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It sure is taking National Geographic Adventure a long time to follow up on this story since the conflicting evidence was presented and publicized.
You owe it to your readers and the public (and yourselves) to correct your story or at least present your case that the remains found on Comb Ridge are indeed those of Everett Ruess. Unfortunately, many people are still not informed that there is a controversy. We are waiting!
Posted by: Jon Thompson
18/11/2009 10:52 AM

I've read this several times. Kudos to the author who condensed a long and convoluted experience into a brilliant and suspenseful tale. Full length articles like this are becoming rare. Thank you for letting the writers do their jobs, so that we readers can immerse ourselves in the experience well-told.
Posted by: J B
30/10/2009 08:19 PM

I do not understand why dental records were not compared!?
Posted by: Jeannie
25/10/2009 03:57 PM

Oops...looks like the horse left the barn a little early...remains were not Ruess after all. After a couple of new rounds of DNA testing and a more critical look at the dental evidence, science comes through again!

The Mystery of Everett Ruess: UNSOLVED!
Posted by: Sinjin Eberle
25/10/2009 09:45 AM

Oops...looks like the horse left the barn a little early...remains were not Ruess after all. After a couple of new rounds of DNA testing and a more critical look at the dental evidence, science comes through again!

The Mystery of Everett Ruess: UNSOLVED!
Posted by: Sinjin Eberle
25/10/2009 09:45 AM

Just wanted to let everyone know that we are looking into the new DNA test results and will report more on this story soon.
Posted by: Adventure Editors
23/10/2009 01:15 PM

The video is gone. The way they handled the femur bone like a casual object never sat right with me. NG, in the future, please handle remains with more show of respect, please.
Posted by: Squeegee
23/10/2009 02:07 AM

The video is gone. The way they handled the femur bone like a casual object never sat right with me. NG, in the future, please handle remains with more show of respect, please.
Posted by: Squeegee
23/10/2009 02:06 AM

You have been wrong since day one. Shoddy reporting, you should be ashamed, Nat Geo's reputation is quite tarnished now over this one.
Posted by: paul leatherbury
22/10/2009 03:37 PM

An article posted on kls.com yesterday, quotes the Reuss family as having determined this skeleton is not Ruess. A third DNA test by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Md. proved conclusively that there is no DNA match.
Posted by: Mountain Man
22/10/2009 11:51 AM

Yeah, well here it is today Nat Geo......NOT...As in 'not so fast'......The mystery remains....Great sensationalism to boost sales, though....Rest easy, Everett..........
Posted by: Jochen Rohr
22/10/2009 12:35 AM

I know Comb Ridge. I'm glad Reuss' family chose to bury him elsewhere for too many would scurry over the ridge looking for The Site. What a story!
Posted by: Anonymous
10/09/2009 06:21 PM

I am unconvinced. I have lived and worked with the Navajo people for the last 33 years. Even today it is very unlikely that any Navajo will come anywhere near, or especially touch, a dead body, much less 75 years ago. There are very strong taboos in place associated with any contact with a corpse. Any contact would require an extended and expensive ceremonial to restore harmony to the person making contact. It would be a very unnecessary risk for a Navajo to become involved with the dead.
Posted by: Ed
31/08/2009 03:49 PM

I am unconvinced. I have lived and worked with the Navajo people for the last 33 years. Even today it is very unlikely that any Navajo will come anywhere near, or especially touch, a dead body, much less 75 years ago. There are very strong taboos in place associated with any contact with a corpse. Any contact would require an extended and expensive ceremonial to restore harmony to the person making contact. It would be a very unnecessary risk for a Navajo to become involved with the dead.
Posted by: Ed
31/08/2009 03:48 PM

Like others who have posted here, I found the explanation of the Utes killing Ruess a little too convenient. The grandfather was just sitting on top of ridge for several days watching Ruess travel up and down the wash? Really, in those difficult times to just sit and watch for days? It certainly appears that the grandfather did the deed. Now, I don't think NatGeo could accuse the grandfather of the crime but they should not have participated in smearing the Utes.
Posted by: William Meck
28/08/2009 03:58 PM

I wrote a park handout about Ruess while a seasonal ranger at Glen Canyon in the late 70s..the real point was to excite visitors enough to go and have their own discoveries, got a nice note from his brother about it. Keep seeking.
Posted by: John Freemuth
01/08/2009 02:16 AM

