Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Feel So Bad for Lee Cutler (and His Family)

I think I had a dream about Lee Cutler.

Well, it was probably more an ambient feed, since I sleep with the t.v. on a lot and they've been rerunning the Lee Cutler episode of Disappeared a lot on there.

I was looking at a couple different sites last night to try to find any updates on the case. Another episode of Disappeared ends joyfully with discovery of the missing woman and her reconciliation with her family--she was found by a helpful stranger. She was found on a website bearing her name followed by "dot com." I kid you not. Her parents were of another generation and didn't realize they could have avoided all those drives to other states, all those expensive private investigators, and many of those sleepless nights---if they had simply consulted the great Oz, Google!

But with Lee Cutler, it's just so sad.

I found a site where most of the postings were from 2007, when his disappearance (October 20th) was still fresh, and the school year was still underway, and many of the postings were (allegedly and credibly) by friends, neighbors, girlfriends or girls that had crushes on Lee.

It was horrible to see the effect this had on his Mother, in particular, and the clips in which she pleaded for him to return were pretty unbearable.

Most moving was one article where she talked about ID filming this episode of Disappeared, and how the show had found a look-alike to portray Lee in re-enactments, and how she would watch this young actor lying on the lawn reading a book, and feel such yearning because it really appeared her son had returned and was just doing what came natural to him.

It was terrible to see how many people missed the kid and how it had impacted so many people in ways he probably never anticipated (he was a very kind, warm kid that would hate that).

The episode of Disappeared really tries to make the point that Lee faked his death and is out there somewhere living a new life incognito (he'd be twenty or twenty-one now).

I hate to say it, but I think the kid is in the river.

Here are the reasons why I believe Lee Cutler is dead.

1. The police insisted they "would have found him" had he been in the Baraboo River, even though they searched a small section of the river and surrounding area for a very brief time and online it says this river occupies the equivalent of 614,000 acres and is known for its rapids.

2. The show tried to softpeddle the fact that Lee's pants and belt were found in the river by saying these articles of clothing were found "on a log beside the river," implying this was an attempt to fool searchers. All newspaper reports I found online said these articles of clothing were found in the river on a branch that had emerged when water levels dropped. I believe the belt had been removed from the pants. For those suspecting foul play (sexual predator or something along those lines) it should be pointed out that Cutler wore pants two sizes over his actual size so these would have slipped off easily in the water. They said on the show he would always just step out of his pants, belt in place. And if the belt was removed, perhaps Cutler stripped naked before entering the water or wandering off elsewhere. This was late October in Wisconsin, so water temperatures would have been pretty unforgiving to a human body.

3. The huge bottle of Advil PM was empty, with the exception of one pill that lay nearby. One doctor said 10 to 15 pills would be a fatal dose, although that sounds low to me. But if the entire bottle had been consumed, we would be talking many times that dosage--and there was the Coricidin box as well (but I don't think the show stated whether any of them had been consumed, or if the box had even been opened). If so, these would have induced a hallucinogenic state.

4. The note found read completely like a suicide note. The note apologized for being a "coward," and clearly beseeched forgiveness from his mother and begged her to be happy. The show tried to reinterpret the crushing pathos of this note and put a positive spin on it, but it read exactly like a final goodbye. The first line of the note read, "My head is too big for my body."

5. Lee Cutler had made an abortive suicide attempt (at school) in the previous year, and had been hospitalized against his will as a result. This had resulted in tension, when his mother would not sign him out.

6. The night before he disappeared, he frantically texted a number of friends from a friend's house where he was sleeping over. These messages contained sentences like "I can't communicate" and "I am antisocial" and other messages which pointed to exaggerated and cruel, scathing self-judgment.

7. He left his beloved yarmulke on the ground beside the Baraboo river. He was a devout Jew (he had even founded a youth group that was still ongoing) and scholar of his religion and would not have left this.

8. His favorite books were left in the trunk of his abandoned car.

9. The last images of Cutler are of him purchasing the medications in a Madison, Wisconsin WAL-MART. He is alone and he leaves there and drives to Kettle Moraine State Park, visits this and then leaves to ultimately end at the roadside pull-off by the Baraboo River. Most likely he was scouting a place to end his life and found this park unsatisfactory for some reason (perhaps there were too many people around, or perhaps people are rounded up and chased out after sundown?)

10. Lee Cutler (by all accounts) was loved by a great many friends, and was always the one to try to cheer people up and amuse them. The idea that he would simply leave and allow all these people to suffer is extremely unlikely. The only possibility for this, I believe, would be if he were to enter a fugue state or suffer amnesia, which again would be an extremely unlikely occurrence, as he seems to have been very directed and aware of what he was doing during the last days of which we have any reconnaisance.

I find the theory that he went to Israel and joined the army (the IDF) extremely unlikely as well (this is the last theory upon which the show speculates).

I hope I am wrong. I really do.

But the theories of flight as opposed to suicide seem much less tenable and not consistent with this kind young man's character.

I noted his Mom even used the past tense in describing him in one part of the interview. It was rather telling. I got the impression that she knows in one part of her brain, but the rest of her brain is telling her it's not ready to "go there" yet.

Would I bet my life that he's in the Baraboo River?

No. Life is often stranger than fiction.

Maybe he's living a Martin Guerre existence somewhere, making somebody missing something very happy.

And I want to believe he's alive.

But the show overplays the arguments in favor of this, when the grim facts all seem to point unilaterally towards a young man's feverish drive away from and out of the very fact of his existence.

And the biting irony of a show like this is: everyone who watches this can see how much this person meant to so many people....only he could not...the horrible blinkers depression puts on you for the final horse race...

183 comments:

  1. I just finished watching this episode of Disappeared, and was wondering if anything more had been found about Lee, which is how I got here.

    I don't necessarily agree or disagree with your sentiment here about Lee, but my comment is actually about the other episode of Disappeared, where the woman was found.

    I think you completely misunderstood what occurred there, so I just wanted to clear it up. It had nothing to do with her parents being of another generation and simply not searching on the internet. The website where she was "found" on wasn't something SHE set up about herself, it was a website dedicated to her disappearance, likely set up by her parents. It was a new friend of hers who happened to google her name, and found the website saying she had disappeared. Then she contacted the police to say she was certain it was the same woman she was currently friends with. It was not a case of her parents wasting money, and not checking on the internet... I'm sure that if the parents did not do an internet search, the police probably did.

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  2. Okay.

    Now that you say that, it sounds right to my memory.

    I predict her mother will alienate her again.

    While I think she had a certain justification for leaving, one would think she would have at least called once to let them know she was alive, and just did not want further contact.

    I think that episode was sort of fascinating though, to show how sometimes people must be completely reborn in new circumstances to have any chance of surviving.

    Because if she had stayed, she would probably have died.

    So it's possible Lee Cutler felt that way, and I hope it's true.

    It was weird to see Baraboo featured in another story on that network, the one episode of ESCAPED! There's one set in Baraboo where this seventeen year old guy was kidnapping younger kids and then systematically torturing them by breaking their bones...over and over.

    It's one of the few shows where I found myself getting actually queasy and unable to watch--I had to change the channel.

    The details were just too graphic and the thoughts of what that kid went through (and the others who didn't survive) just made me crazy.

    Anyway, that was Baraboo too, and he did dispose of one of his victims in the river, I think, but I don't think it was the same river (could there be two rivers running through Baraboo?) Maybe it was the same river.

    I am completely pro death penalty.

    Stories like that just confirm my belief in it.

    Thanks for stopping in and thanks for the clarification.

    Feel free to stop in anytime.

    I probably should create an ID commentary blog since I live on the damn channel.

    lol.

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  3. Dear Mr. Keckler: I completely agree with you about what the outcome of Lee Cutler. (: phoebe49

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    1. Lee Cutler had clothing in his car according to the show. How much clothing did he have in the car when he set out? It looks to me like a faked death. If so he probably didn't consume the whole bottle of Advil but threw them in the river with the clothe last seen in. Plus the amount of Advil (Ibuprofen) most likely would have had little to no affect. Worst case scenario he may have vomited them back out. I had severe toothaches causing pain beyond description in the middle of the night, and have taken sometimes double the amount that the pill bottle depicted on the show would have held. I have suffered no apparent damage. No stomach bleeding, and I've received a clean bill of health during all of my past yearly physicals. Advil warns against overdose to protect themselves legally. Ibuprofen is one of the safest (and effective) pain relievers on the over-the-counter market. He did NOT overdose in my opinion. I highly doubt he drowned either.
      My worries are that he likes talking to truck drivers. Although the majority of truck drivers are honest, underpaid, under appreciated, extremely hard working men and woman. there have been instances where it was found that the identity of serial killers were truckers. I don't know the statistics. We can't know the statistics, (until every killer in America has been caught), but the rate of murderous truck drivers is probably no more than the rate among any other occupation. The trouble with trucks drivers is: The evil ones are very difficult to catch because their job is transient and anonymous in mature.
      I've seen the movie "into the wild". The book that was in Lees trunk. Very sad. I think that is the journey that Lee is on.
      I can think back to when I was his age, and can understand the romanticism of disappearing and going your own route. It's terrible that he lets his mother hurt like he's doing. Lee if you'r read this: Call your mother. Until you've been a parent yourself you can't understand the pain your causing your parents. It is not fair. Your taking years off of their lives.

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    2. Really? You've taken 160 Advil for your toothache? I highly doubt it. The bottle shown in the show had a quantity of 80. Since they had video of him purchasing it that day, he would have started with a full bottle.

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    3. The bottle was not plain ibuprofen but was Advil PM which can be fatal.

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  4. Hope I'm wrong, Phoebe.

    But just can't see him doing that to his Mom.

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  5. I have been of the same opinion about Lee Cutler since I heard of the case. I do think that the case is being kept alive, no pun intended, by his family and friends who are desperately grasping at straws that maybe, somehow, some way, he is out there alive. I can't say I wouldn't do the same in their circumstances. As an outsider, however, I think it is very evident that this was a suicide, plain and simple. It is a very sad case, and I can definitely feel the pain for his mother, as the mother of 4 children. I hope that one day she is able to move on with life, and not let this stagnate her existance...Lee would not have wanted that. I think he left the letters for just that reason--to say "I am gone..move on, be happy and live life"...I don't think he would torture his family with an unexplained disappearance. He tried to give them closure, if only they would reach out and accept it.

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  6. Hi Candigirl. Yeah, the ONLY (and extremely unlikely) alternative scenario would be if he developed amnesia at that Baraboo River encampment and then wandered off. But this is extremely unlikely given the brutal facts.

    His story really draws people in, probably because he was a gentle, sweet kid who was kind to so many people. And because people hate the ending that life seemingly wrote for him.

    Disappeared is one of my favorite shows on the network (The Will is also very interesting!) and I have to confess the one that REALLY mystifies me right now is the disappearance of the McStay (spelling?) family, seemingly down in Mexico.

    That one's really weird because the idea that they were hijacked is implausible since there were searches on their home computer for whether or not children needed passports to enter Mexico (you can enter without, just can't get back into the U.S. without them). So the family of four (two young children) seemingly voluntarily left their life (including over 100K in a bank account!) and vehicle behind and walked across the border to disappear into Mexico.

    They said the Witness Protection Program isn't the answer and if they're right what could have possibly been the lure?

    They said the wife feared Mexico and did not want to travel there, but it's generally believed the footage discovered actually shows the family crossing the border into Mexico (at night). No ransom demands have been made.

    Even if someone offered the father (who was a pretty savvy business man) a deal in something shady, would he have put his whole family at risk by doing something like this? Wouldn't he know his vehicle would be towed in a short time, arousing suspicion.

    And if it were a set up, one would think an attempt at least would be made to drain the family's finances and holdings in the U.S. (which never happened).

    It's a complete mystery to me.

    I can't think of a single plausible explanation of what happened to them!

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  7. "6. The night before he disappeared, he frantically IMed a number of friends from a computer at a friend's house where he was sleeping over. These messages were not answered in a satisfactory manner, and they contained sentences like "I can't communicate" and "I am antisocial" and other messages which pointed to exaggerated and cruel, scathing self-judgment."

    Just know when you write things like this, the people who he "imed" (which was through texting by the way) get very hurt and the guilt they felt comes up again. To say their answers, or better yet MY answers, to Lee were unsatisfactory is similar to saying I was not a satisfactory friend to him at that moment. Quite on the contrary, I think the words I wrote him that night were the most heartfelt and honest words I had ever said to him. Claiming they are unsatisfactory as you have done (and also what the show did) is heartbreaking for me to hear, considering I am the one who wrote those words to him.

    I'm sure you are not intending to personally attack my friendship with Lee, but just know that every week when I google the name Lee Cutler and see posts like this, it brings back the guilt I felt the nights after Lee's disappearance, something I have tried to move away from, but still keeps coming back.

    On a lighter note, it is posts like these that keep Lee Cutler alive in peoples memories, so I thank you for devoting the time to promote the search for my friend.

    I honestly no longer can guess at Lee's fate; I would like to believe he is alive and out there somewhere. From knowing him many years, this would be my guess, but then again I would never have imagined him running away so what did I really know about him anyway.

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    1. "These messages were not answered in a satisfactory manner..."

      "I think the words I wrote him that night were the most heartfelt and honest words I had ever said to him."

      The show really doesn't prove what you're claiming, it just makes it look like everyone he sent texts to had "better things" to do, and that's why I am skeptical about anything I watch. When I seen his texts appearing to desire some sort of attention, I just shook my head and it reminded me of annoying Facebook status updates some people do. I don't think any person could have SAID anything to get him out of his funk, I think maybe he was lonely and wanted a specific type of attention from females. Sadly, he now appears to have all that now that he's "gone".

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    2. I'd like to add my .02 worth on the Lee Cutler case. Would like to first correct you on the fact that the wayside where his car was found. it is NOT isolated. It is on Hwy 33 by the "Narrows" where the road runs between huge high bluffs, not likely to be traveled on by foot (going into the wild). My feelings are that he met took up with someone at the wayside and then fell victim to foul play. I feel he is deceased but his body is not in the Baraboo or Wisconsin river.

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  8. Hi. If you really are an acquaintance of Lee's, I apologize for hurting you (unintentionally). The judgment call I seem to have made here about texts (sorry, not Ims) "not being answered in a satisfactory manner" was based on the outcome.

