There are believed to be more than 100 people who have gone missing, intentionally and not, on Kauai. A most recent high-profile person to go missing on Kauai was Day Of Our Lives Actor James Lastovic, who, together with a roommate, Nevin Dizdari, were later found safe. And thus the subject returned to mind one year to the day that we last reported on it.
A week ago today the two men went missing and when they didn’t make their return flight to Los Angeles the next day, an investigation began. They had apparently inquired at the Hanalei Bay Resort about both diving off the rock at Shipwreck Beach and about long hikes in enigmatic Kokee State Park where they were located. One thing about hiking at Kokee is that most trails are out of cell phone range.
The bizarre history of disappearances on Kauai.
We’ve long been both intrigued and troubled about the ongoing saga of persons who seemingly vanish into thin air here on the Garden Island. There are believed to be some 100 missing people still not found on Kauai.
Last year’s unsolved case of Samuel Martinez.
The 23-year-old University of Nebraska microbiology student went missing on Kauai. He was reported missing two days later “by his wife” when he failed to return.
Lacking any clues, the search was suspended when police said, “with no other leads, there’s no active search occurring at this time.” Thereafter, a pack believed to belong to the young man was found in Kokee State Park. As a result, police began a new search plan. The visitor intended to spend two weeks on Kauai camping and hiking but failed to take his return flight.
A year after his disappearance, his family held a celebration of life. An obituary said, “Last May at this time, our son, Samuel Martinez, traveled to Kauai to spend time reading, thinking, and exploring. We last heard from him on May 13, the day after he arrived on the island. With the help of many experts, volunteers, family, and friends, we have spent the greater part of the last year looking for him. We believe Samuel is with God now.”
Samuel’s wife has rarely been mentioned and her name was not in the obituary. There may have been an error in the original reporting mentioning his wife.
Did Samuel Martinez have an accident, or was his disappearance intentional?
People don’t want to be found on Kauai.
One such example is Alex Gumm. The 25-year-old told no one he was heading to Kauai back in 2018, and after just one day at a shanty hostel in Kapaa, he vanished. With a newly shaven head and a vow of silence, he has never been seen again. He arrived on Kauai from Maine on February 28.
Police say that he never used his cell phone after he disappeared, nor did he access any of the $8,000 he had left in a bank account. Before traveling 5,000 miles to Kauai, he researched food foraging and found natural drinking water sources.
It is widely believed that Alex Gumm chose to disappear, and, so far, it seems that he has been successful.
A comment by an alleged friend of Alex, Ian, said: “I am Alexander Gumm’s friend who organized the search for him and went to Kauai in November 2019 to look for him. Alex was absolutely obsessed with Lemuria, Pleiadeans, and the Sirius star system. He was without a doubt the most knowledgeable person I knew about metaphysics, alchemy, hermetic philosophy, and overall high strangeness. What is interesting to me is that I had no idea until a year after we returned that Lemuria was connected to Kauai until…”
Why do people disappear so easily on Kauai?
Reasons for disappearance can be sinister, and some of those missing have indeed later been found dead. Others, however, have seemingly managed to escape from the world here on Kauai.
Tourism homelessness is on the increase.
Many people show up on the island with not much more than a one-way ticket to get here. Some become WWOOFers, who work on organic farms and receive food and lodging daily. Others have opted for seemingly the ideal climate to live on beaches when they can.
It remains possible to live off the land entirely here, and if you are resourceful enough, to fish, hunt, and gather. But it isn’t easy.
The situation has been much the same here for the past half-century or more, with those coming to live their dream of an alternative life with little to no responsibilities. But it is fraught with dangers.
Remember Taylor Camp?
Taylor Camp was a small north shore Kauai settlement that sprang up in 1969. It grew to have 120 residents on seven acres at its peak. It started with a group of hippies who sought refuge from the mainland. After being arrested as vagrants, Elizabeth Taylor’s brother, Howard, bailed them out and settled them on his beachfront property. The county years later closed down the camp.
Remnants of a life similar to that at Taylor Camp still exist today on all the Hawaiian Islands, and it may, in fact, be growing.
Kauai to this day remains largely inaccessible except by ocean or on foot.
You may learn a great deal when researching this alternative type of life on Kauai. Some say that Kauai is the modern-day site of ancient Lemuria, a mythological continent that was said to be inhabited by aliens from another star system. Some people come to Kauai in search of that dream or for another one, but ultimately encounter a harsh reality or worse.
Have you heard of Lemuria?
Some believe Lemuria or Mu to have been a continent that was heaven on earth. Lemurians are said to have been an evolved race that lived millions of years ago. Lemurian life was harmonious, with equality for all living things and a deep reverence for nature. Lemurians were healers.
