Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Dark Forest


The Ocala National Forest is a land of squatters, fugitives, dopers, and ne’er-do-wells. Its once-pure waters have been stained with the blood of innocents. Serial killers have raped and murdered and hidden bodies there. People have disappeared never to be seen again. Unidentified bodies are regularly discovered in remote corners of the wilderness. What used to be a fisherman’s paradise and a hunter’s delight has been despoiled. [Photo of Christine Wiles whose blood-soaked car was found in the Forest. She hasn't been seen since.]

Every winter, a group of hippies, left over from the sixties and their minds long ago burnt out on drugs, descend on the place like a plague. Thousands of them camp out and smoke dope and pilfer from the locals. They seem to think taking a bath is a mortal sin. They call themselves the Rainbow Group. As soon as they arrive, local shop-owners nail down everything in their stores.

The Forest even has its own bombing range. Every year thousands of fighter jets from the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville swoop in and drop tons of explosives on the long-suffering landscape. Sometimes the bombs set off forest fires. Other times they merely shake the residents of nearby towns.

The Forest, as it is called by locals, covers more than 600 square miles. Hundreds of lakes and ponds dot the area. Rivers, creeks, and swamps add to the mix. Huge cypress trees and wild palmetto grow thick in the marsh. In other areas, sandy scrub-lands create trees and plants that look like thin ghostly apparitions. In this wilderness, bear and whitetail deer and wild boar roam about. Bobcats, coyote, foxes, and other predators are prevalent, along with the ever-present alligators. Rattlesnakes, water moccasins, including the deadly cottonmouth, and dozens of species of non-poisonous snakes, live in the Forest.

Like much of Florida, paradise has been spoiled by an influx of too many people. And where there are people, there's violence. I’ve listed a few of the Forest’s killings, disappearances, and unidentified bodies.

October 2, 1966. Two beautiful girls vanished from a crowded recreation area, never to be seen again. 20-year-old Pamela Nater and 21-year-old Nancy Leichner were snorkeling with their boyfriends in Alexander Springs when they decided to go for a walk. They never returned and no trace was ever found to indicate what happened to them. In 2007, authorities located a long-lost letter that convicted serial killer Gerard Schaefer had written in which he confessed to abducting and murdering the two girls. The crime certainly fit his M.O. Schaefer enjoyed doing “doubles.” He liked to abduct two girls, take them into a swamp, and tie them to trees. Then he would force his victims to decide which one would die first. The psychological torture thrilled him. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1973. Schaefer was murdered by another inmate in 1995. Due to Schaefer's alleged confession, authorities recently closed the case.

July 22, 1976. Twelve-year-old Dorothy “Dee” Scofield was abducted from a parking lot in Ocala. She was last seen in a car with two men heading into the Ocala National Forest. Although the Forest was searched extensively, her body was never found. Many law enforcement officials think she was murdered and her body dumped in the Forest. [For more information about this case, read my blog entitled, “All American Girl.”]

April 18, 1984. The unidentified body of a woman was found in the Lake Dorr Recreation Area in the Forest. She was in her early twenties, weighed about a hundred pounds, and wore a black T-shirt with the prescient moniker “Here Comes Trouble” written across the front. The medical examiner estimated that she'd been dead for two-to-four weeks and had been murdered. In 2002, a traffic ticket was found dated April 17, 1984 written for confessed serial killer Michael Running. The convicted murderer lived in nearby Umatilla at the time and had a habit of dumping his victims in wooded areas near his home. Running, who is serving a life sentence in Arkansas for another murder, has never spoken to officials about the case and the girl has never been identified.

July 30, 1990. Troy Burress was a truck driver for Gilchrist Sausage Company in Ocala. When he disappeared, a search was launched. Five days later, his body was found by hikers in the Forest. He had been killed by two shots from a .22-caliber handgun. Serial killer Aileen Wuornos later confessed to the murder. She stated that he picked her up and proposed that they have sex and she became enraged and shot him. A more likely scenario is that Burress felt sorry for a lone, pathetic-looking woman hitch-hiking the dangerous Highway 40 that runs through the Forest and decided to give her a lift into town. As she did numerous times, the notorious man-hater simply decided to kill Burress for the few dollars he carried.

December 29, 1992. A hunter found a body in the Forest. The man had committed suicide using a .38-caliber pistol. [For more information on this case, see my post “Unidentified Body in Ocala National Forest."]

February 20, 1994. College students John and Pam Edwards decided to camp out in the Ocala National Forest for a couple of days. The clean-cut brother and sister were accosted by two career criminals who were squatting on Hopkins Prairie. Loran K. Cole and William Christopher Paul used a baseball bat-sized stick to beat John unconscious. Then Cole slashed John’s throat and he bled to death. He raped Pam twice and tied her to a tree in a remote location. Fortunately, she escaped and testified against him in court. Cole now sits on Florida’s death row while Paul was sentenced to life in prison. A chronic whiner, Cole continues to publish illiterate anti-death penalty “essays” on the Internet.

February 5, 2000. A troubled youth, 12-year-old Michael Wiltsie had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Opposition Defiance Disorder. He had already been arrested for battery, burglary, trespassing, and resisting a law enforcement officer when he was sent to Camp E-Kel-Etu in the Ocala National Forest. The place was designed as a “boot camp” for juveniles with criminal records. On February 5, Wiltsie attempted to assault another inmate. Joseph C. Cooley, a camp counselor, restrained Wiltsie, but in doing so choked him to death. The counselor weighed 300 pounds and Wiltsie weighed 60 pounds. A grand jury refused to indict Cooley because he was "following procedures for the safety of camp inmates."

March 5, 2000. A few months after Alicia Eakins was reported missing from St. Augustine, her boyfriend, Ralph John Faba, Jr., was discovered near the strangled body of 16-year-old Angela Durling. Faba pled guilty to murdering the girl and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Fast-forward to March, 2008. The body of Eakins was discovered in the Putnam County section of the Ocala National Forest. Faba admitted murdering her and to hanging his own father, which was staged to look like a suicide. His current release date is listed as 2063.

March 25, 2003. After an argument, Bladimir Rios stabbed Elvin Rodriguez to death. Then he and Edwardo Mercado drove the victim into the Forest and began digging a grave. Marion County sheriff’s officers found Rios’s car parked by the road and saw blood dripping from its trunk. Tracking dogs located the killers and cops arrested them. According to Mercado, Rios blamed Rodriguez for being a “snitch” and wanted to eliminate him. Rios was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Febuary 9, 2005. Lake County Deputy Wayne Koester and other officers responded to a domestic disturbance in the Ocala National Forest. Little did they know that Jason Wheeler was waiting behind a group of trees to ambush them. As the deputies walked toward the house where the call had originated, Wheeler opened fire. Deputy Koester was killed and another deputy wounded. Wheeler escaped but was tracked down by deputies and was shot in a gun-battle. Wheeler was paralyzed from the chest down. He was later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. (As far as I know, he's the only paraplegic on Florida's Death Row.)