    But look. Nobody is responsible. A "magic" correct response that night would have probably not changed anything.

    As I said, the problem was the "self-judgment." Not anything others did to him. I can see he had a good network of supportive friends.

    I tried to kill myself about the age when he did. But I don't think I was as intent as he apparently was. I overdosed as he did but just got lucky. But that idea had to have been growing in his head for a looong time. Only one ninth of the iceberg probably ever showed its head. To any of you. Because I think he knew exactly he was going to do. And he showed a lot of resolve. There was no sign he vacillated at all.

    And that suicide note was exactly what a previous commenter above said: an attempt to give peace to others and let them know he blamed no one and wanted them to be free of worry for him.

    He was clearly not a selfish person. And disappearing (barring amnesia alone) would be extremely cruel and selfish.

    That's why I believe he's gone.

    I can tell you would have done a LOT if you knew the truth. I'm sure a lot of people would have done a lot. But he kept it inside. And that is why it's so frustrating. To see someone so intelligent and with so much potential get totally blinkered by depression and other horrible emotional states that one believes (while one is in them) can't be escaped.

    But of course they can.

    But you have to let it out and ask for help.

    Maybe his first experience with the first institutionalization made his distrust psychiatry or medicine as possible salvation.

    Having been a client and a victim (both) of that system, I can understand that mistrust of his as well.

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  9. And you should have ZERO guilt.

    You should remember the good and great parts of your friendship.

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  10. Apology accepted, and I truly am the person who he contacted that night. It's just hard to move away from feeling some sort of guilt for the situation when there are no answers. And every time it is brought up, I can't help but get upset once again and go back into that guilt-ridden state I felt the days after. It's something that just never will go away.

    It is interesting to read your perspective on this case, being a person who went through a similar experience. I commend you for getting out of it alive and turning your life around. I only hope I can say the same for Lee.

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    1. can you please tell me how tall Lee is because I think I saw him here in so. Milwaukee at the American Leagion in the month of may

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    2. Lee is (or was at age 18) 5'9", according to the missing persons listing I saw.

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  11. Thanks. But listen to what you said earlier. You had no idea he was even gonna take off like that. How much less could you probably have EVER suspected he might commit suicide (if he has).

    So you did not know.

    And he chose not to let others know.

    For whatever reason.

    You could tell when they showed his mother in that one newsclip making the appeal that it had hit even her out of the blue.

    And I can't really accept "commendation" since I just got lucky I guess.

    It's like that Szymborska poem...that really says it all...

    Let me see if I can find it...

    it's about the mystery at the heart of survival itself...

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  12. I found it...I think this poem says what I am trying to say...

    sometimes it takes a Nobel Laureate...

    ANY CASE

    It could have happened.
    It had to happen.
    It happened earlier. Later.
    Closer. Farther away.
    It happened, but not to you.

    You survived because you were first.
    You survived because you were last.
    Because alone. Because the others.
    Because on the left. Because on the right.
    Because it was raining. Because it was sunny.
    Because a shadow fell.

    Luckily there was a forest.
    Luckily there were no trees.
    Luckily a rail, a hook, a beam, a brake,
    A frame, a turn, an inch, a second.
    Luckily a straw was floating on the water.

    Thanks to, thus, in spite of, and yet.
    What would have happened if a hand, a leg,
    One step, a hair away?

    So you are here? Straight from that moment still suspended?
    The net's mesh was tight, but you? through the mesh?
    I can't stop wondering at it, can't be silent enough.
    Listen,
    How quickly your heart is beating in me.

    - Translated from the Polish by Grazyna Drabik and Sharon Olds.

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  13. i think lee is still alive, living in the woods somewhere. i think he may of had a mental brakdown. just like the books he loved. into the wild.........when you see a homeless person take a good look, you never know what you may find.

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  14. I don't believe for a second he's dead. I went to school with him. It really hurts me when someone just says he's dead and not look at hope. I've ALWAYS believed he's still alive, and I refuse to believe that he is dead. When someone tells me he's dead, it's an insult and it just brings back all those memories. I still have faith he is out there and we will find, and when we do, THE WORLD WILL KNOW!

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  15. Well, I hope they find him alive. I made that clear that I wished I didn't BELIEVE he was dead but I'm not going to lie. If he knowingly caused all the people who love him (like you) this hurt then he wouldn't be such a great guy after all. And I believe he was a great guy. So either he's dead or he does not know who he is anymore (amnesia). But the evidence at the campsite points (I'm sorry to say) very heavily in the other direction. I hope you're right and I'm wrong.

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    1. @ William, My husband took his life due to depression and severe back pain. People who are take their lives DO LOVE their family and friends and DO NOT mean to hurt them by taking of their life! Suicide is a tunnel you enter in an once you reach that certain spot YOU do not turn back! It does NOT matter how much your loved one told you and your family and friends how much they love you! It is a mental and chemical imbalance in the brain and it is beyond their control! Most loved ones I see on TV that are in denial about suicide say "I saw no signs of depression." "Joe or Jane" would never do that to their family. Please get educated about depression and suicide! I'm a nurse and got let go from my job 20 days BEFORE my husband took his life! So a suicide and a job loss in 20 days time! My family, friends, neighbors had been watching my husband for 2 years prior to his death, I as a nurse had him on a suicide watch. YOU PEOPLE NEED TO EDUCATE EVERYONE THAT SUICIDE IS AN EMOTIONAL AND CHEMICAL IMBALANCE IN THE BRAIN! lIKE DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, CANCER! My thinking is that Lee and Maura took their lives and are dead.

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  16. I'm his step sister, and I dont believe for one second he is dead. they would have found his body somewhere in the world. I wait for the day that someone hears something from him. for all those who believe he is dead, if you dont keep hope alive, then he might as well be dead. and I have hope, my friend, the one who went to school with him, has hope too, and everyone who knows and loves him. Lee was someone i looked up to for a long time, I'm glad to say that I know him personally.

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    1. Hi Lauren, i just wondered if you could pass along to Lees mother that i completely understand that 'shell of a house' she speaks of, and my heart goes out to her in hopes she may find her beloved son.
      thank you.

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  17. As I said, I hope you are right.

    I will say a prayer for Lee's well-being.

    xo

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  18. I am praying that he is out there somewhere,experiencing life because I personally know how it feels to wait to know what became of a missing family member. Like Lee, my family member was by water,swept away in a flood,but unlike Lee he was found, I pray your ending is better than ours.

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  19. Yeah, I think that's what everybody is hoping for.

    May you have peace!

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  20. Hope is the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope is distinct from positive thinking, which refers to a therapeutic or systematic process used in psychology for reversing pessimism.

    The term false hope refers to a hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome.

    Pay attention to the words false hope. There is a huge difference in hope and false hope. In Lee Cutler's case, hope only helps the mind easy of the possibility he is "alive!" False hope is that he did commit suicide and that the body was never found. That is the easy way off thinking. False thinking.

    What do you know William Keckler? You went to school for forensic science? You watch a t.v. program and you have all the answer? If you say you want to be wrong about him commiting suicide why did you post this ridiculous writing to begin with? You brought back bad memories for some and caused heartache for others.

    You might have experienced thoughts of suicide yourself. I'm sorry you felt that way. No one should ever be a prisoner of the mind. Even John Mayer said his head was bigger than his body. Just an expression!

    Have some hope William! The world needs more of!

    C.L.

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  21. I don't believe what I posted was ridiculous.

    I amassed a series of facts.

    Facts that have absolutely nothing to do with hope.

    I don't have "false hope" that he is dead, since I don't have any hopes for that fact to be true.

    I do believe that all concrete facts based in the physical world point completely in that direction.

    I obviously brought back no bad memories since all I did was state the facts and anybody searching for info on Cutler knows the dire facts already.

    And I don't believe I caused heartache for others.

    As I said, I hope this has a positive outcome.

    But that show misstates some facts about his case in order to create a mystery where I believe there is none...other than where his body actually is.

    He wrote a suicide note. The pills he bought were missing and that was a lethal dose. His clothes were found in the river and alongside it.

    Either this guy is the most diabolical person out there, creating this scenario to TORTURE all his loved ones...and you should be hating on him in that case...or he is dead...and his suicide note (which showed tenderness towards his loved ones and asked forgiveness) was real and he was a good person who lost his way...which is easy enough to do in this world.

    I don't appreciate your attack on me.

    Feel free not to come back.

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  22. I just saw the show, & unfortunately, I completely agree with everything you posted here. I say "unfortunately," because whenever I watch these "Disappeared" shows on ID, I almost always conclude that the individual is probably alive. Your reasons for the theory that Lee committed suicide just make too much sense to dismiss. I also agree with you, he was an extremely sensitive young man who NEVER would have run away with no further contact with his mom & close friends. I don't think he would have been capable of inflicting that kind of emotional pain on others.

    p.s. Just ignore the posts that contradict you...your evidence is compelling & extremely well-researched, your post is clear & rational, & you don't have to "reduce" yourself to the level of justifying your thoughts & conclusion!

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  23. Thanks, Jill! I would point out that I would be very HAPPY to be wrong about this. The only scenario in which I could imagine that being the case is if Lee had developed amnesia right there on the spot. But that's an extremely unlikely coincidence. But strangers things HAVE happened. So who knows. That...or he really did have so much resentment (unsuspected by others) that he could stage his disappearance precisely to CAUSE suffering to those he felt were either responsible for his problems or something. But I don't buy that. I think he was the nice, loving kid he seemed. Even if this were the case, he could have disappeared in a less dramatic manner with no staged scene and get the same results.

    The thing that bothered me about the last commenter's words was his implication that I somehow hoped the kid WAS DEAD...just to be right or something. I felt attacked on that basis. The one thing I do regret about this post is "buying wholesale" whatever was said on that show, like the fact that his friends somehow "let him down" that night.

    And when I heard from one of those friends (see comment chain) I felt terrible because I had just gullibly swallowed what the show said, even though I now know that the show contained quite a few bits of misleading (and sometimes wrong) information. So my apology to that person was sincere and they have ZERO reason to feel guilt. No one is a mindreader. If people are deep in depression or harboring thoughts of suicide, they will usually hide these thoughts, to maintain their freedom, if nothing else. They learn how to dissimulate and cover.

    Sometimes, DISAPPEARED will arrange facts to create more of an air of mystery than a case might deserve. The writers know that a convoluted mystery has more staying power than a bald tragedy. Like you, I believe many of the people featured on other episodes are actually still alive. Remember the one wonderfully cheerful story where it ends with the woman actually being found alive, well and in recovery to boot? I sort of wish they'd throw us a few more bones like that occasionally. But then I suppose we'd be missing opportunities to get information out there on people still missing whose case might be well served by the massive viewership...where someone might know something helpful or be able to divulge the actual whereabouts of the person.

    Thanks for your kind comment. And I repeat: I hope we're both wrong.

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  24. If I remember correctly, didn't the show also point out that his vehicle was found with the gas gauge close to or on empty, and that along the route to the wayside he had passed several gas stations? If this is true, it would buoy your theory about his intent. I have been following Lee's story since the beginning, because I live near Baraboo, and my heart breaks for his friends, family, and especially his mother.

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  25. Hi. I'm not sure if that was the case. It seemed to be a mad dash that final day. Like when he stopped at the first park. And then he left there after a number of hours. One wonders about that. I'm wondering if he had planned on that being the location but maybe there were too many people around. Because the pull-off where the car found ultimately proved to be a more deserted location. Yes, say a prayer for those people. Maybe a miracle will occur. This might sound strange, but I hope in the future all human beings are chipped the way our pets are, so that we can always trace down our loved ones. It wouldn't be hard to painlessly accomplish this goal and create a "world grid" whereby even if someone were dead, we could at least locate their remains. With nanotechnology, things like this are very easy to do, provided there is the desire for such things. It would be of immeasurable help in things like "child abductions." Of course, the chip would have to be designed so that criminals could not remove it--or even locate it. With nanotechnolgy, the chip could be so small as to be unlocatable without advanced technology. I just think the future needs something like that. People who see the dark side of things might consider it Orwellian, but it needn't be that way.

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    1. "...I hope in the future all human beings are chipped the way our pets are, so that we can always trace down our loved ones."

      Ooooh...I was a fan of yours, but this is disturbing.

      Delete
  26. I watched the episode of Lee Cutler for the first time last night and then did a search to see if there was any new evidence. I feel that he has passed on. My reasoning being, the fact that he was a devout Jew and scholar of his religion as William Keckler put it. One of the ten commandments which of course is in the Old Testament of the Bible as well as the Torah is to 'Honour Your Parents'. I feel that if Lee were still alive almost 4 years later, he would have contacted his beloved mother by now. He in all good conscience could not let everyone believe the lie that he is dead if indeed he were alive.

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  27. I, like most on here searched for Lee Cutler and it brought me to this page. I really would like to believe that he is alive and well, but i can't shake the feeling that if he were out there he would've contacted someone by now. I would be interested to hear your take on the "Maura Murray" case. They have been running her Disappeared episode lately.

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  28. Hi. The Maura Murray case is really sad. I read her as another suicide. Probably one who hid her deep depression from her friends. The stop at the liquor store and loading up there could have been a sign that she was going on a binge retreat in a place she loved. Possibly she was just a closet alcoholic and only a retreat was planned. But the telling clue to me is when she wrecked the car and the bus driver offered her assistance, any person in a normal state would have JUMPED at the chance for help, salvation. She refused it. Out in the middle of a winter night, in the middle of nowhere. I think either she met with foul play (passerby who ended up being a murderer--which is unlikely though) or she holed up somewhere and drank herself into a stupor and possibly froze to death. That last call to her boyfriend...she would probably not have been at liberty to make that call if she had been abducted...the moaning sounds she made and inarticulate sounds...makes one think she was in severe dire straits at that point. Again, as with Lee Cutler, the only other realistic possibility besides death would be a case of amnesia. It does happen...but it's sooo rare. I think she is gone, I'm sad to say. A lovely young woman with so much promise. Her overrreaction to wrecking her dad's car was a sign of esteem issues and/or depression issues....self-blame....that hinted at more serious(probably untreated) psychological problems.