The location of Lemuria has been placed between Southern India and Southern Africa. It is also thought to have existed in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with pockets of places such as Hawaii and other Pacific islands containing to this day, the essence that is Lemuria. Some say that Kauai is now the capital of Lemuria. Lemuria has been described much like Kauai in terms of the spectacular ocean with whales and dolphins, verdant mountains, luscious fruits, beautiful flowers, and that sense of the Garden of Eden.
“Love Has Won” Kauai cult was also said to be related to Lemuria.
You may recall that soon after the group arrived on Kauai’s north shore in 2020, residents showed up to demonstrate against it. The group’s leader called members to join her in Hawaii in order to travel through a “portal to Lemuria.”
The group’s Wainiha north shore rental ended abruptly when the home and a vehicle were vandalized as more than 100 demonstrators encircled the home and demanded that the Colorado cult group leave Kauai.
Kauai’s mayor even showed up at the scene to negotiate an agreement for the group to leave the island via a police escort to the airport. Love Has Won’s “divine leader” was Amy Carlson, often referred to as either “mother” or as the Hawaiian goddess “Pele.” The group believes that actor Robin Williams became a follower of theirs following his death.
The leader died last year at age 41. Up to 20 Love Has Won members lived with Amy at the time of her death. Her decaying body was found inside the group’s headquarters. For a time there were charges pending against seven members of the group in connection with her corpse. There’s also a report from Amy’s mother saying that her daughter may have been murdered.
Do you recall the tragic 2008 disappearance of Deborah Anne McNeely?
Not to single out Kauai, on Maui too, the same types of tragedies occur. Deborah Anne McNeely died alone in a rustic hut she built deep in the brush on Maui. It was only after five years that a pig hunter and his dogs found her remains. The New York artist sought an alternative lifestyle, perhaps to find herself, first on a Virginia farm and ultimately on rural Maui. At 49 years old, she started farming in Haiku while preparing to go it alone in East Maui. Then she cut that cord and built a crude hut. She eventually stopped communicating with the outside world and then she was gone.
“Into The Wild”-like case on Kauai ended in death.
Visiting hiker Dan Marks hiked into Kalalau and never returned. In the 2007 film featuring Sean Penn, a young person met an untimely death when he ventured into the Alaska wilderness to find himself through challenging nature. In the real-life tragedy, Dan Marks ventured into Kauai’s Kalalau Valley in November 2005 and never was seen again.
It has been more than 15 years since he disappeared, and Dan’s body has still not been found. He had gone into the valley with only a backpack and was last seen by two tourists on November 10, 2005. The visitors later remarked that while Dan seemed to know what he was doing, it was very late in the day to attempt heading down an extremely steep cliff alone. The severe and crumbly cliffs there can be 4,000 feet high, and up to 90 degrees.
Dan Marks had arrived on Kauai from San Francisco, and he too spent just one night at a hostel before getting a ride to Kalalau.
“Lots of people come over from the mainland and head for the Kalalau Valley. I’ve heard Kauai is the vortex of something spiritual. People come here to find it, find themselves, find peace. They go to into Kalalau Valley, like Daniel.” — Kauai Police Department.
Kauai’s history of hiding out dates back to the 1800s.
Kauai has a long and illustrious history of hiding out. As far as we’ve learned, it started at least as far back as the 1800s when a famous cowboy, Koolau the Leper, went into hiding for years in the Kalalau Valley.
Koolau, who was from Kekaha, contracted leprosy. In 1893, the provisional government army sent 35 men to capture lepers who were avoiding arrest and extradition to Kalaupapa, which was called “the grave of living death.” Koolau escaped capture with his family and hid in the Kalalau Valley. Koolau even shot and killed a sheriff and two soldiers who were seeking him. The family hid out for four years, living off the land with help from some local Hawaiian families. He later died on Kauai of leprosy.
Famed Kalalau Valley is one of the most iconic places to get lost on Kauai.
It is a place romanced with food and marijuana growing and living without clothes, cell phones, or electricity. Kalalau has been attracting hippies and others for as long as we can remember. And that continues to this day.
Some who escape there later show up dead in the Kalalau Valley. Those who have disappeared there also include Jessee Pinegar of Utah, who went there in 2008 and was never seen again. And Sean Rollnick, who was found dead there in 2016.
Kalalau can only be reached legally by foot. Its extreme beauty and remoteness remain a draw for those seeking to escape.
A community has existed in Kalalau for many years. It is renowned for growing marijuana. Although frequently cleared out, it is simply too difficult to police it regularly.