January 4, 2006. Two college students, Amber Marie Peck and John Parker, were camping in the Forest when a man walked up and gunned them down. Leo Boatman had been in trouble most of his life and had been arrested numerous times. A few days after Christmas, he dreamed up the idea of randomly murdering someone in, of all places, the Ocala National Forest. He hitched a ride to the Forest and walked up on the unsuspecting students. Without warning, he shot them. Boatman was sentenced to life in prison.

August 27, 2006. Two-year-old Trenton Duckett was last seen in Lady Lake, Florida with his mother, Melinda Duckett. Later that day, Melinda reported that her son had been kidnapped. Because of inconsistent statements, Melinda became a suspect. According to the website on America’s Most Wanted, “Police spent several days using dogs, ATVs, and helicopters to search through the saw palmettos and slash pines of the Ocala National Forest. Dive teams searched muddy lake bottoms...” They were acting on a tip from Melinda’s lawyer in which she implied that she killed her son and discarded his body in the Forest. Trenton may well be buried in a lonely grave somewhere in that remote wilderness, but he was never found. Melinda later committed suicide.

April 21, 2007. 41-year-old Christine Wiles was last seen leaving a Belleview tavern. Later, her 1995 Chrysler New Yorker was found near Wildcat Lake in the Forest. A pool of blood in the car was matched to Wiles’ DNA. Police believe she was murdered and disposed of either in the lake or near it. Her body has not been found.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess we are the only place in the entire world that has crime..Are you a moron? You must be a moron, to write crap like this.
The Forest like any place else in this world has crime, but then if you look into Ocala, well there crime rate is much higher.
So whats the difference?
Nothing, nada. Zero.
I have lived out here for over 25 years. I am a professional in the business world, and love the peace and quiet out here. My family loves to come to our home for gatherings and family outings. "We have it made", we have fishing, skiing, ATVing, Horse back riding. All at our finger tips.
We can sit out in our backyard and have camp fires and then the luxury of walking into our home to go sleep. Not pack it all up and head back into town.
So The Forest is a great place to live. And if you want to live in a crime free place, you might as well die now because the only place your going to find that is in heaven.

Robert A. Waters said...

You're welcome to your opinion. I've lived in Ocala for most of my 64 years and enjoyed fishing the lakes and ponds and rivers in the Forest for most of that time. But a few years ago I noticed a change. I was accosted a couple of times by doped-up transients while loading up my boat. I haven't fished there since. I'm sure every place has murders and disappearances and unidentified bodies floating around but I came to the conclusion that the Forest is a dangerous place. The number of incidents speak for themselves. Here's hoping you have a long and happy life but a lot of us morons will not go back there.

Robert A. Waters

Anonymous said...

Please dont bother coming back here, We dont need people like you sullying up the place.
You just assume that the people who accosted you are from the forest but when in reality they were most likely people passing through and down on there luck. They came to you on a boat ramp looking for a few bucks and you sent them on there way.

Stay in Ocala, Please for our safety and yours.
We dont need people like you saying the crap that you said in your stupid blog. and apparently you have never lived anywhere else so crime doesnt happen anywhere but the Forest.

You need to travel old man and see the world for what it really is.
Leave the forest alone, peaceful, tranquil, lovely place for us to have!

Robert A. Waters said...

http://www.wesh.com/iteam/10321253/detail.html

You might want to check out the website that I've linked. It tells about a few of the problems law enforcement has had in the Forest. My dad was born and raised in the Forest and I fished there for years and years and loved it. The people who accosted me did more than panhandle--in one case, they stole some stuff out of my truck, and in another case they threatened me. It was only because I had a gun that I got out with life and limb. From then on, I figured it wasn't worth going back. I think there is danger lurking among the shadows in lots of areas of the Forest although there are, of course, lots of places to enjoy. I'm glad you enjoy it and hope you never face what I did. Oh, I did leave Ocala for a few years to go to college and I worked for a while in other states so I'm not quite as provincial as you say. My only point is that I choose not to go back there because of what I experienced. You have a different viewpoint. So be it.

Robert

rbraman said...

I would report Luveprecious to the US Forest service. It sounds like this business person is a forest squatter

Connie Blackburn said...

Christine Wiles is my daughter..we appreciate anyone getting her name out and trying to help us bring her home. However, the contents of this article are all wrong...
Christy was last seen by her sister, got out of her sisters car and into the the Chrysler New Yorker with Billy Jo Ashton. The car did not belong to Christy, it belonged to Ashton or his mother (not sure) and was not found in the forest by Wildcat Lake It was found in the driveway of his mothers home. We appreciate any help but please get the facts straight

Robert A. Waters said...

Hi Connie,

If you'll contact me at kmmblog@gmail.com I'd be willing to write a more detailed account of Crhistine's case.

Thanks,
Robert

garyc_sr said...

I really want to thank those who publish information regarding the "darker" side of the Ocala National Forest.

I'm a member of one of the local paranormal groups, and we have been spending a lot of time in the Forest in an attempt to substantiate some of the claims of hauntings out there.

When we have substantiation of some of the less than fortunate events that have occurred out there, it helps us get at least some idea what locations to focus on.

Thus far, we have been able to gather some photographic and audio evidence in at least one area. I won't name the location, simply because we're 1) not finished there and 2) we really don't want anyone out there "rigging" the area to give us false results!

juju said...

it's a shame that there is no place that is safe from the madness of humans. The forest is so beautiful. I looked at some property in the middle of the forest and it would be heavenly..it is at the end of a dead end road and i've been concerned for my safety there I guess I would have to get a gun..something I don't necessarily believe in. In addition to human safety I am concerned for the protection of the wildlife I hope they have no hunting zones or something out there. It's beautiful with all the springs and everything God Bless all

Adelyn said...

I stumbled on this site researching gun laws in the park. (which btw are allowed in your vehicle without a conceal carry permit or on your person with conceal permit) and I found it fascinating! Luve is in denial and probably one of those less desirable creators in the forest that cause other's property to grow legs.

Anyway, thanks for posting this, now I know I better carry my gun on me when I visit ONC next time.

DNS said...

Safest place in the world as long as you know what you are doing and you know how to protect yourself. I am out there at least 30 nights a year. I have always been very well armed and if I feel threatened I will kill you. No questions asked, if you threaten me or try and steal from me, or approach me after you are told to stay away you will be shot, then you will be fed to the gators. Yes it is like the wild west, and you have to think that way. When you enter the wilderness you and you alone are responsible for your safety. Who will you depend on to save your ass if you need help? 911 or 9mm? Think about it. If you can't handle it then it's simple, stay home.

Randy Hall said...

I'm glad I read this article and the following comments. I've been taking the forest for granted as my safe haven to escape from society and get away for some "me time" photographing wildlife and hiking. It's true though, when you're out there in the wild, you feel a complete sense of peace and tranquility amonst life in its purest form. I've encountered bears, rattlesnakes, alligators, coyotes, and even found big-cat tracks that were significantly larger than any bobcat I've ever seen. With that said, I have never been threatened by the potentially dangerous wildlife of the area.