Comb Ridge is major obsitical to travel stretching some 80 miles of sheer rock several hunded feet high. The possiblity of scaling this formation from Chinle wash with a body seems highly implausable. Blaming the Ute indians for mysterious deaths is a cliche. To anyone who is familiar with Comb Ridge there is more to the story. Everett surely made it the top of the ridge under his own power via butler wash. It may be the facts are simply distorted or the story is a cover up.
Posted by: Steve Modzelewski
23/07/2009 10:53 AM

Dear Mr. Laughlin, I seemed to hit a nerve. I do believe that you protest too much. You can believe anything you wish. Ad Hominem arguments are used when an arguement fails, so insult your opponent and maybe no one will notice the vacuousness of your argument. After all, "my mind is made up, so don't bother me with the facts".
Posted by: John M Mclaughlin, D.D.S.
16/07/2009 10:57 AM

Listen "D.D.S." you are not a Dr. so don't pretend to be one. I'm pretty sure that DNA testing is a little more conclusive than a comparison of 75 y/o teeth/records. There are far too many correlations that the remains are those of Ruess. Read up on statistical probability and leave the real conjecture to the experts with the more pertinent initials behind their names...Case closed.
Posted by: William Laughlin
15/07/2009 08:09 PM


I'm a Dentist in Flagstaff AZ and the portion of the mandible I've seen does not correlate to Ruess's dental charts fron USC dental school. He had two inlays and a gold foil restoration placed on teeth 18 and 19. The teeth in the specimen have no restorations at all. Even if they were lost ther would still be evidence of the tooth structure that was removed. It's not him even with the DNA test. Teeth don't change and often last longer than bone does. The science dosen't prove out.
Posted by: John M. McLaughlin, D.D.S.
15/07/2009 01:43 PM

Solved? no way. what is no longer a mystery is how he vanished or where he went. What is still a mystery is the murder and silence over generations.
Posted by: robert fullerton
06/07/2009 11:16 PM

When I was a Freshman in H.S. I purchased Rusho's book at a small shop in Southern Utah. The book intrigued me so much that throughout the last 18 years I have collected small prints of his woodblocks and read all I could about him. Fantastic article and exciting news. Thanks!
Posted by: Chelise Floyd
21/06/2009 04:14 PM

I just read Mark A. Taylor's "Sandstone Sunsets"
Posted by: Dale Raisig
11/06/2009 08:48 PM

Great article. Keep up the good work.
Posted by: Ben
27/05/2009 12:53 PM

Krakauer's 1996 "Into the Wild" book has an interesting bit of info. He mentions a local river guide who, years ago, claimed to have found a third "NEMO" inscription in Grand Gulch. That story seems more credible now that Everett's body has been located.
Posted by: Christopher
14/05/2009 10:56 PM

The real mystery is why we're more interested in this white vagabond than in the many Navajo and Ute victims of rape, murder and child sex abuse. Those cases are the real work of the FBI and Sheriff's Office on the rez. Bellson has been poking native graves over a large area for a while each time claiming it was Ruess. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. The author played to romantic white stereotypes and relied on cliches. You slandered a good agent and Sheriff. Apologies are in order.
Posted by: Too much in the Sun
13/05/2009 10:59 PM

Followed this man's trail in books for decades. Great to finally hear they've found him, but . . . the mystery of it all was chilling and will be missed!
Posted by: Lon Kimler
13/05/2009 02:14 PM

What an interesting end to the mystery of Everett Ruess! Tragic, too. I read this book long ago and have a copy on my bookshelf now. How many other adventurers/explorers disappeared in ways like this? Their bones scattered and not a trace left. I am not sure that I wanted to know that there was an answer like this to the Everett Ruess mystery...
Posted by: Nathan
12/05/2009 08:12 AM

I'm pretty sure there have been numerous American Indians who have been killed that have never been resolved and never will that the U.S. continue to ignore and/or have imprisoned the wrong person. Has their DNA been proven that they are the killer, etc. At least the Navajo man put Ruess body to burial as most Navajos were buried in that fashion long before coffins and digging six feet under.
Posted by: Tara Marley
11/05/2009 03:06 PM

The given "Utes" story sounds fishy. Seems like the Navajo could have been the murderer. he was "covered with blood," indeed. In any case, the rest of the Navajo family was complicit in silence for all these decades. Shame on them.
Posted by: dd
10/05/2009 06:38 PM

