18-year-old obsessed with Into the Wild still missing in Oregon

An 18-year-old student at Mesa Community College in Arizona went missing on his way back from Seattle over the weekend. Johnathan Croom’s car was found in Oregon with gas and money and his wallet still in it, leading his father to believe that he’s gone on some Into the Wild-style vision quest. Hey, kid, you know the main guy dies a horrible death in that, right? These kids never watch the ends of movies anymore.

Croom’s father, David Croom, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” he sent his friend a text message on his way home that revealed he wanted to go “on an adventure.”

“She says, ‘I hope you enjoy your adventure. Hello? Johnathan? Are you there?'” David Croom told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “That’s the last time.”

Hopefully the text came from the kid, and not someone pretending to be him. Yeesh.

Croom said he fears his son may have been inspired by the 2007 film “Into the Wild.” The movie was inspired by the real-life events of Christopher McCandless, a young hiker who sought isolation in the Alaskan wilderness.

“We’re talking about a kid who has been almost obsessed with this particular movie,” he said. “My concern is that he’s out there with very limited resources and not a lot of experience.”

Authorities found Johnathan Croom’s 2000 green Honda CR-V abandoned in Riddle, Ore., on Wednesday. The teen’s wallet, photo ID, $200 cash and a book on outdoor survival tactics were left inside, leading police to believe he may not want to be found. [GMA]


“He was talking to another friend that it would be great to just leave penniless and just work along the way and get resources like they did in the movie,” David Croom, the teen’s father, told

“As far as we know he left in shorts and a T-shirt and a backpack with some socks in it and he left the car and that’s all we know,” he told the website.

Monica Croom says her son is “super smart” and has Boy Scout experience. [FoxNews]

I’m pretty sure Into the Wild was supposed to be about a kid who was young and immature and let his idealism convince him to do something really stupid that ended with him starving to death in a van. Yet somehow, every time you try to make a cautionary tale, be it Into the Wild or Wall Street or Scarface, people end up getting “inspired” to do exactly what the movie was trying to tell you not to. “Dude! Someday I’m gonna be just like Joe Pesci in Casino! Except for the getting beaten to death in a cornfield part!”

I remember Ben Lyons calling Into the Wild his favorite movie that year because Christopher McCandless was this inspiring hero for the modern age. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you claim to be “obsessed” with a movie, you should at least watch the end of it, and that this is probably all Ben Lyons’ fault.