The scariest thing I have ever encountered in the forest was a man. He came out of the woods along the Hopkins Prairie outskirts trail and looked like the epitome of a criminal. Dirty, unshaven, and built. I had never thought about it until that moment, but I was actually terrified to see a human being. He was probably harmless, I'll never know, but I was quick to move before he saw me duck into the forest where I then hurried back to my car. Ironic how encountering a human will make you feel truly part of the forest as you use it for shelter. I will armed with a knife & a gun from here on out!

James redfield said...

Just camped out there a few weeks ago. My friends car got stuck right before nightfall, and we basically set up camp in the road till his friend came and helped out. A random truck came down the road and saw us. we said we were stuck and he said oh okay and just turned around left. While I was a little pissed cuz he could of helped us. He could of turned out to be crazy, or he might of thought we were. Anywhere you go its gunna be like that forest or the city when you meet a random person you instantly put yourself in fight or flight mode. But other than that My weekend was fun. We camped near salt springs close to lake George. My friend had his 20G and I had my 12G with plenty of slugs. So we Weren't to worried. People are just paranoid and freak out about 1 incident. We're actually going back this weekend. lol and if theres anything i'm afraid its the animals not the humans because I see humans everyday I know their patterns animals are unpredictable, but amazing to see. so to all who feel afraid of "The Forest" relax and enjoy it don't fear it

James redfield said...

Just camped out there a few weeks ago. My friends car got stuck right before nightfall, and we basically set up camp in the road till his friend came and helped out. A random truck came down the road and saw us. we said we were stuck and he said oh okay and just turned around left. While I was a little pissed cuz he could of helped us. He could of turned out to be crazy, or he might of thought we were. Anywhere you go its gunna be like that forest or the city when you meet a random person you instantly put yourself in fight or flight mode. But other than that My weekend was fun. We camped near salt springs close to lake George. My friend had his 20G and I had my 12G with plenty of slugs. So we Weren't to worried. People are just paranoid and freak out about 1 incident. We're actually going back this weekend. lol and if theres anything i'm afraid its the animals not the humans because I see humans everyday I know their patterns animals are unpredictable, but amazing to see. so to all who feel afraid of "The Forest" relax and enjoy it don't fear it

S Haaland said...

I have spent a great deal of time and quiet nights in the ONF. Ashamedly, naive of most of these stories. The night immediately prior to the Boatman murders, I was in the Forest in the same area, Juniper Springs and hiking at night in an area where I had observed lots of bear activity. I heard gunshots that evening. As the story unfolded I was recounting a nearby vehicle I saw parked and shots I heard clap into the evening silence. It wasn't particularly unusual to hear shots in the forest at night but when I read the news you can imagine the chills that rose from my core. As it turned out, none of the information I had was relevant to the slayings. I definitely came off more than spooked and carried concealed when in the forest after that. Fortunately for me, I haven't had any other unusual run ins, close calls, or encounters. Having spent so much time there, I feel rather lucky. Memories I have are positive and the people I have encountered were all friendly. Most my time spent there has been around the Juniper springs area and maybe that has something to do with it. I no longer live in FL to enjoy the forest and I do miss it. Visited 2 winters ago and made a point to go through, and hike in, the forest.

elly higginbottom said...

Great blog! I stumbled upon it just recently and I've gone to the beginning and am reading oldest to newest - absolutely riveting!
Anyhow, I felt compelled to comment on how odd it is to me that people seem offended by you posting true stories, things that have actually happened in the forest. You'd think the normal reaction would be, 'thanks for the head's up! I'll be sure to be a bit more vigilant with my surroundings/personal safety.'
Thanks for the great blog!

Justin Rundle said...

I think this story is crap! I have lived in the forest for many years and have NEVER seen anything that is thought to be a danger out here. The worst thing I saw was a snake, and a bear. I do carry a firearm but have only had to use it for wildlife that became aggressive toward me. Though I do agree with the distaste toward the rainbow people they are filthy dirty, and need to wake up and get in rehab and get a job and stop infesting the damn walmart in silver springs begging for things.

SheWolf said...

I seriously have to laugh when I read the comments on this blog. All the people are so defensive and say what a perfect place the Forest is and how people are just paranoid but they always make sure to say they themselves are well armed always when they go to the Forest. I live in the Ocala National Forest. I walk out my back door and I am in the Forest. It is a very beautiful place. Its a shame people are allowed to abuse it the way they do. Its a magical place. Its also a very dangerous deadly place. Just since I moved here a couple years ago there have been several girls murdered and more than a couple people who have vanished or been brutalized out there. Its full of "rainbow people" doing what cults do. There are homeless people and criminals living out there in tents and homemade huts. They brew up gallons of meth out there daily. It's full of addicts. Then to top it off you have people of all ages from probably 12 to 80 carrying guns and hunting the poor wildlife out there. Most don't hunt for sport. You don't carry the kinds of high powered automatic rifles they carry to hunt for sport. Its a scary thing to see a kid no more than 12 or 13 walking down the dirt paths packing semi automatic rifles and hiding in the tree's carrying guns that you usually only see in the movies. The beauty of the place is all being destroyed by people leaving trash everywhere. They shoot the animals just to have something to shoot at and leave the carcass behind for the vultures. The four wheelers tear up the foot paths and take away any peace and quiet you might be trying to get. A beautiful magical place? Yes. A dangerous place? ABSOLUTELY!!! If I knew when I bought this place about all that goes on here would I choose to live here again? Not it this lifetime!

SheWolf said...

I seriously have to laugh when I read the comments on this blog. All the people are so defensive and say what a perfect place the Forest is and how people are just paranoid but they always make sure to say they themselves are well armed always when they go to the Forest. I live in the Ocala National Forest. I walk out my back door and I am in the Forest. It is a very beautiful place. Its a shame people are allowed to abuse it the way they do. Its a magical place. Its also a very dangerous deadly place. Just since I moved here a couple years ago there have been several girls murdered and more than a couple people who have vanished or been brutalized out there. Its full of "rainbow people" doing what cults do. There are homeless people and criminals living out there in tents and homemade huts. They brew up gallons of meth out there daily. It's full of addicts. Then to top it off you have people of all ages from probably 12 to 80 carrying guns and hunting the poor wildlife out there. Most don't hunt for sport. You don't carry the kinds of high powered automatic rifles they carry to hunt for sport. Its a scary thing to see a kid no more than 12 or 13 walking down the dirt paths packing semi automatic rifles and hiding in the tree's carrying guns that you usually only see in the movies. The beauty of the place is all being destroyed by people leaving trash everywhere. They shoot the animals just to have something to shoot at and leave the carcass behind for the vultures. The four wheelers tear up the foot paths and take away any peace and quiet you might be trying to get. A beautiful magical place? Yes. A dangerous place? ABSOLUTELY!!! If I knew when I bought this place about all that goes on here would I choose to live here again? Not in this lifetime!

BabyBoomerQueen said...

True---The ONF is probably an excellent place to commit murder or dump a body. Not even the dumbest serial killer or murderer would dump a body in the middle of Ocala, or any other well lit place.