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    1. "But the telling clue to me is when she wrecked the car and the bus driver offered her assistance, any person in a normal state would have JUMPED at the chance for help..."

      She was drinking, I think she high-tailed it out of there so she wasn't arrested for DUI.

      Delete
    2. If you read about the case, she also packed up her college dorm room and took down her posters, and they found a rag stuffed in the tail pipe of her car. I saw the show and thought any of the theories were possible, but the reading about the case, am sad to say suicide seems more likely.

      Delete
    3. it wasn't Maura on the phone call to her BF. it was confirmed by LE to be a Red Cross worker, trying to confirm arrangements of the BF's emergency leave. The worker hung up to call back later. The voicemail picked up static and breathing from that person, and the BF assumed it was Maura.

      Delete
    4. It wasn't Maura on the phone. LE confirmed it was a Red Cross worker, trying to contact the BF about his emergency leave. the noise the voicemail picked up was just static and breathing. The worker didn't know the vm was recording, and hung up to call back and speak in person at a later time.

      Delete
  29. I too feel that Lee Cutler most likely committed suicide. He probably did not intend for it to be a mystery. He had no way of knowing that his body wouldn't be found.

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  30. Dear Anonymous,

    I too feel bad about it. And I think you're exactly right about the accident of the mystery.

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  31. to the first poster: 10-12 advil PM is no where near a fatal dose. Advil PM is a combination of ibuprofen and benadryl. A fatal dose of ibuprofen for a 225 pound person is around 500 tablets. It is also very hard to overdose on benadryl. With large quantities of it the body will actually produce a paradoxical reaction, which means it will actually make a person hyper.

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  32. Good point. I knew that figure sounded ridiculously low. But is it really 500 tablets? I don't really believe that either. But maybe you're a doctor or a poison control specialist or something. That the body could take that kind of dose seems unfathomable to me--500 pills. I know you can do massive damage to your liver even if you don't die with a much smaller dosage...I don't really want to think about it--it's painful--but maybe he just put himself in that freezing river...that is where his clothes were found...I've always assumed death by water actually...whether I stated it explicitly or not.

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  33. Some people dig themselves deeper and deeper into religion because they are trying to deny homosexual desires. Perhaps he tried to start this club to prove to himself that he wasn't having these feelings/desires and eventually he was overwhelmed by his many ties to a religion he was trying to force himself into. He dug himself too deep and between the religious obligations, girlfriend and familial expectations, he thought if he did "come out" he would be disowned and lose the only identity he had (the nice, do-the-right-thing, religious boy). Maybe he wasn't upset because he felt that no one cared for him, but he was upset because he felt that no one would care if they knew the "real" Lee. Maybe he didn't want a text back saying "I care about you" maybe he was waiting for someone (anyone) to ask the right question so he could finally tell the truth ("communicate"). Maybe he wanted to stop living a double life. So maybe he left or maybe he committed suicide. No one will ever know for sure except for Lee himself; it's amazing what even your closest friends can hide deep within their souls.

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  34. Hi "Anonymous." Could be. But the homosexual thing is pure speculation that's not really backed up by anything that was revealed in the facts of Cutler's life. He seemed pretty independent and unafraid of what people thought about his beliefs, so I tend to think that's not the case. You have to be sort of brave (even today) to wear a yarmulke around everywhere, because there are always a FEW assholes who will give you grief for that--even today. Agreed about it being amazing what we so often don't know about even those closest to us. Humans are complicated creatures. Underneath even the most placid surface there's often a welter of conflicting (often suppressed) desires, fears...and other nameless things. Thanks for visiting my blog. Welcome anytime here. Cheers.

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  35. Hi...like many others I have just watched the Disappeared show and was looking for new evidence...im not a psychic but he definitely walked into the river...he is gone - and im soo sorry for his family and friends...i am upset with the police department for doing doing such a horrible job...may he R.I.P...xoxo

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  36. SO... why no psychic on this case? I think he commited suicide. just a gut feeling. he must have been an amazing kid.

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  37. My teacher disappeared on June 17th, 2011, this year. His story is very similar to Lee Cutler's story. He's a very religious man (Christian). He taught 11th grade english and creative writing. The books he taught were Into the Wild and Catcher in the Rye. His middle name is Lee. According to his family he would go to VA beach to think; he liked to go to parks and help out at homeless shelters. What happened was that his teaching contract wasn't renewed (probably fired) and he loved teaching and my high school so much. According to his father, if he was fired, he would have been so upset. The last time he was seen was in VA beach, miles away from his home in mclean, va. His disappeance is very uncharacteristic too: he's a very kind, warm and caring person and very close to his family. He's still missing (5 months in two days) and there hasn't been any new clues to where he is or what happened to him. I have hope but the waiting and mystery is so hard to deal with. I hope one day and very soon we find him.

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  38. Dear Anonymous, (Who lost the teacher and friend).
    Maybe you should consider contacting the show. They might be interested in profiling him--and since this is a relatively "fresh" disappearance they might be able to do some good at finding him.

    I was moved that the most recent episode (new season) profiled a case where a woman was suffering from amnesia and was safely recovered, returned to her family.

    While amnesia (and the shorter term fugue states) are extremely rare, in some cases this does account for why people go missing.

    They're not all either sucicides, murderered or those who disappeared by choice.

    Sometimes people actually do cease to know who they are.

    If you haven't seen that most recent episode, check it out.

    It's sort of fascinating.

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  39. Not all of these people are suicides or people who have been murdered, or who have chosen to go into hiding and "disappear."*

    (sorry--horrible grammar above there)

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  40. And regarding Maura Murray, it could be that she wrecked her father's
    s car by impulsively turning into a tree or guardrail, thinking suicide, and her excessive agitation about it was fueled by her ambivalence about death. Maybe she hoped someone would recognize her cry for help, but of course without more clues even a clairvoyant parent or friend would not suspect. No guilt whatsoever there for either parent, I hope. She may have been planning to die when she went off the road, that time, too, and lost her nerve, then yes, wandered off, drunk, and just laid down somewhere in the snow. Maybe she was waiting util it was too late before calling to say goodbye or even that she had changed her mind and needed help, but by waiting so long it was indeed too late. If so, she didn't suffer much if at all. Freezing is by all accounts only hard in the middle stages, when you're cold but not truly hypothermic...then the brain goes peaceful and the person is no longer cold. They get sleepy and feel wrm again, and go to sleep.

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  41. I completely agree with you on Lee Cutler, and like you, I hope that I'm wrong... but come on, the police admitted that was a hard river to search. The advil PM and Coricidin remind me of what a young kid, too young to afford alcohol and with no access to prescription drugs, would likely buy to kill himself with. And the cold river... He probably took the pills to get drowsy, then went into the cold river and floated along until he drowned. At the last moments, who knows, he could have changed his mind but the undercurrents, temp of the water, and pills he'd taken probably all worked against him. If he is out there somewhere, knowingly leaving his family to think awful things, well shame on him... But the cops were likely a foot away from his body, tangled in the logs or caught between rocks or something.

    Too sad... I bet he wasn't even sure he'd go through with it; the attempts he took, honestly, were not very whole-hearted. The drugs didn't do him in, or the cops would have found his body on the bank of the river; it was probably the river itself, and drowning oneself isn't exactly guaranteed. It seems he wasn't sure he wanted to die... or at least that's how it seems to me. Anyways, as you said, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Maybe he really hit his head and is amnesiac somewhere. But unless that occurred, I mean... where would he have gone without his pants?...

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  42. I just sat down to watch the episode of Disappeared with Lee Cutler and while the show was still in it's first few minutes I had a spirit pop in my face, leaning over and looking in on me and just say "hi there" with such force of personality that I would guess that this person is probably disembodied, because I wouldn't get that effect from a live person. Also that by watching the show I was intruding on his personal life so he was in his greeting trying to approximate the intrusion. O.k. I am not that psychic all the time but from time to time... I've known things. . . I hate to be a killjoy but I liked Joe Brianard's theory because it made this mystery sit it my heart right somehow.

    Which brings us back to the over the counter drugs that Lee Cutler consumed not only in force in what may be his last hours, but continually over a period of time. Does anyone really know what this #@$+! can do to you! Lee Cutler had an idea at least, but still was blind as hell. Most of us trust the pharmaceuticals for too much.

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  43. I just watched this episode of Disappeared also, and this seems too planned. All of his belongings are almost purposely placed as to lead a person to believe he wanted to die and committed suicide. In real life it never seems to be so cut and dry, everything was placed as if staged to tell a story. If you watched the movie Into the Wild, it's possible to just leave your former life behind. I pray he's out there somewhere, but who knows his fate now. He has had to plan this for awhile, just hitchhiking, walking and meeting people along the way. It just seems someone would have noticed.

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    1. "...everything was placed as if staged to tell a story."

      You're right, it was a re-enactment. 8p

      Delete
  44. "Anonymous," I hope you're right.

    I really do.

    It would be wonderful if he suddenly surprised us all with a shout out of "I'm alive!"

    Adolescence can be such a horribly trying time.

    Whatever the truth is, I think people should celebrate his life because he was a good person and a good friend to many.

    It's another proof of how trying life can be, that even very good and kind people can lose their way.

    Thanks for your words.

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  45. I just watched the episode and also feel the facts point to suicide. I believe he thought his body would be found and there would be closure for his family. He didn't intend to leave them without answers, he thought he had made everything clear. It would be great to think he is alive out there but don't think he would leave his family in limbo like that. As for the books found in his car, if he truly intended to live in the wilderness he would have taken them with him.

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  46. (Last) Anonymous, I feel this is the most likely explanation but of course hope we're both wrong. The show downplayed the possibility that he was there and searchers did not find him. But if you read about the size of the Baraboo River and realize how far someone can wander off before collapsing, you begin to realize the time spent on that search was not nearly enough to justify saying (as the show does) "They are confident that if Lee's body were there, they WOULD HAVE FOUND IT." (paraphrasing)

    And I've said that before too: completely inconsistent with his known character to let his family suffer so if he were alive.

    The only way I could see that happening is amnesia.

    But that would be an improbability considering the way his trajectory can be traced right to the spot of his disappearance...and the finding of his clothes in the river itself (a fact which the show itself misses...or misrepresents).

    It's the same thing with the spin the show puts on the note. That sounds totally like a Goodbye to me. And they say "But no!" The note was a kind act, intending to absolve those he loved of any blame and to free their souls from undue worries.

    Many suicides leave notes that pointedly blame others and seek to cause suffering to those left behind--whether this is rightful reproach or not.

    But Lee Cutler's note is not like that at all, and sounds completely consistent with the good, big-hearted kid he was.

    Depression is a killer.

    We all live or die by chance, regardless of our best intentions.

    I could easily imagine Lee being asked for help by someone on that day of his disappearance, and changing his mind about suicide.

    That's the hardest thing for people to accept, I think.

    To accept the nature of chance.

    There are a thousand worse things Lee Cutler could have ended as than a suicide.

    A good soul is always to be celebrated.

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  47. But, if he WAS going to commit suicide, why take $500 dollars with you, drive out to the middle of nowhere, buy $5-10 bucks worth of stuff at Walmart, take off your clothes to "drown" after setting up camp and leaving "evidence" of your overdose..
    no. This kid read "Into the Wild" way to many times and it's not a coincidence it was found in the trunk of his car. This kid skipped out, tried to fake his death, so his parents could have some kind of closure, and God knows where he went.

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  48. ...not to mention he's the only 18 year old kid alive that regularly hangs out with truckers. It makes sense that he'd want to scout out truckers and their routes and how they travel if he was planning on hitchhiking in the future.

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  49. Hi.

    You're giving a concrete reason why you believe Lee is still alive, and that's very different from people who simply believe without giving any rationale or evidence of why they think this young man is still alive.

    But.

    Five hundred dollars is not a lot of money when you're traveling interstate.

    And some people feel suicidal without having decided for certain. So if you're heading out with that intent (as a "maybe I will, maybe I won't") you're not going to deprive yourself of any resources you have.

    Even if you know for sure, you're going to do it, you're not going to deprive yourself of a resource that's right there in front of your hands. Something that's yours.

    It's not like you say, "I'm going to spend ten bucks at Walmart, and gas is going to cost this much (rate x distance & m.p.g. the vehicle gets, take out a calculator and figure it out) and then put the remainder of the money back.

    Maybe you don't have firsthand experience with serious depression (I do) but you don't think rationally in that state.

    It's not rational to want to kill yourself in the first place. To people who aren't suffering serious depression, that is. To people who are in the grip of a deep depression, who believe (wrongly!) that their life can't or won't change, get better, unfortunately suicide can look like a rational choice.

    And that's what those who loved Lee (whether they knew him or not) probably have to come to terms with. It LOOKED like a rational decision to him. He figured he was sparing others pain and solving his problem the only way he could see how at the time (due to the blinkers that depression puts on you...it really is like tunnel vision).

    He wasn't in his right mind when these things happened.

    I think the worst depressions and--more importantly--the worst responses to depression--occur in the teenage years.

    I believe I've read somewhere that there's neurochemistry to back it up.

    (comment continue due to character count...see below)

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  50. Sorry.

    Blogger ate the rest of my comment.

    I can't reformulate it.

    But the most important thing is..if you're suffering from depression and reading this, talk to someone you trust.

    Or call a suicide prevention line.

    Google will tell you a bazillion such numbers.

    It gets better.

    Depression can be cured or made to seem like almost nothing compared to what it feels like before you attempt to find solutions to it.

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  51. Something in my gut says he faked his own suicide. The fact that 500 dollars just disappeared in a jar is very odd. where did the money go? It just seems very odd that he left so many little clues but no body. Why go into a river? Take off your pants and belt? When you can just pass out under a tree until someone discovers you. He could have brought a change of clothes and then hitchhiked in the highway. I dont know why but i just dont believe he is dead. Perhaps disappearing was a kind of suicide, obliteration from his family and friends. Very sad to be that self involved. I hope they one day find him.

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  52. Wow, lots of comments here. The only problem with the idea that he committed suicide in the river is that bodies of drowning victims always come to the surface eventually. Here in California we just had the last victim of an accident in Yosemite surface - almost 6 months later. The body decomposes and gas will bring it to the surface eventually. Even heavily weighted bodies surface eventually - just ask Scott Peterson about that.

