Part 1 - Introduction

I didn’t know it back then but it all started while I was reading Hacker News in February 2019 and stumbled upon a story called “The Hunt for the Death Valley Germans”. The real life events behind the story are unbelievably tragic but how the case was solved was remarkable. How the perseverance of a single guy led to him solving the case and by doing so, he was able to bring much relief to the families of the victims. Reading the story got me thinking how I could do this kind of thing myself.

I read the story a couple of times and sent it to my brother. I knew that he would be interested in the story as he is into these kinds of things as much as what I am. After reading the article, we talked for quite a long time about various missing person cases and how to solve them.

By the autumn of 2020 the story had faded from my mind until my brother called me with an interesting missing person case. That phone call was the starting point of the most interesting adventure I’ve ever had, and it lead to us solving two missing person cold cases, which had been unsolved for 9 and 15 years.

This story is written based on my notes, photos, videos, GPS logs, sonar images, and other digital footprints. The facts were checked whenever it was possible. If there are any errors in the story, they are, of course, mine.

Maps would make following the story easier but I chose not to provide them. For those who are eager and skilled enough, you can deduct the actual places from public sources and my descriptions.