Everett Ruess Remains Lost After All

Remember the story that made the rounds way back in the spring about how a team from National Geographic Adventure found the remains of Everett Ruess, a writer and artist that had gone missing in the American Southwest back in 1934? At the time it was heralded as a major find, signifying the end of one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th Century. Turns out that skeleton found in a shallow grave in Utah may not be Ruess after all, begging the question of just what did happen to the young man.

According to this story from the New York Times, Ruess’ family sought a second DNA test to confirm that the remains that were discovered last year, were indeed from their relative. That DNA test came up false, indicating that the body was not that of Ruess after all, despite indications during the initial testing phase that described the results as ‘irrefutable” in favor of it actually being the missing explorer.

Kevin Jones, Utah’s state archaeologist, was amongst the first to raise questions about the findings in the initial investigation. He noticed that the jaw bone that was found at the grave site was more in keeping with a Native American than a European man, and he was the one that urged the Ruess family to investigate further. The result was a second DNA test by an Armed Forces lab that conclusively determined that the skeletal remains were not Ruess at all. It is now believed that the original test was contaminated with positive DNA on accident.

So, I guess the mystery of what happened to the writer will persist for now. The myth of Everett Ruess remains as strong as ever.

Thanks to the Goat for the heads up on this one.

Kraig Becker

2 thoughts on “Everett Ruess Remains Lost After All”

  1. I was introduced to river rafting at Prescott College back in the 70's. My first river trip was 30 days on the Green and Colorado through Labyrinth, Stillwater and Cataract Canyons. Ed Abbey was must reading. As was the story about Everett Ruess. It pleases me to know he may still be out there…

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