    In addition, the footage of the river reveals a lot of places a body would have likely be hung up on in that area. It probably would have been found within a few miles of the entry point.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  53. Actually, Vincent, that isn't true by what I've read. Even another episode of Disappeared mentions that it is not true. The episode which deals with the disappearance of our PA d.a., Ray (forget his surname) mentions the possibility of his drowning in the Susquehanna River, and says exactly the opposite. "Sometimes bodies don't resurface."

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    1. @ William,the story about Ray Gricar the DA in Penn. says the body may not have surfaced because there is a dam in the area and the body would get broken up churned in the water. They say nothing on the Lee Cutler case about a fall or very rapid water running near a dam.

      Delete
  54. The missing DA is Ray Gricar. I graduated from high school in the town where his car was found. I've shopped in that antique mall many times. They think he may have floated downstream to the Fabridam. If he got sucked under that, he'd never be found (he'd be "chewed up" - ick). We also experience a lot of flooding (some minor, some major - just 3 months ago) in the Susquehanna River Valley, and that can carry people away too. They've now linked Gricar to the Penn State Child Molestation deal (in his legal capacity - not that he did anything bad), and they're looking at his case yet again.

    I always wondered what happened to Lee Cutler (hence finding this blog). For me, it could go either way with him. Same with Ray Gricar.

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  55. Hi Funky, Thanks for remembering what I forgot. I live downriver from where you grew up, near the capital. I remember the flooding (was crazy down this way too--well all over the state). I had seen that about the Sandusky connection. I could go either way with Gricar but can't really on Cutler (wish I could say I could). But it is possible. I mean with Gricar it's like 50-50. But I feel with Cutler it's more like 99-1.
    Facts militating in favor of Gricar's suicide include his brother's suicide and his known depression. Facts militating against the suicide theory would be the body not found and the strange obsession with erasing that hard drive (why really care if you're going to die and not just disappear). I don't put any stock in the fact that he was talking to that woman in the antiques mall. That could have been an employee escorting him from room to room or someone with whom he struck up a casual conversation. Terrible to see the pain this left his daughter and fiancee (or girlfriend, not sure of status). Doesn't seem to be governmental shade since he wouldn't be looking up that information about the hard drive and doing such a feckless job of disposing of the thing. I have no clue about him. The really strange thing was his mapquesting or whatever a route he always drove for mileage and such. I keep thinking that has to mean something and might be the key to unlocking the whole case. But I don't know why. One of those intuition things. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Feel free anytime. Ciao.

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  56. We just saw this episode of Lee Cutler here in South Africa. Any news?

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  57. Wow! I'm amazed that story reached you in South Africa!

    No news that I know of.

    Thanks for your comment and visiting.

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  58. It's on NexFlix, just watching it now, googled to see if there were any updates. My gut feeling is he died somewhere in the woods, sort of a suicide. Police can't just say they would have found him. The only thing that's weird is if you are going to kill yourself, don't you want to be found at some point? or do you want your last days on earth to be left to speculation? and he didn't have enough money to go to some "other part of the world" the police should go back and look in that river.

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  59. I didn't know you could get those episodes on Netflix. Unless you're referring to a different documentary about L.C. that I don't know about? I tend to (against my hopes) agree with your closing speculation. Thanks for your comment.

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  60. Just watched this on Netflix as well.

    Very, very sad indeed. Googled for an update on Cutler and doesn't look like there is one :(

    I feel horrible for the mother :/

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  61. Plastic Gerbil, feel better.

    You seem to have a malady.

    Nanochips are the way to go.

    Big Brother could give a shit who you're fucking.

    But it will come in great use now that we live in a serial killer culture.

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    1. "But it will come in great use now that we live in a serial killer culture."

      Noted. I don't even like being equipped with OnStar™; It feels strange thinking some bored worker there could easily press a single button and explode my car.

      Delete
  62. Oh, and thanks for your comments...whoever you are.

    I was a fan of yours too, until I saw you had covered your gerbil in plastic.

    Slipcovered too?

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  63. It's just if you follow as many stories about lost, trafficked and murdered children as I do (being a crime story junkie) you realize that the means are now at our disposable via nanotechnology to give people inestimable relief. Whether that's recovering a live child (best scenario) or a body. You'd not believe how much it means to the psychological well-being of parents who have lost a child even to recover the body. If you asked them about whether they would be willing to have an indetectable, unsensable means of finding their child introduced into their child's body, I'd think you'd find the percentage of positive responses surprising. As I said, if civil libertarians are so worried about Big Brother opt to have it removed when you become an adult. But children are so vulnerable. Personally, I'd keep mine in. Bad science fiction (and good novels like Orwell's) have implanted too much misoneism (as that the right word--fear of the new?) in the mass mind. It's like the way you're constantly under video surveillance almost wherever you are in London. So what. If you're not doing something evil who really cares? This is going to be a much less private world now anyway, now that there's 7 billion people and how long until that doubles? Privacy is for your own home and when you're peeing basically. I'm impressed you made sure to get the TM after the Onstar lol. I love Varla Jean's take on Onstar in her YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mpKXZABotk

    If you're doing any of these things, OnStar can help you avoid getting busted.

    So it's a WIN-WIN.

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  64. I just watched the episode and like many, many people here I found your blog looking to see if he had appeared or if there were any news... I won't say I agree he's dead or alive because to me this is just too disturbing and I cannot make my mind, after reading some posts I think he might be alive and after reading some more I think he might be dead but then again I think he's alive and then again I think he might be dead. It's obvious none of us can tell what the hell was going through his mind in the day when he disappeared, but to me it's very odd that he knew the end of the books he loved so much like "Into the Wild" we all know he dies at the end. And again, why there's no body, I mean if he really had that many pills isn't it possible he went down before going into the river?

    there's so many what if's? in my mind... What if he dropped the pills in the river? what if it it was just a way of deciding to go away? I mean we only know there's $500 missing but what if he had been saving up? where's the money? it's all so weird... and last but not least... No matter what the mind has a way of coping that I'm sure all his family and friends will think he's alive until they find a body it's the last hope and the mind won't accept it until they have proof...

    It's all really sad and I seriously hope he just wanted to go away and that he will appear alive someday or at least that his body or bones at this point, will appear and his family and friends can have some type of closure. :(

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  65. Thanks for your comments. Most therapists and grief counselors seem to agree that "closure" is very important. I put the word in quotes because I've heard people who lost people to tragedies like this say (and I know it's true in my heart) that there really is no closure. You manage to pull yourself together better with time. But the idea that it completely closes over as a physical wound may do with healing time...you just know that for anybody who ever loses a child like that, there's no complete "closure." Because that would imply you let go of the child. And you don't. You try to let go of some of the grief. Or the heaviness of it.

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  66. Exactly, but at least if he is dead and they have the remains it is a closure that at least he's dead or he's alive, because that questioning it huts the soul. The saddening part of this is that, well Dish just gave us a month of free I.D. (Investigation Discovery) and it's so sad to realize how many people has gone missing and how many people are suffering every day because of this.

    I'm o.k. if a lot of people just want to go off and move and whatever the least you can do is send an e-mail, give a call, send a letter, give some proof that you are happy, alive and well. If you don't want to deal with your family is ok. but at least let them know... it's so heartbreaking to not know. I don't say this by experience but by watching all these episode of Disappeared and how much the families suffer it's really, really sad.

    PS. what I meant that he knew the ending of the book is that if he knew you can't do this that way just go unprepared why would he do something like that? again there's just sooo many questions.

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  67. I just watched the episode and I'm sorry but I agree that he is more than likely dead..so sad though :(

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  68. Thanks for your comments, folks.

    I agree that many episodes of Disappeared leave one feeling very sad.

    There are a few with happy endings and some of them have serious lessons hidden in them--like the one where the guy could NOT get the police to list his wife as a MISSING PERSON despite doing ALL the legwork himself to prove there was every reason to presume she was "missing and endangered" and not "missing willfully."

    And then he went around the police to the media and this forced the police's hand.

    And he continued looking himself.

    And his wife was found in her wrecked vehicle that had gone over the side of a highway.

    And they found her just in the nick of time.

    Of course, if they focus on too many of these "happy ending" missing persons case they would not be doing the greater service of potentially getting help to find those still missing.

    So I understand why they're mostly sad stories.

    But yeah. Shows like this remind one of how important it is to be ever vigilant in this world of predators and monsters.

    I think every woman (and maybe every man) should carry things like pepper spray, loud alarms on keychains, etc.

    Abduction defense training should really be a part of primary and second education, IMHO.

    Because it happens too often now for people not to be prepared to potentially have to defend their lives in these circumstances.

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  69. This story is so sad to me. I don't know why it sticks out to me out of every episode, but it just upsets me that he was seen at a gas station & a walmart looking as if nothing happened while his family & friends were worried sick. Though we don't know what's happened to him, I will say he did a selfish thing. He seemed like he had everything a teenage would want, a job, a car, a loving family, lots of friends, even a relationship. I just can't seem to figure this out.

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  70. This story just saddened me among the others I have watched. The theory of him joining the Israel Army is unlikely since a passport and plane ticket would have been expensive and with only 500.00 dollars I doubt he was able to reach that destination. I too believe he is in the river. Its unfortunate that his texting of reaching out was ignored. The theory of taking off and hitch hiking is hard to believe especially if he left his beloved yarmulke behind. I believe he overdosed and went into the river leaving signs that this is where his final destination was and his reasons of why. I truly hope his mother is able to find closure whether he is alive or dead she needs closure.

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  71. Just watched this episode in Scotland, so sad, hope is is o.k, did he have a passport with him ?

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  72. Lee either is a genius who planned every detail of his disappearance, or he died in beginning of the disappearance. My questions is about the wallet. Did the police find his ID? If you think about it, Lee would have needed his ID to leave the country. If this was staged Lee would of have to purchased a fake Id. Because I thought the airlines keep records of all the names of the passengers on the flights. Also, didn't the police say he had $800.00 to his name. Is that even enough money to fly to Israel? The river theory is the most intriguing to me. Did the police officially declare the river as not a possible cause of death? If Lee is dead you would think that the river would be the main focus. One last thing, I live in Utah, as you are probably already aware, the Susan Powell disappearance is pretty big in Utah. With that said, do you have theory on the Powell case?

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    1. I too am curious about his wallet. Was it found? Its interesting he locked his car. Was he planning on returning? If i was planning my death I wouldn't care if my car was locked or not. But again that's me and my humble opinion. Why take your 2 fav books on being free if your planning on dying? can't believe he would go into the river. If he took all those pills he would've fallen asleep which is what he wanted in his note. Whether that was meant as a suicide or not. Either way one would think he would've taken the pills and laid down. It's possible he threw the pills in the water and staged a death. I don't think it's cruel to do so when Oct 20 was the date to leave your family in his religious belief and Oct 20 was the day he disappeared. Too coincidental. He left a note for a reason. He knew it would be found. It was a goodbye. Whether he's alive or not he didn't or doesn't want to be found. He said he didn't feel he fit in. He hugged his mom goodbye. Spent time with friends. Stated he didn't feel he fit in and than left. Why drive to baraboo to kill yourself? I'm sure there is plenty of places in IL he could've. I agree the Wisconsin police probably didn't do an extensive search as they should have. I doubt they are really trained or use to dealing with a case like this. Inexperience makes crappy police work sadly. I believe the worst part is his family and loved ones not knowing for sure and not having closure. I wouldn't give up either till I had the truth. No parent can or should. My heart goes out to his mom and all his loved ones. The truth is no one knows but lee and no one will know until he is found. Breaks my heart.

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  73. Hi. Thanks for your comment. I haven't read about the Powell case. The police were dismissive about L.C.'s body being in the river (or in the environs) but I got the impression that was a premature pronouncement. I'll read up on the Powell case tomorrow when I'm more awake. Cheers.

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  74. watched the programme about lee on disapereard! iam a mancunian( from manchester england) noticed that lee had a manchester city football club shirt on! lee could be living in manchester, england i know its a long shot but it could possibly be an avenue to look down. manchester is a big city and has a big jewish community. i know its unlikely to think he may be there but any help is important. hope lee comes home alive one day.xx

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  75. I hope it happens. Thanks for your comment and well wishes for Lee.

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  76. Just watched this on Netflix as well. This is truly one of the saddest stories I think I've seen and I watch a lot of detective shows.
    I think some of the most important things are as stated above, was his ID found? Because you can't do anything without one today, and then passport issue. This was quite a while a go now though, but as with everyone else I hope he's found alive.
    Shawn.

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  77. Hi Shawn. I agree about how sad this is/was. I don't remember any longer about the i.d. I don't think he would have left the country if he is still alive (which you probably know I believe is highly improbable since you read the above). Good point though. That would be something someone who was going to disappear might want to keep. But better to start over with a new identity since you're going to be flagged by various computer systems if you use it (DMV, etc.). But if is alive--which is a really really outside chance but stranger things have happened--he probably has a new name, new identity, and of course new i.d. I think I.D. ran that one disappeared recently on "global amnesia" to remind everyone it does happen. But they pointed out how rare it is--that almost no doctor who treats even a superhigh volume of patients will ever see it in their lifetime. Although if you watched the DISAPPEARED on Steven Koecher, oddly enough that's one of the few cases where I think amnesia might be a very likely explanation of what happened...and I do think that young man is alive. I wish I believed that about Lee Cutler, who clearly was a wonderful human being also.

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  78. This case is so strange but I have a strong gut feeling he is alive. I am just no buying into that whole suicide thing, it doesn't make sense.

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  79. I just finished watching "Disappeared" episode with Lee Cutler. I feel bad for his mother but come on! He apologized for being a "coward" in his letter. He had clothing and religious items found in or around the river. He also had desperate text messages the night before. Without going into the same detail you did, I just want to say he is dead. It is unfortunate but seems the most likely outcome. Out of all the evidence this case has, it all leads to suicide. I really enjoyed your detailed account of why you believe that as well. I will pray for him, his mother and may they both find comfort and the love they are looking for.

