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The Unsolved Disappearance of Jared Negrete

The Unsolved Disappearance of Jared Negrete

Jared Negrete was a 12-year-old boy who went missing while on a hiking expedition with his Boy Scout group in the San Bernardino National forest. He has been missing for over 30 years.

Jared Michael Negrete was born on September 11, 1978 in El Monte, California. He was in 8th grade and just 2 months away from his 13th birthday when he disappeared.

On July 19, 1991, Jared went on a camping trip with his Boy Scout group on Mount San Gorgonio in the San Bernardino National forest. The group consisted of one scout leader and 6 children, including Jared. The plan was that the group would hike to the peak of the mountain, then go back to the base camp and spend a night there.

Mount San Gorgonio

As the group hiked up the mountain, Jared somehow became separated from them. Another group of hikers claimed to have seen Jared shortcutting the switchbacks on the trail, and advised him against this. Switchbacks are when trails have a “zig-zag” pattern going up a steep incline; shortcutting occurs when hikers try to walk straight through the trail instead of staying on the path. This can be dangerous to hikers as it can loosen the soil and destroy the path that is already created, as well as leading hikers in the wrong direction.

Example of a “switchback” trail

When the second group made it to the peak, they alerted Jared’s scout leader that he wasn’t in the group, as the first group already made it to the peak without him. Jared’s scout leader said he would get him once the group made their way back down, as he apparently told Jared to sit and wait for the group because he was struggling to keep up.

When the group eventually made their way back down the mountain, Jared was nowhere to be found. After a brief search, the scout leader took the rest of the group back to the base and then hiked about 5 miles to find help. Around midnight, the group leader found the park rangers, who initiated one of the biggest search and rescues’s in the park’s history. As the temperature had dropped to the low 50s by then, the park rangers worked quickly to find Jared.

Hundreds of search and rescue teams from nearby counties came together to search for Jared by land and air. On the third day of the search, a footprint was found matching the shoes that Jared had worn that day. As searchers narrowed the search area down to where the footprint was found, they found beef jerky and candy wrappers, thought to have been left by Jared. They also found Jared’s disposable camera and his backpack.

As searchers investigated his belongings, they found the last known photo of Jared taken by himself. The photo was a close up of his face, with only his eyes and nose showing, and a dark background. It is believed that Jared was trying to use the flash from his camera as a light as it began to grow dark.

The last photo of Jared Negrete

Despite the search and discovery of his belongings, Jared was nowhere to be found. The search continued for a span of 19 days, but nothing more ever came of it, and was eventually put to an end.

It has been over 30 years and no other traces of Jared have ever been found. Jared was 5’2″ and weighed 150lbs. The day he went missing, he was wearing a traditional Boy Scout uniform with green pants, a tan t-shirt, and black hightop shoes; he also wore glasses with brown rims. Without any trace of him, there are several possibilities of what exactly happened to Jared. Hopefully in the coming times, something will be found to give Jared’s family closure on what happened to him.