A haunting last photo is all
that his parents are left with. The photo is a close-up shot of his face, set
against a bleak, dark landscape. He is alone, we think. He is lost, we believe,
and he is very afraid. How he vanished has never been solved. He was a boy scout
aged 12, and he vanished into thin air. He was with his scout group on a hike. There
one minute, gone the next.
It was July the 19th 1991, and 12-year-old Jared Negrete was on his first overnight camping trip in the San Gorgorio wilderness in the South-Eastern part of the San Bernardino National Forest of California. It is an area the LA Times calls, ‘A breath-taking bramble of rocky crags, sandy switchbacks, and dozens of trails, many of which meander to nowhere….’
After Jared disappeared, a 19-day
search for him found only his camera with that last haunting photo, and some
discarded candy wrappers. How could he vanish in the middle of the wilderness? There
was no road to leave by, no transport out of there; no route out, apart from a
very long hike.
“The hardest part is at night, knowing he’s out there by himself in the wilderness,” said Linda Negrete, his mother, who called out to her son over a public address system for days after he vanished, from a helicopter circling the search area. ‘Searchers find camera belonging to Jared,’ wrote Associated Press. ‘Camera found as they followed footprints they believed were made by the missing boy. The film in the 5 foot 2, 150 lb boy’s camera was developed, but proved to be of no use to searchers.’ All it had was an eerie close-up of his face. The photo looked as though it had been taken after night had fallen….