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  80. what about the one who disappeared while diving in that cave I think he drowned in there or he never went in there at and made it look alike he did

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  81. What about the who vanished in the underwater cave or did he because I think that he never went to cave and made it look like he did

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  82. I saw that episode. Like his parents, I believe he's in that cave and his remains just have not been recovered. It's creepy but understandable. He was an adrenaline junkie who liked to push that envelope WAAAAY out there. And he liked tunneling in that sand...that's how he used to get into the "advanced" part of the cave before his buddy gave him the key. So as that experienced diver who made a film about this said, he probably panicked in his last moments and tunneled or wedged himself in some place where nobody's ever gone before. You saw the show. You heard them say how few people had even penetrated that far in. And we're talking world-class divers. I think it's a one in a million chance he's still alive. Another sad story. Do you remember any episodes of Disappeared that end happily. I can remember at least three. The woman who left because her family treated her like shit because she was an alcoholic. She was found safe and sound. And the wonderful story about the husband who kept looking for his wife and found her car off the road in the nick of time. He's a hero to me. Because he did it all himself. He didn't listen to people when they told him to just sit back and cool his heels. If he had, she would have been dead. And the woman with "global amnesia." But they're the exception. Most of these stories end with the discovery of bones. There probably are a few other "happy ending" ones I'm forgetting. Thanks for your comment.

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  83. It just aired on TLC in the Netherlands. I wanted to know if there was any news so I googled. I hope he will be found soon, so his family can find peace.

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  84. just been shown in the uk. the guy would not take is own life . i believe the guy has set up life elsewere hes alive

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  85. I just finished watching the Lee Cutler , missing person story. Up until the end , I felt he truly was on a similar Journey, as the book he left in his trunk called, " Into the Wild" was about, and ultimately would be found dead some where , as the other young man was, with his Journal next to him. But, then last 5 minutes of the story leads me to think , he just may be alive, and following his original calling that his mom , Police , Detective , and the complete story line of the Lee Cutler missing person story, wait till the last few minutes of the show to tell you about... regarding Israel. He attends his cousins wedding in Israel, and LOVED it , did research on Google with his MOM ? Then sent direct inquires to the Jewish Army, and just as the show is over, the mother says, you know , I never saw any mail pertaining to any of that BUT .... ( she, then says ) Lee would always get the mail before anyone else...hello...definite cliff hanger, the show then ends ???? Bringing us to this AMAZING ongoing BLOG ???? I think, their have to be certain avenues for Jewish Americans or anyone , of age, to be giving the opportunity , to join the Israel Army, and possibly , receive financial assistance getting there , surely , once a part of it, he can show his knowledge of his Jewish faith , which is actually the beginning of the entire Lee story , remember his friend, reads from the scripture , referencing the date ,Oct. 20 , about starting your own personal Journey. I also believe he would have possibly changed his last name , to his mother's maiden name maybe,for a more spiritual connection to her , who knows , anything is possible.............Or , as a mother of three sons myself, I would surely hold close to that theory, just to make each tomorrow easier to bare... I also have faith that when he really grows up, if he is alive , he will send a silent WRITTEN ( which is what he LOVED to do ) message, some way to his family , so they will find some comfort. My HEART aches terribly for his mother , and I will pray , that closure , in any sense of a way , comes to her soon. I wonder why we only find out the Israel information , in the last 5 minutes of the story ? How come no one else feels that such information like that , which is a major big point to me , isn't even discussed until the show is about to be over? I feel his JOURNALS will surface , and a Book/Movie will be a true future possibility ? Cha Ching (in a good way I mean that) Just think , even this blog , and all it's entries of Love & Concern ,from STRANGERS ,all over the world have shared. Wow , we already begun to produce a journal, so far , based on continued "Curiosity" to the "Lee Cutler" Adult missing story information, and any news so far ???? I hope we find some answers soon !

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  86. You know, I never took the "expatriated to Israel" seriously until I read your comment. Did he really attend a wedding in Israel? I don't remember that. I know about his interest in joining the Israeli army but I wasn't aware he had been over there. The only way I could see this happening is if he was recruiting secretly (like say by the Mossad). I realize how preposterous that sounds but it could happen. They still have one of the most active and wide-reaching secret intelligence agencies on the planet. But this would mean that Lee could stand making his mother think he was dead, which I don't believe he could morally do, being a good person and all. And I know his Mom's not faking. Anybody's who has seen her pain can see how real that is. I hope you're right. You can't help but hope as long as there's no body found. But I realize how far-fetched these hopes are.

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  88. You're right. I just found a transcript of the show. I had forgotten he had actually been over there. Then he might have actually made contacts. Or any recruiting forces might have realized how much this guy could be trusted. That he had the old sort of serious faith.

    "00:50:30 Narrator: Lee's love for israel started when he went to cousin ross' wedding in jerusalem in 2005."

    Who knows. It does give a little more credence to my mind then that it might be a faked death.

    I think the odds are against it. But that is a remote possibility. It would still mean he could deal his mother that horrible a blow, which I find hard to believe.

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  89. Just watched this show for the first time on Netflix thinking that it might trigger some creative juices for writing fictional stories. I couldn't have been more wrong, and I doubt I'll watch any more of the shows. What a sad story. Having dealt with suicidal thoughts and having grown up in Chicago (my sister actually lives just miles from Buffalo Grove), it really hit home.

    Mr. Keckler, thanks for writing this blog; it appears to be the only running update on this case. As for the most recent posts about him going to Israel, it's more than a little absurd. I'm certain investigators would have checked if he traveled. While it's possible a 17 year old (he'd just turned 18 weeks before) could have figured out how to establish a faked identity, it's extremely unlikely he'd gotten one so completely iron-clad to have obtained a passport. Moreover, I find it irresponsible journalism by the TV program to even suggest such a perposterous possibility. He managed to convert $500 in small bills into an international airline ticket? What about food? Clothing? Lodging? Moreover he'd have had to have gone all the way up to MN or down to O'Hare (back south of where he lived) for an international flight. How did he get to either without a trace? And moreover....why???

    I could go on and on, but I will not. I believe I know the likely outcome to this case but who's to ever know for sure?

    Sending positive thoughts and prayers to Lee's friends and family. Hopefully the positive memories of Lee live in people's hearts and minds. I hope one day you all have closure. I pray one day you all have peace.

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  91. Hi Stephen. Thanks for your kind words and good wishes for a happy resolution (or at least peace) for the ones who live with this young man's disappearance.

    The show does play up angles of mystery or extremely unlikely scenarios sometimes. On the one hand, we know how unlikely these scenarios are. On the other hand, we've all seen news stories where life is indeed stranger than fiction. In a world this (factually anyway) large, with seven billion people, some stories play out in exceedingly improbable ways.

    Of course, they're being clever and featherbedding. Because this is what gets the shows talked about. And this means the cases are talked about. And this means, ultimately, some good may come of this due to the increased awareness about the missing person or people.

    This installment of the series was indeed sad. I'd like to say there aren't numerous other installments that have just as much pathos to their stories. But there are.

    Still, you might want to stick with it or give the show another chance because a few do have happy endings and a number of them are indeed fascinating studies of human nature and psychology. I've learned a lot from this series. There is a lot of practical knowledge to be gained, should we ever be placed (and here's hoping we're not!) in such a horrible situation as to have a loved one go mysteriously missing.

    The one where the husband with the missing wife completely disregards everything the authorities tell him and engineers his own search for his wife (who he recovers at death's door and who survives) was a very powerful narrative.

    There are others along those lines.

    The McStay family disappearance is the case that went around the world. That obsessed me for a while. That and Lee Cutler seem to have been the two cases which most fascinate people, the former because of the Marie Celeste-like nature of the disappearance. And the latter because of the pathos of losing such a good soul at such a young age--and probably because it reminds us how insidious mental illness can be in stealing lives.

    Best wishes for success with your published books and those you have yet to write. I followed the Blogger link back and was impressed with the way you're promoting your writing.

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  92. I Just watched the episode on Netflix as well, and realizing that it was broadcast years ago, I googled Lee Cutler to see if there was any new leads. I have to agree with everything you said up there, WK, as sad as it is. It's crazy to think that if Lee is alive, he has probably read this blog because it's one of the first things that comes up if he were to google himself.

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  93. Like most, I just watched lee's story on Netflix. I read just about every comment on here and I'm still undecided on what happened to him. It was stated he had $500-$800 yet he didn't buy but some medicine and a park entrance ticket. What did you think about the ticket? It was said he paid the amount for someone that resided in that city, and he did not live by that park. As for the passport, I believe he had one because of traveling to his cousins wedding. But how would he survive on that small amount of money? Everyone asks, how could he do this to his mother. How many stories have we seen or read about where people are very kind in public and to others, but have a different personality or way of life when alone. The amnesia theory, maybe I don't understand, but if this were the case why hasn't he been found roaming around? Unless there is evidence of a body, alive or dead, we will never know what really happened to him. Shows don't tell everything either.

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  94. Thanks for the comments. Courtney, if Lee is reading this I will address this message to him now: LEE CUTLER, PHONE HOME!! PRONTO!!!

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  95. I think that some people here have finally brought up the two elements which leapt immediately to mind as the keys to this mystery.

    1. Where is that money? Was it in the car? It seems unlikely that he would leave everything else but take the money in to the river. If the money wasn't there, then it must have gone somewhere.

    2. Where is his passport? Still at home? It's going to be hard to hitch-hike to Israel. He wont even be able to leave the country without an ID, though those are easier to forge or find.

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    1. If there was an organization collecting money in front of the Walmart he purchased the medications from, he could have put the money into their bucket/cup/box without much notice. My local Walmart almost always has someone out front from one organization or another.

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  96. Hi Cato. Good point about the money. But I'm not sure that just because the show might have omitted mentioning money found in the river, that it didn't happen. Searchers might have found money and it didn't make it onto the show's narrative. Or the money could be missing because L.C. gave it away in an act of charity before whatever bad thing went down did. Or possibly he did survive and leave that site. I suppose it's the easiest thing in the world for him to have had a change of clothes in that vehicle and he could have gone to the nearest truckstop (he supposedly loved hanging out there). I've always assumed (and hated doing so) that he's dead and that the search just wasn't really sufficient (it was a short term search). I've based that on the facts I mention in the post above. But mostly it's based on the idea that amnesia is very rare and, barring amnesia, it's hard to reconcile Lee Cutler's character with the action of destroying his mother and others with the act of deliberately vanishing (and making it look like a suicide). But who know what is in another's heart. I might vacillate between a 99% and say 95% certainty that this young man is no longer with us. But I do have that sliver of doubt that sometimes widens. If he didn't die, then he definitely wanted people to think he did. But looking at his past history with mental health, it seems most likely that things are what they seem on the surface: a tragedy. If not then, I'd say he's that extremely rare case of amnesia.

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  97. Sometimes people speculate that people who disappear do it because they want to live a lifestyle of which (they fear) others/loved ones might not approve. That too is a remote possibility. Like say if he was gay or wanted to convert from Judaism to...oh...Rastafarianism. I'm deliberately being random. Just to say, yeah, sometimes there are other wild reasons that people have for disappearing.

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  98. Just watched. Great blog. I feel sad that it brings up bad feelings for his friends and family, but look at the amount of people curious of the outcome! People care - which means Lee is honored.

    And I think it's horrible that people could place blame on his friends for being unresponsive...it is no one fault...it was no ones responsibility..a single text couldn't change his fate. I hope his friends and family are seeking counseling. Very traumatic.

    My biggest question is the pants.If he did fake his death, Did he have another pair? If not, he mustve hitchhiked half naked!

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  99. I am watching the "Lee Cutler" episode on The "OWN" network. I originally watched it when it first appeared a couple of years ago and I remember his story over all the other Disappeared stories over the years. I again google his name to see if there has been an update without success. I think Lee walked away from his life however, based on the episode, I do think his mom believes he is gone. It is sad to think such a young person would have so many emotional problems based on a relationship which caused him to attempt suicide. He appeared to be bright and intelligent young man. I pray that he is o.k and will reconnect with his family one day.

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  100. for some reason this case makes me hurt inside. I think its because Lee reminds me so much of myself. All of the negative self judgements he made. That makes it a lot easier to walk away from loving friends and family. You just have to keep in mind at the time of the depression that no matter how bad it feels your brain is just playing a trick on you and you HAVE TO PUSH THROUGH IT. I agree with your theory completely. Breaks my heart. Had he gotten through this part of his life he could have out grown this period and become happy. Or simply become more aware of his feelings and learn not to trust what your brain tells you sometimes... At least thats how I made it through that rough period of life... Brings tears to my eyes. Poor kid. Must have been so hard on himself. I wish I could have spoken to him. Or better yet maybe his mother or one of his friends that he had texted that night!!!!!!!!!! ugh... show the people you love that you care everyday... I believe Lee Cutler is in the Baraboo river. They should have run tests to see where his body would have ended up after going down stream or getting caught up in the rapids etc. (maybe they did, what do I know) Lee didn't fake his death, I believe he was too caring to do such a thing. But when you are in that much mental pain taking your own life becomes a way out for you, and when you don't think your friends and family care as much as they do you don't realize how badly you destroy their lives. Had Lee known how much they cared he would not have done this. I believe he got naked or got down to his underwear before either jumping in or going into the river as the meds took effect. Or as you stated the pants simply came off the body in the water. I am a size 29 or 30 waist and even with a belt I cant get my pants to stay on. (my pants are usually a size 32 or so, similar to what Lee wears, and yes you can step right out of them) I also think he left the State Park area because he wanted to try to hide his body in a body of water (Baraboo River) or there were simply too many people. I am just guessing here. Would help to know if there was a river or body of water in the State Park that he visited before going to the Baraboo River. I would volunteer myself to search the Baraboo River. Somebody needs to do a more thorough search following currents etc...

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  101. I live all the way in South Africa and watched the episode of lee's disappearance and it has left me so disturbed and wondering how he could leave his family without just letting them know he is ok and not to look for him, that he is going his own way, not to fake his death, as I believe he did. Goes to show how he can touch people all over the world that don't even know him with this sad story! I hope he is found alive and contacts his mom and there will be a happy ending to this story. A point on the jar of money he had, maybe he used it to pay a truck driver to take him across state line? Just a guess.

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  102. Just watched the episode in London today, and I really hope that Lee is alive. I feel that he may have just left everything he knew behind to start a new life and a new way of living for himself. It must have been hard on him too, having to leave his mum like that and we know he was very close to her. Pray that he is happy and settled in a possible new life.