But, the forest is more than just a place for social deviants to dump bodies. It is a beautiful place to live, come for hunting (animals), and for recreational purposes.

The world is a crazy place, there is crime everywhere. Little towns, big cities, none are impervious to the evils of society.

No matter where you are, you should always be concerned with personal safety. If you are not-well, you are foolish!

There are lots of people who live on the edge out here, bikers, the KKK. But, there are also just regular folks, movie stars, famous singers, the good, the bad and the ugly. Show me one place where you are 100% safe...

One story you have not heard about here---is one where someone has gone totally bonkers and randomly killed mass people. Such as with the DC shooing rampage-at their Naval shipyard, just this week. 13 people killed in a blink of an eye.

You can have your city living, it is no longer for me.

The ONF has 607 square miles of natural, beautiful forest. I have been out in the forest since 1962. I and my family have never come across any of the evil that has been reported in this blog.

Not that what has been said in this blog did not happen---and many a time I look around and wonder just how many bodies are buried out here, and will never be found.

But, I am not afraid to live out here...because I am armed and dangerous in my own home, I have a right to defend it and my person.

Evil is everywhere, there is no escaping it.

Do not let this story stop you from coming to the Ocala National Forest. It is the only park in Florida that actually runs in the black not the red. It is a lovely place to live and visit.

One thing this blog did show you and you should pay attention to is, "never let your guard down-unfortunately, evil does exists."

Sincerely,
Sharon in the Forest
(just another Forest peep)

StacieR said...

Anyone judging that this guy is making the Ocala Forest out to be worse then it is has not been informed of how serious this forrest really is a serious problem. If you come up missing and the police are even nice enough to search for you your lucky! The Ocala National Forrwst has more bodies burried in it then almost anywhere in the US. It is so large and wide spread that people just dump bodies and they are never found. Nunerous crime cases have been reopened over the last 100 yrs because of csmpers, and hunters coming across skeletal bones or decomposed bodies. They only search so long and then they throw in the towel. And he is absolutely right about the rainbow people. Years ago it was a fun family area to camp near and around the large lake and now people are terrified to even go near it.

Denise Macina said...

I live in the forest . I also go to the Rainbow Gatherings . I have been going for 25 years . Not all of them are like that !!!! Stop saying things that are not true .

Stephen Sparks said...

I grew up in Newark , New Jersey. It was also a rough place. The "Iceman" also known as Otzi, a frozen 5300 year old man found in the Italian Alps in 1991 was murdered by people. That would have been 3300 BC. At that time the world population was between 7 and 14 MILLION. Now we have almost 8 billion. Human nature hasn't changed. Carry a gun!

Steve A. Ray said...

I'm camping there soon. See you seen.

Yogi the Bear

Donna N said...

Anything can happen anywhere. Woods, forest, lakes these are all places people have used in the the past to do bad things and hide stuff so yes, arm yourself. Be aware and be cautious wherever you are.

Lisa Herrera said...

Wow Im from Texas its Crazy everywhere but this was very interesting. My heart goes out to the victims but its like Most of yal said its dangerous everywhere.

Lisa Herrera said...

Oh and its really sad people are poluting, killing, using and making drugs in this beautiful area. They are destroying the Lord's creations.

Lisa Herrera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Devlin Gillespie said...

Dear,
Mr. Waters

Thank you for making this blog post, I was researching serial killers earlier today and somehow I was lead here. (After a simple search along the lines of, "grisly murders in beautiful forests") This seems to fit almost exactly what I want! So kudos to you and keep on writing about this amazing stuff.

Sincerely,
Dev Peznickel

FL ALLEYCAT said...

Considering the forest is 673 sq miles, I think a body count of 12 in 42 years is extremely low. I excluded the homicide and the kid killed while at a boot camp as it's rather ludicrous to count them. Even though more police are murdered in small towns than in the Ocala National Forest, I did include that in the count.

The forest is beautiful. I grew up in it and spend days, nights, and weekends riding the logging trails on my horse and camping . . . alone (and I am a female). Never encountered a problem. The springs are a lot of fun for swimming and canoeing. (Yet, you're going to use two murders from 1966 as a reason to avoid the springs?)

There is no logic to your story. Such a blog can be written about ANY place with probably a much higher body count, and it doesn't have to be 673 sq miles..

Stephon Wright said...

Im in the ocala national forest. Been here fore years. The animals are dangerous but rarely attack humans unless threatened. The locals are friendly to a point. But most want to be left alone. Not saying they are gonna hurt you. Most people ive met out here over the years do tend to be convicts or fugitives though. But harmless. There are alot of thieves and the people you gotta stay away from are clearly meth addict. And theres alot of them. Keep to yourself and youll be fine. But dont let your guard down. Cops wont show up for awhile unless their in the area. Citizen patrol is a joke.

Stephon Wright said...

Im in the ocala national forest. Been here fore years. The animals are dangerous but rarely attack humans unless threatened. The locals are friendly to a point. But most want to be left alone. Not saying they are gonna hurt you. Most people ive met out here over the years do tend to be convicts or fugitives though. But harmless. There are alot of thieves and the people you gotta stay away from are clearly meth addict. And theres alot of them. Keep to yourself and youll be fine. But dont let your guard down. Cops wont show up for awhile unless their in the area. Citizen patrol is a joke.

tom said...

Just b armed all the time...

Daniel said...

I found it ironic that one of the commenters says to look at the problems law enforcement has had to deal with there when the blogger that mentioned two girls that disappeared there (didn't read on who else she said did specifically) were of something like 9 other girls that went missing there and were murdered by, guess what, a serial killing police officer, a "leo" they like to call themselves these days. So think about it: 9 killed there that would take up 9 crimes by, an officer. So if the forest is dangerous, or any, look to law enforcement as the possible criminal component. Cops are dangerous, often psychos get hired and they stay in their jobs committing crimes against citizens whether good or bad ones left and right, lying all the time, making things up. Most cops in my opinion should be executed immediately before they can run and hide like nazis on the run. Cops here in Vegas actually caused me to become homeless FIVE, TIMES, the first three times they did it it was fully illegal. Three campus cop who was playing along with UNLV sorority girls trying to steal my cats -- all of them actually caused me to become homeless from another apartment from that theft, so you can actually make that six times if you include campus cops. Police need to die.

Carol Burgener said...

Folkes had land here when I was a child. Late 50s, early 60's. Always loved the area. Our site was in front of a family ned Crawford's from Jacksonville. Never once did I fear anything in these woods. Back now after all of these years. It's changed, but still peaceful.

Bernard Martin said...

I've hiked and camped in the ONF for over 25 years. Never have I felt threatened by humans or animals. It is a wonderful place, one of the last large areas of wilderness left north of the Everglades. The killings and body disposals are unfortunate but, in the larger picture, they are rare. If anything, the greater tragedy is all the trash left behind in the forest by careless humans.

I must respond to the commenter who stated that, "wild animals are unpredictable". This is false. If you know what to look for, wild animals are very predictable. Humans, on the other hand, present false facades quite frequently. I am much more concerned about them, in the forest, than any wild creature.

