Missing kid supposedly inspired by Into the Wild found dead

Senior Editor
08.27.13 57 Comments

18-year-old Johnathan Croom went missing in Oregon over the weekend while traveling from Seattle to Arizona, and when his car was found with his IDs and wallet in it, his parents speculated that he may have set out on some Into the Wild-style vision quest. That turns out not to have been the case, as his body was found 1000 feet from his abandoned Honda CR-V, and police are investigating it as a suicide.

Anyone else think “near the car” seems like a place you would’ve already searched before you start asking the parents about the kid’s favorite book? And if it was suicide, I can’t imagine he tried very hard to conceal himself first. Nice work, police.

The body of 18-year-old Johnathan Croom was discovered about 1,000 feet from his vehicle, Douglas County sheriff’s spokesman Dwes Hutson [this is, by all accounts, the correct spelling of his first name] said in a statement. The death was being investigated as a suicide.

Croom’s SUV was found Wednesday in Riddle, a town of 1,200 people just off the state’s main north-south thoroughfare, Interstate 5. [ABC15]

In a telephone interview from Oregon, David Croom said his son was grieving the end of a recent relationship with “someone back in Phoenix.”

“He was a young man who had a broken heart and headed out to try to find himself,” the elder Croom said. “We’re looking forward to finding out exactly what happened.” He thanked everyone who helped search for his son and added, “Please pray for our family.” [WaPo]

So yeah, maybe he actually killed himself over a girl (note to anyone reading this: do not do that). Or maybe we should hold off on theorizing until we have more information, considering the “inspired by Into the Wild” story didn’t exactly pan out. The way this is going so far, tomorrow the suicide theory will be thrown out, and the Sheriffs will say “Initially we assumed he killed himself, but that was before we noticed he’d been hit by a car.”

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