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  103. I would think his body would have eventually washed up somewhere.

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  104. It clearly said it cost 7 dollars for a Wisconsin resident. 10 dollars for a person out of state..he had a receipt for 7 dollars. Clearly he knew somebody there of was meeting somebody there or was with somebody. I personally think he faked it and dropped his car off. Staged the pills and pants and belt.. got in the car with somebody and left the state or country. This story has me intreged. I would like to know more about this.

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  105. Just saw this on Netflix. Sad story. I live in Madison, WI and shop at Walmart here. I hope they can find out what happened to Lee soon!

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  106. CSI in ACTION.. READ ON:::!!!

    His river suiside looks like an obvious fake.. Hears my reasoning:

    They found his pants seperate from his belt..

    That may seem normal when first hearing it, but WHO TAKES THEIR BELT ALL THE WAY OUT TO TAKE THEIR PANTS OFF IF THEY ARE NOT HANGING THE BELT OR PUTTING IT ON ANOTHER PAIR OF PANTS... you would just loosen and drop the pants.. think about it..

    What happened was: he had a SECOND pair of pants and did not switch them for the ones he was wearing.. he took off his belt and laid it next to the second pair of pants.. maybe it was chilly and he didnt want to change by a river..Think about it, have you ever put a belt on pants you were not wearing??? it's awkward..and hard..

    If he wanted to be convincing he would have taken off the pants he was wearing with the belt on and put on the second pair...

    In his mind he said,"pants/belt, good enough"..

    but I know from taking pants off to a bathing suit and back to my pants, THAT YOU DO NOT TAKE A BELT ALL THE WAY OFF UNLESS YOU ARE PLANNING ON PUTTING IT ON ANOTHER PAIR OF PANTS...

    this may seem subtle, but when they glazed over this part on tv I started to get mad no one else noticed this huge red flag..

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  107. CSI in ACTION.. READ ON:::!!!

    His river suiside looks like an obvious fake.. Hears my reasoning:

    They found his pants seperate from his belt..

    That may seem normal when first hearing it, but WHO TAKES THEIR BELT ALL THE WAY OUT TO TAKE THEIR PANTS OFF IF THEY ARE NOT HANGING THE BELT OR PUTTING IT ON ANOTHER PAIR OF PANTS... you would just loosen and drop the pants.. think about it..

    What happened was: he had a SECOND pair of pants and did not switch them for the ones he was wearing.. he took off his belt and laid it next to the second pair of pants.. maybe it was chilly and he didnt want to change by a river..Think about it, have you ever put a belt on pants you were not wearing??? it's awkward..and hard..

    If he wanted to be convincing he would have taken off the pants he was wearing with the belt on and put on the second pair...

    In his mind he said,"pants/belt, good enough"..

    but I know from taking pants off to a bathing suit and back to my pants, THAT YOU DO NOT TAKE A BELT ALL THE WAY OFF UNLESS YOU ARE PLANNING ON PUTTING IT ON ANOTHER PAIR OF PANTS...

    this may seem subtle, but when they glazed over this part on tv I started to get mad no one else noticed this huge red flag..

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  108. Sometimes even the kindest person can do the most selfish things. We're all human. No one knows whether or not he had more money. Yes, the money from the jar was gone but he may have had more elsewhere. If he was sick of the life he knew, even if it were his own demons skewing his view, he may have wanted to start a new life somewhere. Also, in the scene with his pants, was it just me, or was his wallet lying next to his pants and belt? It all seemed very staged to me, and yet I wouldn't be surprised to hear news of his death. But I hope not...

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  109. Thanks for your comment. Remember, though, the scenes you are seeing are not actual photos of what police found or anything. They are just recreations (with a lot of speculation added in!) made for a television show.

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  110. My thoughts and prayers go out to Lees family and friends. If I have learned anything watching this show and ID Channel, it is that I never will underestimate human nature, capability, evil, etc. I agree with your assessment on what happened to Lee. I think he took the meds to get sleepy, relaxed and then walked in the river.
    Very sad.

    WK-I too, was touched by the McStay family episode. That one really baffles me-I wonder what happened to them.

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  111. Thanks for your thoughts. They must have run the show in (my) middle of the night or early morning (I'm on EST). I'm not by any means certain, but as someone else just left on another post--about the Disappeared episode on Ray Gricar, who vanished not far from where I live--rivers and their rapids, dams, are known to break bodies up so they are never found. Gricar's car was parked right next to the Susquehanna River (which flows through my town) north of here, and his laptop was found in the river. The commenter pointed out that the show on Lee Cutler didn't mention the rapids in the Baraboo River near where Lee disappeared. Bodies can get trapped in such strange places--like dams, natural as well as the other kind. I don't have 100% certainty with regard to L.C. (how do we ever really have 100%) but I'd place it pretty close to there. If he did fake his death, he was an absolute genius at it. I hope his loved ones have found peace. He was a good person. That should matter more than the way he died, which we're all going to do. The note goodbye was an apology and an expression of love. He was dealing with an illness he thought he could not beat. And I know nobody knew how serious and large that was in his head. Nobody except him.

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  112. Commenter @ 4:52. I'm not sure why the misprision with regard to my empathetic feelings about Lee Cutler's suicide. Nowhere do I say or even imply that Lee did not love his family or everyone else in his world. I'm sorry you lost a loved one to suicide. I'm guessing you didn't read the full comment stream, since I talk about my own history with suicidal thoughts and behavior. So I don't need to "educate myself" about what I've lived and nowhere did I express the sentiments you are attributing to me. If you read the comment I just left (before this one) you will see you and I think exactly the same way about this. But I should point out that you're wrong about all sucides being caused by "chemical imbalance." In Cutler's cause I think that was very probable. But there are also suicides which occur because humans have free will and don't want to live with that or that horrible state of affairs (physical pain, abandonement, loneliness, mental anguish). If you believe that every single suicide is a chemical imbalance and beyond someone's control you're sadly mistaken. As proof, please read up on the Hemlock Society. Socrates did not kill himself because of a chemical imbalance. He killed himself because he chose to cleave to the truth, as he understood it, rather than recant and please society. So your generalizations are inaccurate, nurse or not. I don't mean to sound abrasive, but you judged me (incorrectly) and you misstated the way life really is, in a somewhat naive fashion. But I do think you're right that L.C.'s suicide was more a "chemical imbalance" than a rational choice by someone fully possessed of their senses. The wording of his suicide note, if nothing else, clearly indicates a disordered state of mind. Be well.

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  113. Hey, commenter on Ray Gricar and the Susquehanna's rapids, thanks for pointing that very good logical point out. I thought at first it was on another post because for some odd reason Blogger orders comments achronologically sometimes. I don't get why that happens but your comment is sandwiched in much further up than where you chronologically (early a.m. EST) left it. I quoted or paraphrased you in a comment I just left because the comparison with the Baraboo River is valid. But with Ray Gricar I admit much less "certainty." That case is very strange. But his brother's suicide and his clear depression are strong facts militating in the direction he did take his life by entering that river. It's quite possible he went into the water with the laptop or near where it was recovered. I still don't understand that circuitous route he mapped out on the computer for a route he always drove. That's very bizarre. Maybe it was just a sign of his disordered state of mind.

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  114. i too found this blog while searching for updates on the Lee Cutler case. i've been fascinated by the many thoughts shared, but disappointed by the lack of closure this case has failed to receive.
    after watching it tonight, i unfortunately agree with your theory almost entirely. that note is such a sign of someone resigned to a suicidal end. also, i think that it unrealistic to think that his body would've been certainly recovered. all that debris, rapids and other factors sometimes make a search very difficult--and the cold water could've slowed decomp-driven factors that are often relied upon to retrieve bodies, i.e. swelling via gasses to drive the body to the surface.
    as secretive as he was portrayed to be, he strikes me as a deeply hurting person whose judgment was colored by the depression he was dealing with. my heart breaks for his mother and the friends and family who long for his return. i pray that he returns to them soon, heathy and well, or barring that possibility, the final chapter of this sad story so they can put an end to the horrible state of not knowing where your loved one is.

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  115. Commenter @5:32 p.m. Thanks for your thoughts and good wishes for the family. It's so much worse when you don't actually have the loved one to bury or the certainty to grieve. You see this again and again in cases with the missing. But I think by now they have to know in their hearts. Because he wasn't a cruel kid. He wouldn't leave them hanging like this. Probably he had NO IDEA his (probable) suicide would leave any mystery. He figured they would read that note and have peace. He was too young to know things would have gotten better. And too young to know good mothers like his never get over something like that. But he wasn't in his right mind. As you mention: the note. It says a lot about how out of control his universe had become. But he was a "keeper-inner." Nobody knew.

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  116. You know, I would agree that he actually commit suicide if not for one simple thing...

    He had well over $500 apparently. Why would he have taken ALL of that money if he simply needed to buy some pills? That doesn't add up. He would have taken only what he needed and left the rest. I believe he faked his death and tried to start his life over somewhere. The money wasn't found anywhere, was it? If the money had been found somewhere, then sure, but that didn't seem to be the case...

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  117. Here's another thing to consider, suicide is a very serious thing regarding the Jewish faith. It is considered a very heavy sin. If Lee was such a devout Jew, then he would not have commit suicide.

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  118. Devout Jews kill themselves too. Did you ever hear of a place called Masada?

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  119. I'm not saying they don't kill themselves, but it seems unlikely someone so deeply involved and connected to his faith would take his own life like that when it's considered such a heavy sin in said faith. He seemed much smarter than that.

    The one thing I'm concerned about is what name he would be going by now. Unless he figured out a way to forge fake documents or obtain new ones somehow without arising suspicion, it seems hard to do. He could still be going by Lee Cutler or Sterling Cutler or just L Cutler somewhere, perhaps even a name similar to the name Lee.

    Wasn't there sightings of him in Minnesota at one point? I would think he never actually made it to Israel like he planned, since he wouldn't have the money for that. He would have had to settle down somewhere for a while and save up.

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  120. I don't think how "smart" one is really has anything to do with the sort of desperation that comes out of a depressed state--and the terrible situations one can make at such a time. Lee Cutler had been severely depressed before (hospitalized for it) and the note he left was indicative of serious depression at the time of his disappearance as well. I don't see someone as caring as L.C. leaving everyone suffering so much. Probably he figured his body would be found and his loved ones would come to a peace. That seems to have been his final wish, which was a noble thing. Some suicides leave notes lashing out blaming others. Clearly, Lee Cutler blamed no one. He was just dealing with a force (severe depression) he could not see a way around.

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  121. Didn't seem like a suicide note to me. The whole thing seemed very much like a fake death. You argue that he was too caring to fake a death and I argue he was too smart to commit suicide. People who seem very caring, can in fact do things that seem very uncaring.

    I firmly believe he's alive somewhere and just decided to start over.

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  122. By far the best blog I've ever read about Lee. Inasmuch as I WANT to believe in hope, that Lee IS somewhere safe and sound while collecting his thoughts and dreams, I fear he is no longer with us. The suicide note is what it is ... suicide :( I know this because I can't count the many months/years I spent myself wishing to God I could just sleep for two weeks straight, so I could catch up on some well-needed rest and hope that the daily stresses in life would surely be gone when I woke up. This is common among insomniacs. Realistically, unless you're comatose, no one wants or needs two weeks sleep unless they have no plans on returning. Lee knew this. A good nights sleep, or two, or three simply wasn't enough to cure his insomnia. He'd lived with it so long, that death was the only rest he'd ever see. I fear Lee's insomnia, which only aggravated any symptoms of depression, left him desperate. He overdosed with Advil PM, took the hallucinogenic Coriciden (sp?), and in this altered state submitted his life to that river. A river, known for its rapidity and wildlife as much as its beauty, that runs clear through the state. His yamaka, the note, his campsite, and his pants and belt left at the river were all signs to let someone, anyone, know he was there. But he had no intentions of returning to this life, no :(. In addition (and I cant explain why this happens) but when people resign themselves to death, they are almost comforted by this prospect. A goal of sorts (that's very sad to me) Lee clearly knew that with his insomnia, coupled with depression and deep thought (my head is too big for my body) that death was the only rest he would ever see :( Another thought worth mentioning: No matter how romanticized Chris McCandless's "Into the Wild" story may be, beautiful and introspective, we ALL know how his story ended. So did Lee. The difference between the two being, Chris clearly wanted to save his own life in the end. He tried, to no avail. I believe Lee on the other hand, knew very well when he himself went "Into the Wild" that he had no plans to come out alive by choice. So rather than take off to this gorgeous landscape surrounded by beauty and nature only to physically suffer the consequences like Chris, Lee purchases Advil PM and Coriciden which could possibly sedate him PAST the point of survivors instinct. Perhaps with these medications, he truly did simply fall into a sleep-like state, rather than desperately try to save his life at the last moment. May this young man rest in peace :( This story breaks my heart and I'll never forget it :( I live in Louisiana and saw Lee's mother's anguish on television ON MY BIRTHDAY those years ago. It never escapes me. I have three children, one of them a son myself. I canNOT imagine, and fear to think, the anguish this mother must go through. She clearly loved and adored her boy. How incredibly sad for this young man and all who loved him.

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  123. Hi. First, I hope you and yours are safe and well after the hellacious hurricane down your way. And thanks for your kind and thoughtful words, which might be read by someone who knew Lee or who never knew Lee but cared about him anyone, simply because they discovered he was a good person who was dealing with serious depression--and because he is gone and meant so much to so many people, and continues to mean so much to so many people. I'd like to think this has nothing to do with the way Lee looked or that he was "cool," but simply because people celebrate good souls in this world. I think that's why it rankles so much. That and his youth....to die at that age such a double tragedy. There's been one report stating that Ambien shortens lifespan but my doctor (and others) have questioned the validity of that study. I mention this because you mention how important sleep is in escaping the depressive cycle (sleep is vital!! insomnia can literally be a killer) and as a bipolar individual I know sleep aids are able to completely change the complexion of my world when I'm on a manic tear and simultaneously feeling depressed. Those eight hours of oblivion can help you wake to a completely different world/mindset/mood. I think you make a good point of distinguishing McCandless's intention versus Lee's desperate decision. His suicide note was meant to absolve anybody of any guilt they might feel (unwarranted!) and let them know this was entirely his own decision and he was attempting to escape nobody but himself, a situation he felt was unfixable---and what bothers all of us who know this story is that we know it probably was fixable...but if someone does not in their heart believe that, they sometimes make these tragic decisions. If ANYONE knew he was this close to the edge, he would have never died. I know he kept it all to himself. And it's so hard for others to accept that there's nothing they could have done since they were not and are not mindreaders. He was smart enough to hide his intentions/true feelings/despair. I too hope he's still alive but I just can't feel that as a reality. The only way would be if he was amnesiac...and that's so rare. Extremely, extremely rare. The only case of DISAPPEARED where I though amnesia might be a real possibility is with Steven Koecher. In that case, it sort of looks like he might have been entering a fugue state or into a true full-blown amnesia. He's one of the few subjects of that show (along with the McStay family, who I'm virtually certain are all alive) where I think there's a great probability this guy is still with us.