Terry Parrish said...

Thanks for the great story. I'm a 4th generation native of the ONF. The Springs and Lakes, are some of the most beautiful places I know of. I take my daughter whenever I can, and am trying to help arrange a camping trip for her and her friends.

Over the years the Forest has changed, as have the people in and around it. From a place, 40 years ago, mostly inhabited by rural poor "country" types, who hunted and fished. And where you might find your car battery missing or a bullet hole in your car, if left unprotected beside the road. Hog Valley was akin to Mexico. Once their, you were safe from the law.

There have always been places you need to have your guard up, and this is one of them. Hot, isolated and large areas of uninhabited scrub-land. Not a place to run out of gas, forget AAA out here. Come prepared.

Now we are seeing the more extreme killings. Always a place to beware of some creep turning into a thrill killer, now we have the Mexican drug cartel's hitmen useing this place for a dumping ground. But that is a reflection of the times.

What you must be aware of here, now more than ever, is a couple good ol' boys turning out to be meth heads, thieves or rapist/killers that see YOU as an EASY target. There was recently a girl that came up missing after walking away from a house in the Forest. Never to be seen again.

It's a quiet, peaceful, and beautiful place to see. The best camping, fishing, and swimming on the planet. Great up close views of nature...a great place to go!!

And if you see a group of pretty young college girls and wonder if's safe for them to be out camping. Relax, it's fine. You can bet they're all well prepared.

I just hope the people that would hurt them, don't have to learn the hard way, that not everyone is a sheep. And those pretty young girls, yea, daddy taught'em to shoot when they were little, and one of them is fixing to put 2 in your chest. If you're looking for trouble.

wild coyote said...

Ive been going to rainbow gatherings since i was 16 40 now. Its not a cult but a group of many different people and personalitys. There definitely are some ruffians in the group. Most the people have a good heart.mean crazy people suck. So few to make humanity look bad:)

lolz said...

There's an easy lesson here: young women shouldn't go hiking alone in a huge, unpoliced forest with a reputation for being sketchy.

Truth is that girls seek it out, though, as determinedly as Calhoun's rats in the "behavioral sink". They like bad boys who give them drugs - their fault - better luck next life.

Anonymous said...

You can update the murders to include Andy Parrish of Interlachen, Fl. After his murder they tried to dump his body in the Forest.

gunio poyuki said...

If I were a murderer in the area, I would look for a big, un-policed, wooded area to dump the body. It is not necessarily the forest itself as a dangerous area. ANY WOODED area is THE place to hide a body. If it has gators....all the better. Why blame the forest? I have read that line for 60 years. You know, the one that says, "The body was found in a wooded area...." about a hundred times or more all over the world, not just in the forest.

ANY person with ANY sense knows if you are camping or simp0ly traveling, you will meet sketchy people on the run, anti social people living by their wits, thieves, druggies and rough folks. This is true if you stick to the rest areas on public frigging highways! Of course it is true of any large wooded area not yet ruined by the government and regulated by the criminals known as police. For those who cannot understand the nature of being self sufficient and living with nature, carrying a weapon for safety, being responsible for what you leave behind, leaving no footprint, not desecrating the land, etc., stay in your comfortable box and never venture out.

The climate of distrust is incited by the media. They will not rest until we all hate and distrust each other and think law enforcement will save us. For the record, they won't. More and more people are moving off grid and throwing away devices and conventional means of living because of the corruption of this country and its ownership by the corporations who control it. Mass disapproval of this lifestyle is foolish. Those who prepare now with solar panels and composting toilets, etc., will stand a better chance of not going to jail or otherwise being fined, feed or taxed into the poor house for trying to live what remains of the American dream. To the thieves, meth lab makers and murderers, I would show you no mercy if I find you first in the forest. To the rest, just trying to enjoy life (what a concept!), I would help you, feed you and defend you against the menace (whether that be a government or civilian menace.) I am an old, white, tax paying, voting lady with a college degree, a job and a home. My camping van with solar panels, composting toilet and weapons awaits its launch in the next year or two. So sick of the government and media playing us all like a bunch of lemmings. Wake up. Its not the forest. Its the decline of life as we know it, brought to you by the US government and the businesses who own it.

Unknown said...

Ocala is the arm pit f Florida! Never have I seen such filth, inbreeding or unhealthy people! It is more than obvious that wired stuff occurred there when you look at what lies next to it. If you hang around fish you come up smelling like one. It simply is what it is pure nasty pure trash-

noopysma said...

I've never been to Florida but almost everyone I know has. Many people I've gone to school with have retired there. I will likely visit at some point but I could never move there. It seems to be a place where people migrate to in the Eastern US....both good & bad, because of the weather. I worked for a woman who owned a winter property there for many, many years. She recently sold her property because she is done with FL as a place to live. She had said, in the last decade or so, the crime has become really bad there. It prompted her to buy a gun and take classes to learn how to use it. Sounds like a nice place to visit but don't wander around outside the touris-y areas.

oldhorse said...

The forest has long been my place of reverie and reflection. I have ridden my horse, alone, there for decades. I no longer go far from home, alone, as I realize I could not defend myself from an armed crazy. It is so sad that this is the case. In the last decade I have encountered naked men, rainbows blasted out of their minds, trucks full of drunks ready to chase a woman on a horse and others who did not look like the normal hikers, hunters, campers and nature lovers. I feel that I have lost my place of alone time and peace. I thought that I was far enough from the cities and their issues to be fairly safe, but safety is only an illusion in these times. I am sad for the coming generations.

Dave M said...

On Saturday, March 24, my wife and I (we are in our 60’s) set out for an overnight hike from Farles Prairie to Clearwater Lake. We left our RV at in the manager’s parking lot (for a fee) at Clearwater Lake because we were told not to park overnight at the Florida Trail trailhead, due to reports of vandalism there.

We decided to hike past the campground at Alexander Springs since it was full and it was still early in the afternoon. About 4 miles south of Alexander Springs we came across a cleared spot that had a campfire area and some logs for sitting. It was next to a narrow, 2 rut vehicle trail. We decided to stop there for the night since it was almost sunset, and then we would hike the remaining 6 miles to Clearwater Lake the next morning. There was no cell phone reception.

After we set up our tent and were cooking dinner, a white 4X4 king cab pickup came driving up slowly, stopped and turned around just past our tent. The two thirty-something men looked over to us and announced that if we heard gunfire, not to worry, they were going turkey hunting soon. They said “you will be fine”. Then they drove back the way they came. Sadly, we did not get a tag number.
Shortly after that, a shirtless man rode by on a bicycle on the Trail, saw my wife but not me, and asked her if she was alone. He stopped a couple of hundred yards past to smoke a cigarette.

About 30 minutes later, we heard a gunshot.
Knowing of stories where hikers have been murdered in the Ocala National Forest, we became very uncomfortable and decided to leave and hike the rest of the way to Clearwater Lake in the dark. There was enough moonlight to see the trail and we thought that would be nice.

