Arkansas - Devil's Den State Park

About Devil's Den State Park

In 1946, Katherine Van Alst was eight years old. She was with her family for a day of fun at Devil's Den Dam in Arkansas. While playing with her brothers in the washout, Katherine went missing. After an extensive search, she was found 6 days later sitting in a cave, 7 air miles away, 600 feet higher in elevation. The search and rescue team estimated that Katherine, a barefoot 7 year old girl wearing nothing but a bathing suit, would have to have covered between 20 and 30 miles to reach that location on foot.

As you look at the location panos and slides, pay attention to the exact area where Katherine was last seen. Notice the boulders and proximity to the tree line. Keep in mind that the forested side of the river goes up at a very sharp angle. It's unlikely that Katherine would have climbed out of the river herself. As I visit these locations documented in the David Paulides book series, Missing 411, I can't help but notice a few things.

In many of the cases David writes about, the people go missing with other people very close to them who notice they are gone within a short period of time, usually a few minutes. Whatever took Katherine was hunting her. As a hunter myself, usually short to medium range prey is first located by sound. At that point, a hunter would maneuver into a better position to watch the prey or wait for it to enter a zone where the hunter can overpower it.

In many of the cases where people go missing, there are rivers, streams, and creeks. After standing in these areas, I noticed that each had an abundance of natural sound. Water makes noise as it flows and falls. These sounds would naturally mask a predator maneuvering into position.

I also noticed that many of the locations had a feature that would have allowed a hunter to be very close and not be seen. While walking the trail in the Rockies where Alfred Beilhartz went missing, I was forced to pass directly by many large boulders on the trail that could have easily hid an attacker. In Georgia where Christopher Tompkins went missing, the tree line by the fence could easily mask an attacker.

Look closely at the area where Katherine went missing - use the fullscreen feature and hide all the buttons on the screen. Are there any areas where a hunter could hide, be able to reach Katherine, and get away without anyone seeing them? I think, whatever is doing this must already be in or able to get to a hidden position where they can overpower their target from a distance of about 4 feet.

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