They may have identified what remains of his earthly travail, but his vagabond soul is out there still and the intensity of his writing and his art will continue to captivate and enchant. Everett, we miss you and appreciate the riches you shared.
These remnants that surfaced opened a new chapter of mysteries.
Posted by: Valrie Jensen
10/05/2009 02:27 AM

The immutable spirit of Everett will long live in the hearts of all those who have read his words and wandered the same expanses he did all those years ago. The mystery he probed will always remain.
Posted by: Craig
09/05/2009 04:54 PM

It appears that Everett followed the previously used trail to Bluff used by the Mormon pioneers (Hole in the Rock) who travelled from Escalante to Bluff in 1879. The Mormons were heading for the "Four Corners" area but gave up when they hit the barrier of Comb Wash. Many settled in the Bluff area. i hope more can be discovered ragarding whether or not Everett might have followed the wagon trail with its scratches and possible discarded items left by the Mormons on their thip.
Posted by: Bernard Anderson
09/05/2009 01:36 PM

Absolutely unconscionable of National Geographic not to publish the rest of this story on the internet! A cheap ploy to make the reader buy the magazine! Makes me so mad that, despite my curiosity, I will refuse to be badgered into spending money that I most likely would have anyway!
Posted by: David Whittlesey
09/05/2009 12:25 PM

There seems to be no doubt that Ruess has been, at long last, found. That being said, a simple application of Occam's razor will yield a much less convoluted story accounting for both his murder and the sequestering of his livestock 60 miles away. Think it through using the classic triumvirate of Means, Motive and Opportunity.
Posted by: Bill Worden
08/05/2009 11:08 PM

I read about Everett just last year, and it was kind of sad to me that no one ever found out what happened to him. It's strange now that some of the mystery of him is over, since he's been found though. Isn't it strange, that even after so much time they found him
he was a very interesting young man and an inspiration to people(at least me). We have to learn to be comfortable with ourselves and learn to cherish nature as well.
"say that i was...lonely, wet and cold but that i kept my dream!"
Posted by: Chloe
06/05/2009 05:44 PM

I live in Moab and have heard and read about the Ruess mystery for years. Glad the mystery is finally solved. Too bad Roberts had a hand in it, his involvement puts a bad taste in the mouths of many around here, as he's known for his arrogance and exploitation of local people and places, also he has been known to get his facts wrong. Witness the photo used by N.G. of rock art in Range Creek that was really from Temple Mtn. which isn't even close. Roberts has a bad rep in these parts.
Posted by: Charlie
06/05/2009 11:41 AM

Correction...the book on Everett is called "On Desert trails " which is now a collectors item.
I am so glad that National Geographic did this article on Everett and am Interested in other peoples stories and memorabilia as well.please post
Posted by: Pamela Brown
05/05/2009 10:21 AM

Hugh Lacy also wrote the Introduction to the book " On Desert Sands" about Everett. I have a picture of Everett and his two burros, a small piece of artwork from his mother Stella, a 1938 missing person article etc. Grandpa would be so happy mystery is solved. Pamela Brown
Posted by: Pamela Brown
05/05/2009 09:21 AM

To continue my previous thought, Everett followed his dreams, a quest many fail to embark upon as age and convenience conspire to erase such ambitions from the heart. Yet remnants of the dream always remain, which is why Everett's story strikes deep and holds the attention of anyone with the courage to listen.
Posted by: Richard Halsey
04/05/2009 06:54 PM

The only people in that area then were Navajo sheepherders. The three Utes with clubs story is doubtful. I don't think Mr Ruess was the type to walk into anyones hogan uninvited. The body and saddle were probably buried in the crevice to hide the crime, not out of respect. Mr Nez probably had a guilty conscience for a lot more than hiding a body. Shame on those of that generation for hiding the truth for so long and causing suffering to his brother.
Posted by: Fritz
04/05/2009 11:52 AM

It is unique to have a mystery that interests you come to a finale. When I first read the story I felt that somewhere there was someone who knew the full explaination of the mystery. Thanks for being on top of this.
Posted by: Eugene Colwell
Website: http://natgeo
04/05/2009 08:20 AM