About a mile later, we saw two pickup trucks coming up a dirt road towards where we were on the trail. One was the white one that we first saw. When they stopped 100 yards away from us, we turned off our headlamps, stood still and watched. Then they started moving again, shining lights into the woods. At that point we decided we did not want to be seen and no longer walked with our lights on. Began to wonder if we were the turkeys they were hunting…

The next couple of miles we crossed more dirt roads, seeing several trucks in the area, slowly driving by. Then we came to another road, saw headlights coming and waited behind some trees for them to pass. We had to stop and go back to the trees multiple times because now there were 6 trucks! Again, one of them was the white truck we first encountered. They would slow down where the Florida Trail crossed the road, and then roar off. We crossed that road and saw a couple of trucks pass the Trail behind us.
Now we are just 2 miles from Clearwater Lake when we are approaching another dirt road, and notice a flashlight moving towards us, ON THE TRAIL! We got off the Trail and went into the recently burned area and hid behind some bushes. The person with the flashlight slowly and silently walked up to about where we left the trail, then turned and slowly went back to the road. This took about 20 minutes. We were 200 yards from the road and 50 yards from the trail, out of sight. It was 10:30 at night.
Totally freaked out now, we broke out our sleeping bags and laid there until 1:30 in the morning, as a number of trucks continued to drive by for hours, some stopping, and then peeling off loudly. Sometimes we could hear their voices. Then there were no more trucks we could hear and we got up and walked the last two miles without incident. We had to cross 5 more vehicle trails, and we were very nervous every time we had to cross one.
We never saw a park ranger or any law enforcement on the entire Florida Trail area in the Ocala National Forest during the 4 days we hiked there, from Hidden Pond to Clearwater Lake. With no cell phone reception, there was no way to get help. That area between Alexander Springs and Clearwater Lake had numerous areas close to residences and roads. It felt like a lawless frontier. We will never night hike or solo camp there again.

SheWolf said...

I know how you feel. I am trying to sell my property that backs up to the forest. People come up from trails behind my house out of the forest all the time at all hours of the day and night. They cook meth back there. Thank you for sharing your story.

Bernard Martin said...

Hey Dave, I'm sure that was not a fun experience at all. I've been backpacking in the ONF for about 20 years and have had a couple of scrapes with the local party boys but nothing involving personal danger. I have learned to stay far away from forest roads on Friday/Sat nights because that's when the drunken stuff happens. I would never stay at a drive up campsite, no matter what day of the week. These are party spots, more than camp spots for the locals.

Patti Lewis said...

The author is just telling the stories of the ppl killed or missing in the forest. Im sure your place is beautiful but danger is all around. I don't believe the author is a moron...just writing about instances.

chris zaworski said...

Wow, it makes me sad to see the amount of people who think ONF is a truly dangerous place. As it has been stated in previous comments, the death toll in the forest is extremely low when compared to surrounding cities. Sure, it could happen, but it could happen anywhere. I’ve camped in the forest numerous times, unarmed except for a knife (which, I’ll admit, is a little naive), and have never experienced anything even remotely dangerous. I’ve encountered rainbow people who came out of the forest looking completely rugged and smelling like piss, but they simply nodded and continued on their way. And it’s also funny that someone commented that there are “more bodies hidden here than anywhere in the US,” when there is zero evidence to substantiate that claim and considering that there are much bigger and more remote forests in the US, that wouldn’t even make sense. The point I’m trying to make is that if you LOOK for evidence to support the claim that the forest is dangerous, you will be able to find it. But you could do that with any place. If you look for forums talking about the peace, tranquility, and serenity of the forest, you will also be able to find that. The world is what you make of it. Just don’t be a fool, travel in pairs, and avoid extremely desolate parts of the forest if you’re apprehensive. Places like Hopkins prairie, for example, are usually crowded with campers and there is even a host that comes around at night to check on the campsites and make sure everyone is safe. I’ve had a more life threatening encounter driving down Parramore street near downtown Orlando in the broad daylight than hiking the forest at night. There are crazies everywhere, but as long as you are vigilant, it is very unlikely that you will experience an encounter like those described in the article.

Urban Woodswalker said...

I for one am extremely grateful for the author and this article. I have spent decades in the woods hiking alone, as a single female. I never carried a weapon, and do not come from a state where guns were accepted, promoted taught, or carried.(except until only recently). I have lived in a mega city where there is gang violence in certain areas, I have worked and lived in those areas. I have hit the floor as AK 47s go off in the parking lot next door. I have seen people shoot and kill each other right before my eyes. The police in my mega city are also very prone to shooting first ask questions later. But I still do not carry a gun and I have felt safe! I am now 62, and still do not feel guns are suitable for ME. I can and am safe, but this article lets me know I am certainly never going to be prepared to visit this Ocala, or any other national forest.

Now, the comments above calling the author names and using a very tired old argument that it’s safe in the woods, or that there is crime everywhere are plain stupid. For one, Getting killed i. The mega city is usually quick...you are shot and you die. The city is so enormous, and with millions of people, the chances are very small that anything will ever happen.

Now, being alone in a national forest, with no emergency services, no cell phone, miles from help, and being confronted by people who might torture and rape you FOR DAYS before killing you— now that is far more scary than any gang violence. Or mass shooters. In MY OPINION. A bunch of drunken men “trying to run down a woman on a horse,” frankly scares the crap out of me.

I was surprised at all the folks here who go “night hiking” in the National forest. That seems to me, a recipe for extreme danger. I won’t do that anywhere. Even carrying a gun doesn’t make one safe all the time. It gives one a false sense of confidence. One can still be outnumbered. One can still not be calm enough to assess the situation, and act correctly. There have been times in my life I would have used a gun, if it had been on me...and subsequently, might have wound up in jail for a very long time. That self defense line doesn’t always go well in a court of law.

I go to the woods for peace, silence, quietness, beauty, and escape from humans. I keep hearing (from many sources) how the National forests are becoming these places of severe poverty, drug use, and havens for serial killers, criminals, thieves, and drunken rowdy rednecks. They are not safe, and the comparison to city life is not even a reasonable argument. This is MY opinion. Why do people feel they must denigrate others when research, news articles, and eye witness accounts tell the full truth? Some of the comments here are just plain ignorant. For what reasons, I can only fathom that they want to save their real estate values.

Urban Woodswalker said...

Forgot to mention this- which I truly believe: “"A gun may falsely empower its possessor to overreact, instigating and losing otherwise tractable conflicts with similarly armed persons. Along the same lines, individuals who are in possession of a gun may increase their risk of gun assault by entering dangerous environments that they would have normally avoided. Alternatively, an individual may bring a gun to an otherwise gun-free conflict only to have that gun wrested away and turned on them." https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/mar/25/guns-protection-national-rifle-association

Bernard Martin said...

Urban Woodswalker, thanks for your comments. I do find it somewhat interesting, though, that you mentioned you've been hiking in the woods for decades and, unless I'm mistaken, have not been attacked in the manners you mentioned.