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  124. I just saw this story for the second time and thought I would look for new information. William I am not sure of your connection (if any) to the family, but its awesome to see that you have taken the time to do this Blog. I hope and pray for the family that Lee is still alive. Although I have never experienced a missing person, i have dealt with suicide in my immediate family. It is never easy to deal with, especially if there is no body or proof that this occured. I will continue to check this Blog for more information.

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  125. Sorry you had to deal with that. No, no connection to the family. Just someone like you who felt the terrible sense of loss upon learning the facts, and seeing what his poor mother went through. I too hope and pray he is still alive, but if that is not the reality, that his family and loved ones will all find peace.

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  126. read skippyJon Jones..... "my ears are to big for my head... MY HEAD IS TOO BIG FOR MY BODY...."

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  127. So I was up late searching through Netflix for something to watch...and I found this show called "Disappeared." First episode: Lee Cutler, and that's how I got here. I can see where people might think it's a suicide...but honestly, at his age, I went through the exact same thing pretty much. I was never suicidal, but I too read "Into the Wild" and fantasized about going on my own adventure. During my senior year in high school, all my friends knew early on EXACTLY what they wanted to do. I had no idea whatsoever. All I heard about was all the cool things that people planned on doing, and it all sounded so exciting, and then I became discouraged about my own life. Running away seemed like an awesome thing to do, but I could never do that to my family. And frankly the adventure isn't quite the same if mommy calls you every night to make sure you're safe. I even fantasized about faking my own death...but again, my family. Couldn't do it to them. So I never went on my adventure. But I did end up graduating college so no complaints. ANYWAY...I'd bet money Lee is still out there somewhere. After all this time he might be afraid to come home due to anger/pain/suffering gone through by his family. My advice to his mother: Make a website or something that's easy to find, like LeeCutler.com or something. On the website, make it clear that whenever Lee decides to come home, you'll be waiting with open arms. I'd say there's reason to have hope.

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  128. Hi Tom. Thanks for sharing your story and your optimism. Maybe you're right. Stranger things have happened. If he did fake his own death, he did it in a genius sort of way. But then he was a very smart kid. If that's your first episode of Disappeared, you have a bunch of other really fascinating episodes waiting for you to find. I think Lee Cutler and the McStay family are probably the two most fascinating disappearances from my perspective, but I find all the stories sort of mesmerizing. Because in today's world it should be really hard to disappear and have never a trace found. But it is a pretty big world and people (or bodies) can still be lost. I guess being "lost at sea" is one way never to be found. But land is just another sort of sea to get lost in. Especially deep forest terrain, rivers, and so on. Glad you got past the discouragement of the younger years. My worst depression were all around that age. Like they say about other things, "It gets better." But you know that.

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  129. William, your analysis makes sense, but I think Tom's does too. I thought of the same reason Lee may not have been back in touch with his family yet, if he's still alive. He may be afraid, or he may just not be ready yet. It took Chris McCandless several years before he was ready to see his family again. Tragically, Chris died before he was able to make it home, but Lee has the advantage of having read Chris's story and learned from it. I hope Lee is out there having adventures and that he will some day decide to go home to see his mother and family and friends.

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  130. Just stumbled on this when searching for an update on Lee. I actually went to school with him and understand completely how Stevenson can put such pressure on a kid. If the brutal academic battery doesn't completely kill your spirit; the intense clique based system of social hierarchy will put you in a dark state of mind. Cliques fighting cliques, and cliques fighting internally made the place a complete mess. I'm currently in a very competitive law school environment, and can easily say SHS was a much more vicious place. This viciousness is one of the core causes of the amount of drugs that now pass through the halls.

    I didn't have too many friends at SHS and neither did Lee. I could tell he was hating school as much as I did and as a result became detached in class. I tried to talk to him about video games and music but he just shrugged me off. Still, I can relate his pain and his desire to escape.

    I find your theory plausible, however with the lack of a discovered corpse there is still hope.

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  131. Thanks for sharing your experience of Stevenson and your personal brushes with L.C. I was shocked to see how large the school actually is. Like a small city. I think many times overcrowding is psychologically detrimental. There is that one prison down in Florida, I think, which is also like a city and the documentary I saw on it indicated the size yielded disproportionate problems (to what would be expected with numerical population extrapolation). And further back, they build mental hospitals in this country that were like small cities. Although that's seemingly over. As one with lifelong agoraphobic tendencies, I can say I know Stevenson would have driven me batty. Congrats for surviving and hope your law school studies are going great.

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  132. I just saw this episode on Nexflix the other day. Being from Wisconsin I can tell you that one of the biggest tourist attractions in the state is Wisconsin Dells. The Dells are only 13 miles from Baraboo. There are all kinds of hotels and water parks and other attractions. Imagine one huge carnival. That is what the town is like. It would have been really easy for Lee to slip into the Dells and find some work. Perhaps save up some money and then find his way to whatever destination he had in mind. I sure hope this angle was checked out at the time.

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  133. (I know there are like 50 replies similar to mine but...)
    Hi, I watched this episode on Netflix today and immediately after it was over, I checked google to see if he had ever been found.

    I am an avid watcher of crime investigation shows. I frequently watch Unsolved Mysteries, Snapped, 48 Hour Mysteries, and my new favorite, Disappeared. (If there are any more good ones, feel free to recommend!)

    My beliefs on the Lee Cutler case are almost identical yours. The first time I watched the episode (last year), I had no idea it was a re-run or how old the case was. Though I watch many detective shows, this one in particular stood out to me. I don't know why, but I just found it to be not only intriguing, but heartbreaking. Heartbreaking for his friends. Heartbreaking for his mom, who I cried with when she went on TV pleading with him to come home.

    I honestly do hope he is alive; he from what I've learned from the show, he is a sweet, kindhearted young man. One I do not believe would just up and walk off to start a new life under an assumed name. As there were no signs of struggle or foul play, I found suicide to be the only realistic option. The note was what did it for me. "I'm sorry for being a coward," he said. I can see where you're coming from as well. I too have had my fair share of suicidal thoughts. It was for a dumb reason, and while I self-harmed once, I never went so far as to actually attempt to kill myself. It must be really awful, though there is that fraction of my mind that says he's living in the woods somewhere, or he joined the Israeli army, that he hitchhiked with a truck driver.

    Either way, dead or alive, I wish I knew more. It makes my stomach turn to think that people can just disappear from society without a trace. Go into hiding, running from the law (not in Lee's case, just in general), or go by an assumed name. Make an alias and start over, a new life, leaving all ties to their old life and loved ones behind.

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  134. Hi, commenter at 4:25. Thanks for your thoughts and you know I feel the same way about all this. The thing is, I don't think Lee Cutler realized he would never be found or that his loved ones (and strangers) would torture themselves over his fate. He probably figured people would take the note at face value and he clearly intended that to give them peace and absolve them of all responsibility...kind acts and considerateness even in his despair. So--a good and loving person.

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  135. Greetings, William. I thank you for your erudite analysis and careful, mindful dialogue on the thoughts and inquiries contained in each post.
    Like other posters, I am similarly hung up on the $500- or so in cash. Granted, there are numerous ways in which it might be explained, but let's pretend we're Lee-- the "I'm-on-a-suicide-mission" Lee, as opposed to the "I'm-going-to-fake-my-death" Lee: Do we really need to bring all that money, unless we think that we may have second thoughts about suicide, along our journey? Granted, it isn't a lot of money to you and me, but to a teenage kid on a mission, we only need about $100- to complete our objective. I can't tell you exactly why, William, but I am bothered by the money, and I would love for you to ponder this one avenue, and provide your thoughts as to what you imagine was going on in Lee's head regarding the money.
    I am neither agreeing or disagreeing with you-- I am simply bothered by the money, and would be grateful to hear your interpretation.

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  136. Hi. Thanks for your comment, your compliment, and stopping in. It just doesn't bother me, him scooping up all his (own) money. You take what resources you have. You don't know what's going to happen. Your car breaks down before you get where you're going, you suddenly need a tow. Etcetera. He was a smart kid. He knew things could happen that require money. More than just a tow. What if he didn't know where he was going to end it, only that he was. That looks like an awfully random stopping point to me (the site). Many (most?) suicides aren't even 100% sure they're going to follow through. There's a lot of vacillation. That cutting edge between despair and hope can go either way up to the "last/not last" minute. But as suicides go, he seemed pretty determined. In this age of constant talking, confession, words online, texting, he somehow slipped through the cracks. But that was because he was so convinced nothing would change, nothing would get better. Depression really does put blinkers or blinders on you. There was a lot of impulsivity in what we know of the final facts. Scooping up all the money would make sense either with foresight or impulsivity, ironically. Either way it makes sense to me--mad scramble or thinking ahead.

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  141. The ID show says "22 minutes later he pays the entrance fee at Kettle Moraine 50 miles east". That would mean traveling 136mph. Moreover Kettle Moraine is farther than 50 miles by car from Madison.

    The receipt shows he went to the Wal-Mart on the east side of Madison. He had to drive almost an hour west to to get to Madison and then drive and over an hour east to get to Kettle Moraine. It would have been much quicker to go through Milwaukee. Then he drove almost 100 miles back east, passing by Madison again, to get Barboo. This about 300 miles of driving. How can the show say "this is no meandering drive"? It certainly sounds like it.

    The fact that he bought the OTC drugs, wrote what reads like a suicide note, and then left the empty bottle of pills makes it clear he was attempting suicide. Why misdirect people if he were going to start a life somewhere else? I doubt the meds alone would have killed a healthy young man, but they would make him more likely to die in the river. I imagine the effects of the drugs would have been unpleasant.

    The Wal-Mart receipt was 12:57pm. I wonder if he was concerned about nightfall.

    I don't understand how he got it to Kettle Moraine at in-state prices. They usually follow the rules, and Illinois plates are perceived as rich people coming up from Chicagoland to enjoy nature, so I wouldn't expect them to make an exception. May it was just an error.

    Him taking $500 is no big deal. If he's suicidal, he probably didn't do a careful budget, just took out more than enough.

    I would love to learn it's not what it looks like.

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  142. I sat in front of Lee in our senior year Creative Writing class. Sad that he has still not been found. He seemed like a very good guy.

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  143. Just watched the Lee Cutler case on Disappeared over here in New Zealand. What a very sad story.
    Have liked reading everyone's comments as i am interested in this case. I have two sons of my own and i feel soo sad for Lee, his family and large group of friends xx

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  144. Prayers for Lee and his family.

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  145. Cynthia Noriega/ Phx, AzAugust 9, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    I've watched this episode over & over, I just wonder what he might of been thinking. It completely breaks my heart, I've never experienced suicidal thoughts or such a deep depression but I just wish people who are going through that would speak up. There should be more awareness, this could be prevented. I don't know what to think about Lee Cutler anymore, I just pray he is found if he did commit suicide for the sake of his family and friends. If he decided to give himself a new beginning which is what we all want, hopefully one day he will reach out to his poor mother.

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  146. Lee reminds me of me. I had friends and was involved in school activities... yet was depressed and didn't fit in inside my own head. I felt different yet was elected to class secretary and student council. I ended up in a mental hospital at 19 for depression and anxiety. Catcher in the Rye was my first favorite book. I... like Holden Caufield... thought everyone was a phony. Then I travelled and saw the country...at that time I became obsessed with Into The Wild. Lee was mimicking that book when he disappeared. It is glaringly obvious to me. I would check the places in the book... like Slab City... a place one can live for free in the desert. I think people should read the book (not watch the movie) and then you will have a better understanding of why there is a great possibility that he is alive. It isn't hard to fall off the grid... people do it every day. I'm sure Lee's face has changed a bit and he probably lost a lot of weight. And probably by now... he has read Carlos Castenada which promotes the life of a warrior... and leaving family behind due to the fact that family influence weakens your path. Now... I never gave up my family... I just couldn't do it. But plenty of people have... and it is a real possibility that Lee did as well. But like Chris McCandless began to realize near the end of his journey... hopefully Lee will realize that family doesn't necessarily mean u cant give your full self into the life u are meant to lead... but family can enhance that life.

    If you don't believe people can go missing by their own free will for many years... I have two examples off the top of my head:

    1) the woman who left her family after facing divorce... she went to a park where she met 3 homeless travellers and took off. Police assumed she was murdered. She turned up in Florida many years later. She just wanted to escape her life.
    2) my friend's mother joined a religious cult and stopped communicating w her son ten years ago. He just had his second child and has desparately tried to find her to no avail.

    I promise you this... if u want to drop out of society... u can. I have faith that Lee will eventually contact his family. He might just not be ready yet... that's all.

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  147. Hi. Thanks for your comment and your candid sharing. I have to admit I have had a slight increase in doubt about this seeming "suicide." If he faked it, he did one of the best jobs ever (leaving the car behind, the clothes in the river, etc.) I would have probably thought maybe one percent chance he's alive in the past, but now I'd say maybe ten percent. But I still think most evidence points to his being gone. Yet, my intuitive (admittedly irrational) side feels that maybe he is alive. Maybe it's just optimism. But I believe in psi and knowing things in ways that we can't explain. And that part feels that ghosting sense, like maybe he's even read these words, like the ones you spoke here. Anyway, I hope you're right about Lee and I'm happy you made it through that difficult part of your life. The worst depressions I ever had were in those years. I think the brain's neurochemistry can't really create hell in those years. But things later even out for almost everyone. And there are literally thousands of medical options now too (not counting just pharmaceuticals, but all the other stuff, cognitive, etc.). Or just "getting away"...which might be the one Lee chose.

