Everett Ruess Found! NG Adventure Solves the Mystery!

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.

To read more about this story, check out this blog post at the NG Adventure blog and this story over at The Adventure Life.

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.

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on “Everett Ruess Found! NG Adventure Solves the Mystery!”

  1. Kraig,

    Great story! Don’t know if you know this, but Jon Krakauer devoted a chapter of Into The Wild to Ruess. Krakauer used the chapter to discuss Ruess’s background and personality, some of the many theories on how he died, and compared some of his personality traits to that of Chris McMcCandless, the subject of the book.

    The book, obviously is very well known, but some readers may have forgotten that chapter…..


  2. Hey Jeff,

    Yeah, I was thinking of that very chapter while I was listening to the press conference today. Some obvious cross over with Ruess’ story and McCandless as well. Free spirits who loved the outdoors.

  3. Great story indeed! It sounded to me like a navajo brother and sister actually found Everett, not National Geographic. All people involved here are indeed free spirits. That Everett was found by the people he loved and who loved him just makes my heart thrill!

  4. Yep, definitely found by the brother and sister, but National Geographic headed up the DNA analysis, getting all the parties involved together, an so on. There is enough credit to go around. 🙂

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