Every National forest has it's "bad" areas, usually close to the roads. Bad guys don't like to walk far. The worst thing, that I recall, that happened far from the roads in Ocala NF was about 17 or so years ago when a mentally ill guy with a gun killed two campers at hidden pond. He walked about six miles from Juniper Springs.

Lisa Herrera said...

Lol your crazy! But you have the right to your opinion!

Lisa Herrera said...

I love reading about the forest it's just so sad that it can't be enjoyed!

Urban Woodswalker said...

As I get older, I am less impulsive and wiser. One bad experience can traumatize a person for life, right? I keep doing stupid, what are the odds that stupid will not eventually turn out badly? Just because it has not happened....it certainly has for the people mentioned in these, and in stories all over the news. Go ahead and tempt fate, play with fire. It’s fun and relaxing...until it’s not.

I truly appreciate this blog and it’s comments f on all sides.

tom said...

If you go into the forest have 4 or more with you & all be armed.

RatherNotSay said...

I saw a man (mid-20’s - early 30’s) 2 nights ago at the 24 hour Mobil station on route 40 in Silver Springs. It was about 11:30pm. He had crazy-looking eyes, wearing a hoodie, and dirty clothes. He was standing by the side of the building, away from the light. I got a weird vibe as I went into the store. When I walked out of the store, I noticed the bike but he wasn’t standing there. So I glanced at the contents of the baskets in the front and the back of the bike. In the front basket, there were several heavy, sharp, and/or blunt tools such as a tire iron and a crowbar. They all looked dirty, possibly Rusty or even maybe bloody. The basket in the back of the bike that had a VERY REAL looking HUMAN SKULL that was cracked. It also looked as if it had dried blood on it. Then I saw him walk from out behind the dumpster towards the bike. I immediately got in my car, locked the door and drove off. I checked back with the clerk the next day to make sure he was safe. he never even saw the man. However, an acquaintance of mine has also spotted him in that same area, on that bike, and got the same suspicious vibes. Best case scenario, he is a homeless person who is probably mentally ill (and/or a meth addict) and has a fascination with morbidity. Worst case... I get the chills just thinking about it. Should I report this to the county sheriff? I don’t know what to do but I am afraid to go to that area after dark, and I have lived in major cities all over the country, sometimes in what we consider to be rough areas, and I’ve never felt this scared

Unknown said...

I live in the forest and it is peaceful and quiet, how someone could go on an on Trenton Duckets grandparents live in the villages,, there is crime everwhere why single out "the forest"...

Unknown said...

I agree to all of the above, nature, animals, very peaceful

Leesha said...

OMG. You should have reported him to the police that night.

Leesha said...

I live in the forest near the Putnam County line. I love the peacefulness and the wildlife but the forest is extremely creepy at night. I drive thru the forest to pick up my son from work in Putnam and there is definitely a eerie feeling at night. I understand the author's point in the article, which is that some of the missing people have never been found and were last seen near the forest. The forest has many secluded trails, swamps, and endless acreage where a person could get in and get out undetected.

Lisamarie1250 said...

These people who are dumping bodies out in the Forrest have no heart. It so sad! They are out there killing people who have families (Mothers, fathers, siblings, children and ect. Wondering where they are! They should atleast leave the person where they could be found so that they could have a proper burial and at least the family can start the healing process.

Urban Woodswalker said...

Lisamarie1250, that’s quite the silly comment! Murders don’t care- They don’t “have hearts”..,that’s why they murder! Why in earth would they care to let the family know? Burying someone deep in the forest allows them to get away with the crime.

Blue Ghost said...

So where should the police investigate these murders? And if you really care, and know about it; why don't you try to stop them? Why don't you get the Police involved with your statements of Murder in the Forest?! Sounds like a bunch of hooey and toad shit. And gives way to your reconnecting to the murder you may commit. Turn yourself in. And do it now. You are a coward, who just wants to commit very bad crimes? Does that make you feel good? How do you know the FBI has actually got you under surveillance? You don't. But you are. May you rot in the Forest among all the corps you have killed, and may you too die in all the pain you have caused others! I believe that is what you want. Because you are a coward and afraid to come clean, admit to an heinous crime. I pray you and your sick mind will burn in hell, and your soul will rot in eternity; never to reincarnate again on a peaceful planet! Demon, be gone!

Terry Parrish said...

Ghost not sure who you are talking to. I'm pretty sure no killers are following this blog. You sound more like one of the killers trying to get people agitated.

People should know that there are many hikers that go through the ONF. There is a Boy Scout Camp in Paisley that host 1000's of them in the summer. I've had 50 of them show up at Farless Prairie at dusk and pitch tents. They are up and gone when the sun comes up. They also have the Florida trail that cuts almost 100 miles through the forest along with a 100 mile horse trail. There are a large number of campsites, springs and lakes & sinkholes that are now lakes. I grew up going to Blue sink as a kid. Now you have to park and walk to it.

There are lots of jeep trails as well as 4 wheeler trails. 4 wheelers are restricted to certain areas. It is also illegal to make your own trail with a jeep or 4 wheel drive vehicle, anywhere in the forest. Many years ago you could make a "Hunting Buggy" that did not need to meet the same standards as vehicles on the roads. Now every vehicle needs to be tagged and licensed.

You can come to the ONF and be perfectly safe. Just remember you need a vehicle that will not break down. It needs to have plenty of gas and if you are going to be driving on trails, it needs to be a 4 wheel drive. This is not the place to learn how to drive through deep sand or mud. Better to stay on the main roads! Stick to the main areas of the forest. Come during the week or have a larger group on the weekends. Tell friends where you are going and when you will be back. Most of these high use areas are patrolled by Forest Rangers. There are Deputy Sheriffs at many of the springs. Camping at a designated campsite is plenty safe. Do not leave valuables in site. Lock your vehicles. And be sure not to leave food in your area at night. There are bears and just had one recently that was slashing tents looking for food. Black bears are very dangerous. They are the only species of bear that will encircle and attack you if it thinks you are following it. Never approach bear cubs!! There will be a mother close by.

Use common sense and do not make yourself an easy target. Yes, on Friday and Saturday nights there are many locals that go out in the forest and go 4 wheeling, or party at the lakes. But you can never tell who is just someone having a good time or a predator. Walking in the woods on the weekends down isolated trails at night is a recipe for trouble. And it never hurts to have a gun. There are gators and bears and when sick or hungry can be a threat.

Enjoy this place and do not give these sickos an opportunity to commit a crime. We'll all be fine!

Urban Woodswalker said...

I keep coming back to read more comments. I honestly do not understand “night hiking” in this place, nor any woods anywhere. Between wildlife, and even tripping/potential fall, let alone undesirable humans lurking out in the middle of nowhere, I don’t understand why this is a welcomed activity. I am a hiker, who has endured a couple of night hikes only due to miscalculating the distance I was from the car, getting lost off the trail, and having to find my way back. It was difficult and unpleasant. What is up with this activity? Also, why would anyone shoot guns off at night in a natural area? I understand the “local” drunken parties (though absolutely hate them), but what is with shooting guns at night? I hear guns going off in the forests near my home too, and I am thinking what animal is being illegally poached, or what human is being killed?

