of an eye witness account of Ruess being chased, and killed by Ute indians. That witness is the grandfather of Daisy Johnson, who was instrumental in finding the grave.
Daisy’s grandfather claimed that he saw the murder, then retrieved the body and performed the burial. The body remained there for decades, although the family heard the story over the years. Daisy passed the story along to others, and even attempted to call the television show Unsolved Mysteries on more than one occasion, but it wasn’t until her brother took an interest in it and went looking for the grave, that the story broke wide open.
Interesting story and a long mystery solved. The Ruess family can find some peace at last, and they intend to cremate the remains and spread the ashes in the Pacific Ocean.
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