I hope the murders are being punished.A worldly court unfortunately could not do it.
What a nice guy in such a brutal world!
Posted by: Otto, Dietmar, Germany
04/05/2009 03:36 AM

yesterday i was looking through an old box of Hugh Lacys' , my grandfather, and found some historical documents/photos/ and an original manuscript of Nocturne of the Sands written by him about Everett Ruess. All this was done without my knowing the disappearance was solved yesterday . Pamela Brown
Posted by: Pamela Brown
03/05/2009 02:23 PM

I must withdraw my theory of Ruess being killed because the Navajos believed he was a witch. I had not read Bellisons account that it was Utes.
Posted by: Jamie
03/05/2009 01:15 AM

Ruess was know for entering hogans uninvted and making himself at home. Some Navajos believed he was a witch. This young man who had no boundaries and did not respect anyone elses boundaries. He inadvertantly got himself in srious trouble in another culture.
Posted by: Jamie
03/05/2009 01:00 AM

At 16, Everett Ruess set out to explore the wilderness and to find answers to questions that dwell in the minds of all boys as they drift into the world of adults. In doing so, he lived his dreams
Posted by: Richard Halsey
02/05/2009 07:09 PM

i need to go out and buy this issue so i can finish readin it
Posted by: river
02/05/2009 06:34 PM

The Everett Ruess story has guided and informed my life- both on and off the Navajo Nation - for quite some time. I am so glad to know where he was buried. I carry W.L Rusho's book with me wherever I go (currently in Ukraine). Why? - to remind myself of important things, to share the story with others who need to hear it.
Posted by: Norma Cady
02/05/2009 10:13 AM

Our family has read every book we could find on ER. We first learned about him on a trip to Lake Powell. We have visited his campsite in Davis Gulch and hiked out on top of the Mesa to the Bement Arch where he has written the name NEMO at he base of the arch. We have also been to the Comb Ridge hiking while doing a research paper on the movement of the Mormoms from Escalante to Bluff. We knew that in the 90's his Bother was still alive in the SB area. Too bad he didn't live to hear this.
Posted by: Larry Aebischer
01/05/2009 07:56 PM

Dragged a body by hand from Chinle Wash onto Comb Ridge? Impossible. A traditional Navajo wrapping his arms around the body of a stranger firmly? Way out of the question. Too much of this story makes no sense to anyone who knows the country or Navajos well. The magazine should be embarrassed to have published this story.
Posted by: caleb fox
01/05/2009 06:12 PM

The name is pronounced Roos. The writer could have asked Denny, or anyone local. Or how about using a local writer?
Posted by: caleb fox
01/05/2009 06:03 PM

The name is pronounced Roos. The writer could have asked Denny, or anyone local. Or how about using a local writer?
Posted by: caleb fox
01/05/2009 06:03 PM

Thank you for this great and informative article. How wonderful that this mystery has been solved! How ironic that he was killed by humans, the only species he was trying to get away from by going to the wilderness. He had no need to fear the rattler, the bear, the "beasts" of the wild, but only the hand of man.
Posted by: jim womeldorf
01/05/2009 03:42 PM

Maybe David Roberts was Everett Ruess in a previous life, the way he's so obsessed with Comb Ridge...possibly even more obsessed than a lot of us other Comb Ridge junkies. The only difference: We like the Comb because of what it is and not for exploitation, ego boosting, and another feather in our hat...or notch in our pistol. Quit advertising the Comb Mr. Roberts
Posted by: Larry Ruiz
01/05/2009 03:02 PM

this is a interesting story, have scientists looked at the graves?
Posted by: Anonymous
01/05/2009 02:55 PM

I am amazed that ER has been found. I lived in Monticello Utah, which is a beautiful place, have read the journals of ER and been interested in his life ever since. I am also a fan of David Roberts since reading several of his so well researched books, including the book about his transverse of the Comb Ridge with Jon Krakaur. So glad to have seen this and will be looking for more from David Roberts
Posted by: Nancy Gowler
01/05/2009 08:44 AM

Thank you for this article. I first heard the story of Everett while volunteering with the NPS at Glen Canyon NRA 15 years ago. I read W.L Rusho's book, 'Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty' and have always been haunted by this mystery.
Posted by: Melissa Donovan
30/04/2009 08:42 PM

I have always admired Everett Ruess and I am grateful for this tale that includes the work of two photographers I admire
Posted by: RAEchel Running
29/04/2009 08:53 PM