To deny that murders do happen in wilderness areas, and national forests...as some folks do here in the comments...is just plain ridiculously naive. It doesn’t matter if murders happen elsewhere too...they are happening right in your own Forest. Stop denying it. It happens. It’s doesnt matter if they happen elsewhere in cities, or wherever. It is happening in YOUR forest too. Accept that as it is fact. Violence happens in wilderness areas because there is no one around to witness it.

greysuit said...

Urban Woodswalker, night hiking is common in warmer areas for obvious reasons. It's not for everyone. In nearly 30 years of hiking, day and night, in ONF I have never run across a bunch of drunk guys shooting guns on the Florida Trail. Yes, I've heard guns going off at night and some hunters wait by small ponds in the forest and use night-vision scopes to hunt. I have seen hunters "spotlighting" from their trucks on forest roads but none of these things mean violence towards humans is occurring.

If you look back at the statistics of murders that occurred in the forest, say 20 years worth, that number is practically nothing compared to murders that have happened in Ocala over the same period. I feel much safer out in the forest at night than in my local city, it's not even close.

"Stop denying it. It happens. It’s doesnt matter if they happen elsewhere in cities, or wherever. It is happening in YOUR forest too. Accept that as it is fact. Violence happens in wilderness areas because there is no one around to witness it."

The idea that violence happens, even if no one sees it, is pure speculation. Unless there are facts to back up these unknown murders or acts of violence then it is called, "shooting the breeze".

Urban Woodswalker said...

Greysuit, it sounds like you condone (or at least accept) illegal activities in the forest at night. Hunting by spotlight at night is illegal. If that’s ok by you then ok. However, forensics, and police/ coroner’s reports often have the data and factual documentation of bodies and murders in forests, natural areas and wilderness. There is a great deal of information out there. Feel safe. No one is denying your feelings. Others do not feel safe....read of of the other accounts of people that live next to or inside of forests, state parks, etc and one gets a very different picture.

I would imagine that even in your Forest, some areas are more safer than others, and that’s usually where people all get the notion that it’s “all” safe. Where I live it gets very hot too. We do not expect to hike at night (trip and falls, wildlife encounters as well as human encounters all happen in the dark night).
There have been bodies, human skulls, bones, etc found on a regular basis over the past decades in my region’s natural areas. . But again, you are entitled to your feelings, and I will stick with mine also. If you feel it’s safe, despite evidence of crime and illegal activities, so be it.

Lisamarie1250 said...

Urban Woodswalker silly comment? Really? Sounds like you have something in common with the Murders. Figure it out since your the expert! No one said that they should care to let family know. Maybe you need to read my comment several times so you can get it!

Lisamarie1250 said...

Blue👻 You never know who is reading our comments, it can be a murder. Im sure hundreds of people have read this article.And to those who dont like Its called Freedom of speech. So you and I can type whatever our pretty little hearts desire!

Urban Woodswalker said...

Lisa Marie, Some of us work in law enforcement, or in the justice system in a mental health or criminologist capacity. Familiarity with criminal behavior does not make one a criminal. Odd comments, such as yours, are to taken lightly. They make no sense. You asked that those committing murders leave the bodies around to be found. I doubt few would do that intentionally. And of course they are lacking in empathy, “heart,” and considerations. That’s how they are able to murder. What you asked above...would be the same as asking a pig to fly. It makes absolutely no sense.

Lisamarie1250 said...

Urban woodswalker I stated what I wished for! It wasnt a question. I am in Law enforcement.

Terry Parrish said...

Urban Woodswalker. As I reread these comments, I agree with most all of the things you have said here. And you mentioned that you are in the Criminal Justice System. But I must say when you post information from the Guardian that says you are more likely to be shot if you have a gun, along with the other anecdotal evidence that supposedly proves their point, you are doing a serious disservice to people that may be considering getting a firearm.
I'm sure you can find plenty of people in your field that disagree with that notion. Save for a select few that do not work day to day around LEO's or the criminals the are responsible for catching. I have also worked in Law Enforcement for a number of years and made many Felony arrests. I have never heard any Law Enforcement Officer that would make that statement unless it was someone that was not physically or mentally capable. 20% of US soldiers that have been in combat will purposely not fire their weapons, even when their own lives are at stake. This is taken from the current book I am reading, "On Killing" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. These are the people that do not need guns. While it is your prerogative and right to not carry a gun and pass your opinions onto others. I would suggest people make that decision for themselves. A gun has no life of its own. It will not taunt criminals or coax the owners into brazen displays of their firearms. Also just the fact that "some" members of society carry a firearm, everyone benefits when criminals know they may encounter someone trained and licensed to carry a firearm.
I am sure there will be some that feel better knowing that when the visit the ONF.

Urban Woodswalker said...

Well, you made a lot of unfounded assumptions.. Which is not good forensic criminologist minded behavior for a law enforcement officer. While I worked within the justice system, I was never an enforcement officer. Neither did I say anything about carrying guns. Most law enforcement officers have worked cases at some point where someone over reacted while having a gun in their possession, and let emotions rather than rationality allow for unfortunate consequences. Also, every officer eventually handles a case where someone was overpowered, and the gun is wreathed away from them. Perhaps you are in a smaller rural town and have never experienced situations like this, but I assure you these are common occurrences. So, yes, the Guardian statement holds factual, documentable truths.

Also where did I state anywhere that I “do not carry?” One of the rules of carrying firearms is not to disclose publicly that you do. As for “brazen displays” .....that happens in my county and the collar counties all the time, as there is a lot of gang activity. I think you need to visit the larger cities of this country to get a more rounded viewpoint of just how many gun carrying folks are diverse....in mental and emotional mindsets. If everything was as logical as you purport here, we would not be having so many mass shootings in the news these days. Or gang bang killings. Or serial killers. Or domestic violence issues involving guns. You cannot ignore these things...unless you are policing the smallest rural town, and don’t watch national news. Good day, Sir.

Unknown said...

Hugs....I live out here too. :)

Unknown said...

I'm looking at a little home in salt springs. It sounds wonderful there but after reading this I'm wondering if it's a good choice. I'll be there with my young grandchildren when I'm on vacation . Will we be safe?

Lisamarie1250 said...

Idk the area.Good luck unknown and keep protection near by.

greysuit said...

Unknown, of course. The area is safe and you would not have to take any precautions there than in any other safe area.

Terry Parrish said...

Unknown, Salt Springs is a nice area. It is a pretty well populated area so most of the locals probably keep an eye out for suspicious activity. And there are activities to do in the area, surrounded by the ONF and many boating opportunities, even to get out to the Atlantic. It is a haul for groceries unless there has been a store opened that area.

greysuit said...

Just FYI, the grocery store/ gas station next to Salt Springs Park has re-opened.

Donna N said...

I hope so. Just be very aware of your surroundings. I have driven through there a bunch and sometimes. stop to get gas but it's not really a place you want to stay at. There isnt much there. Lots of Pretty deer. Visit? yes but Not alone in the woods. stay? I wouldn't