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  148. Its such a strange story and we may never know. If he wanted to fake a death.... 1) leave car 2) leave evidence of suicide ( pills gone and clothes by river = got high and drowned in river) 3) do all this without witness

    Also coricidin makes people hallucinate when taken in high doses. They lock it up now at the drug store. So who knows what he was thinking while tripping alone in the woods. Maybe he lost he forgot where his clothes were and just got more out of his car. I believe they said his car had clothes in it. But, of course, that. could give creedence to your theory.He could have walked/swam/floated way downriver before succumbing to the elements.

    One more thing... in leaving suicide note.... why not just say that he couldn't take it anymore and had to die... or something of that affect. I believe... even though he wanted to disappear... he couldn't lie to his mother. His note was ambiguous and his girlfriend also said it was cryptic.

    One thing I do know... is truth is stranger than fiction

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  149. Thanks for your comment. I don't know. I hope he's alive, and if so, I hope he makes contact soon with his family/friends.

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  150. Hi everyone,

    I have read through tons of posts on Lee's case and still, to this day it intrigues me. I feel terrible for the family, but I feel drawn to this case as I live in Wisconsin and this is 'close to home.' I don't honestly know what to think about his case - but I really don't feel like its a suicide. I live in Menasha, not too far from Baraboo, and recently had the opportunity to think of this case some more. My fiance and I were on our way to Wisconsin Dells, a city outside of Baraboo. We both had seen the Disappeared episode on Lee, and truly, I feel I know it by heart. While on the way to Wisconsin Dells, we wondered where the spot in Baraboo was his car was found - but it felt eerie to be driving through. While at the hotel in Wisconsin Dells, we re-watched Lee's episode. On the way home, my fiance thought of a plausible answer. It sticks in my mind, and when I found this blog again, I felt I had to share. We passed the spot where his car was found on the interstate. This interstate is pretty out there - it isn't as busy as most highways here. My fiance brought up an interesting possibility. Not even a 1/2 mile where his car was found is a series of Amish farms. Does anyone feel it is possible he could have been or still is with the Amish? I feel a little out there wondering this, but my fiance had some good points. As mentioned, not too far from where his car was found, there are road signs of Amish buggy crossings, as well as off-set farms of the Amish. Does anything think, Lee being a simple individual, wanted to start over? Someone here mentioned his Jewish roots and not wanted to stray from his mother and father - but, wouldn't suicide to the Jews be a big no-no? I'm Catholic and that is considered the worst of all. I just don't feel like he took his own life. When my fiance and I discussed it - it made some sense. How does this sound in anyone elses mind --- Lee, a quiet individual, who seems very simple and to himself. Surrounded by the pressures of a teenage life wanting to get a way. Suicide is a dark place, but some have speculated Israel. Who says he couldn't find peace here? I feel like he planned on ditching his car, made a makeshift campsite and shed his current clothes. Who knows if he had other clothes in his backpack. I feel like he threw the pills into the river and never consumed any. I feel as if he showed up on an Amish doorstep, either ill, shaken, or asking for help. The Amish have no access to television, Internet, Facebook, etc. How would they know he was a missing person? This may explain why his yamekah (sp) was found. The Amish aren't Jewish, but even if he began a new life with them (a simple life) who says who couldn't silently pray in his own way? I don't know many police officers who are going to stop Amish buggies going down the road with missing posters, nor any searchers knocking on Amish doors. I feel like if any explanation, this makes sense. Who says he didn't drive until his gas tank was empty, and claim his car broke down and he was sick? Or that he contemplated suicide but instead, backed out and faked his death to begin his new life? The fact that his wallet was found with his SS card and bank cards mystifies me. The Amish don't use plastic cards. Lee had the stein with money in it - was that found in the car or campsite? Amish still use paper money, but money transactions are untraceable. I could be wrong, but I just wonder why nobody thought of this before? My fiance and I talked about this as we traveled the entire interstate. It felt eerie discussing it at that point, but looking at how close the pull off where his car was compared to the Amish farms...its very possible he could have had a plan or came up with one last minute and went with plan B... thoughts???

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    1. Hi. I have to say that is the most interesting and one of the most creative scenarios I have read about this disappearance. But the odd thing is that it's based on some unusual facts you sussed out. The really weird thing is I have ALWAYS heard that, that if you go to the Amish and ask for help, they will accept you into their community. This would presume a conversion, as you mention. The question is, how isolated are they? I'm not sure if they have few or many interactions with the surrounding community and then through government, etc. I doubt they would actively hide him from view, even at his request, unless they believed his life were in danger (not the case). But if he grew out a beard and wore a broad brimmed hat, he might be able to hide in plain sight. I realize the odds of this are probably astronomical, but it might be worth someone stopping into the community there and looking around. We have an Amish community near here (Lancaster) but they mix pretty freely and then even Amish people talk, gossip like everyone else, so you think world would get out. Heck, today, about half the Amish communities are on this or that reality t.v. show! It's hard to stay off the grid anymore when the grid comes wanting to produce your LIFE as a reality t.v. show! I always assumed he's in that river and ninety whatever percent of me (I'm very sad to say) still believes he is. But I could never state with certainty he is. All evidence points that direction. But sometimes all evidence is wrong.

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  151. You know, I am torn between the river and a different outcome. Lots of people drown in our rivers here in Wisconsin, but after some time their bodies always surface for the most part. The Baraboo river is full of downed trees and bends, but still is a big fishing spot. I feel like if his body would have been caught up, it would have been found in the river. I then feel if he had drifted down the river, his body, would have floated and possibly been located. They say they found his pants and belt...but the rest of his clothes? Why would his pants be in one spot, the campsite in another, and then the yamekah 20 yards from all that..if he took his own life they all would be in the river. Now, if they found the articles in the actual river, belt from the pants, whose to say he didn't strip out of those clothes, belt first, pants, etc. and toss them in the river? You never know about the Amish scenario. Their farms are off-stretched from the road pretty well. I feel like IF he did consume pills, of which would made him vomit, he could have gotten to an Amish farm ill and they took him in. The Amish are very private people, while they might help a sick stranger, I doubt they would go looking for their family. Perhaps he used a false name? He didn't have any identification with him if he would have left the makeshift campsite. It really does seem to me he shed all his modern materialistic items. Car, clothes, belongings, identification. Without these modernisms, who's to say he didn't join the simple life of the Amish. He could virtually survive on an Amish farm, or perhaps as a floater between several communities without anyone really knowing his true identity. He then would not be trackable - no use on bank cards, taxes filed, SS # used, etc. I think this is really possible. Knowing the Amish are private and would not seek out modern help (police, etc.) what if nobody suspected he was missing? I wish I would have taken a photo, but the farms of the Amish are within walking distance of his car. It would probably take 10-20 minutes max to reach the first farm from where his car was parked. How eerie to think if he abandoned his car, set up a false trail (campsite, clothes) and seen searchers from afar at a farm. I feel like he showed up looking for help in plain clothes - tan pants, white t-shirt, something simple. Nobody knows what he had in his backpack. I feel as if he was prepared enough to bring all his cash (going back to the fact Amish don't use plastic) he would have packed other clothes. I think it really is possible, but again, it would be very hard to find someone who doesn't want to be found. It's been several years now, what's to say like you said that he doesn't look so different that nobody notices the correlation between him and the missing person poster photo. Thought provoking I know! With what I know about Wisconsin and our wonderful weather (not), if there was snow on the ground (possible for Oct/Nov!) they would have found tracks on the ground. Why did nobody find foot prints leading to the rivers edge? Guess its a mystery if he ran away with the Amish...you can't exactly dust the shoe prints on the paved highway he would have crossed to get to the Amish farms, or the fields...think about it.

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    1. You do a good job of making an argument for this scenario. I'm still not sure about the river always giving up its dead. Not sure if you ever followed the Ray Greicar disappearance, which was much closer to my neck of the woods. There, it's often suspected he went into our Susquehanna River, which is not a big roaring river, but wide and it does drown more than its fair share of people every year. There are strange currents, unexpected deep areas around large shallow areas and many deadly dams. They found Greicar's laptop in the river but they didn't find his body. Many said bodies in the Susquehanna sometimes are just caught up in dams, etc. and what's left isn't enough to "be found." I had read about all the submerged trees in the Baraboo River and you know all it takes is one tree to hold a body for a relatively short time. As to your question about the disorganization of the site. I don't think he was in an ordered state of mind. The way he went to that State park earlier and wandered around and then left and ended up at the roadside there all look very random to me. He sounded random in his last communications. It could all be "setting a tone" but going by his past mental illness, I don't think it's likely that's really the case. If he is alive and he stayed away this long it would either be amnesia (extremely unlikely) or it could mean he harbored much deeper resentment towards loved ones than was apparent (possibly because of that step-father situation). I know his mom loves him completely. And I know he loved her. I don't think he would do this. I always found it hard to believe the McStays could do it to their loved ones but I wanted to believe it anyway, because it meant they were alive, and I honestly believed they were. And then their bodies were found. I'm not trying to be a pessimist, just a realist. I really couldn't believe someone could kill an entire family that way. And they were smart people who were very aware of the dangerous people around them. But fate has surprised us before with even less likely reappearances. This is still a mystery.

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  152. I just feel like there is more to it for the Cutler case. The Baraboo river isn't a humongous river, it stretches far, but it winds down into small stream-like spots (below the knees) and continues off again. If he still had his sweater on (it wasn't found), surely it would get caught up in something. Ever try going through the Wisconsin woods in fall? You are constantly snagged by branches. Not saying it isn't possible he isn't in the river, but after x amount of hours of passing, the body builds up gas internally. He would have to be pretty stuck to not to float (hence, the "dead mans float." Feasibly, I feel like more evidence would have been found if he was really in the river. Granted, I'm sure people drown without being found in the river, but it really is a rarity for Wisconsin rivers. There was the recent case of a Green Bay Packer coaches son in the Oshkosh river. I lived in Oshkosh for four years - that river is not small and its' deep. They recovered his body within a few days in the winter. The kid fell through ice while intoxicated. Granted it's may be easier to find a missing person in the winter I think, but this whole situation just makes me question it more. If he disappeared in October, our weather is already cold, to where even in a sweater, several hours outside, mostly at night, and you are bordering hypothermia. Our windchill alone is what causes a lot of issues for those who venture outdoor. Other than a sweater, they didn't mention a jacket or any means of keeping warm really. If he entered the water willingly (without being under the influence of the pills), he would have gone into shock. I just have a hard time grasping how he wouldn't have been found floating. How the river bends and turns surely a body would be stuck somewhere - especially when I don't think it would sink. I don't think it's likely that wild animals got to him, because in the Baraboo area there isn't much other than wild turkey and deer. Bears and such are much further north for the most part. I still come back to the Amish theory. Even if he changed clothes, I'm sure he was aware of the temperate and that it would be dropping. As for his visit to kettle moraine park, perhaps that was a stop to kind of pause in his plan. I feel like he either went their intentionally, or was nervous and it was done as a diversion. Some posters have speculated someone may have been with him because his receipt showed the fee for an instate resident. Honestly, that don't prove much - surely some park ticket booths assume your in state if your holding the cash in your hand, and most don't ID. I've been to a nearby state park where I just asked how much a daily pass was and they assumed I was a resident (I am but still). If he truly took his own life I feel like there would be more evidence. I bring back to my point...tracks/footsteps? Other clothing? a body? I feel like if they canon the river or drain parts of it nothing will turn up. I guess I just don't know what to think the case truly stumps me! I have heard about the case you mentioned, but I really think for that one someone wanted him dead. Sad but true. That computer was intentionally destroyed. He knew something that someone didn't want him to know. I feel the same about the McStay family. So sad. I try following up and reading about the cases from disappeared but when that came up - it kind of shed the thoughts I initially had. Again - they knew something someone didn't want them to. What kind of family disappears like that, leaving behind their open food/paint, pets, etc. Not many parents I know of little kids will randomly pickup and leave. Plus they obviously didn't bury themselves. I find the entire show interesting and I'm not sure if you follow it, but most of the cases I have strong opinions about. What do you think?

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    2. Maybe you've already done this, but I think it would be interesting if you wrote an essay (or some form of writing--why bother assigning it to a genre and thus possibly delimit it) about what drew you to this case and the engagement you feel you have with Lee Cutler. I think you'd find many people would be interested in reading it. I don't mean "true crime" type writing. I think the more interesting aspects of such a piece would be what you felt in this young man's soul that drew you to him. I had read but forgotten that part about "instate resident." That might actually be very significant. If he had randomly met up with the wrong stranger, that could be where he ended up (alive or dead). This could actually be someone with whom he had been talking online, You'd think his computer would have been scrutinized for contacts, and especially contacts residing in that area, but you never know. Gricar's brother was a suicide and Gricar, like him, suffered from serious depression, so I lean toward the suicide theory with him. The individual you mentioned pulled from the Oshkosh: they still spent much longer looking for him than they did looking for Lee Cutler. I never bought their "He's not there" announcement, because they spent so little time looking.

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  153. You are so right. I feel like they did a brush effort on finding Lee. Kind of have to chuckle about the essay suggestion - I am an avid writer, and have wrote tons of articles for the Scene Newspaper of Wisconsin, Appleton Journal, Digital Journal and so forth. Love writing. But in all seriousness, it's interesting to me to read people's posts - even here and it just makes me wonder. I guess I am the kind of person who doesn't like having a missing puzzle piece. Very analytical and want to know the answer. You bring up a lot of good points, as do many here. It is so possible with this day and age that he could have been talking to someone online. But I wonder with that - what are the chances of him being with someone else in the car (and them wanting to hurt him), yet I doubt hes in Kettle Moraine State Park. Things just don't match up. If he was murdered there, why is his car in Baraboo, belongings in that river, etc. You do make me wonder though and really dismiss the Amish probability. It's sad to say you are also right about the time they looked for him vs. the individual in Oshkosh. Not that it matters, but look who the kid was from Oshkosh - super rich parents who work as coaches for the Green Bay Packers... I do hope someone comes forward with some kind of information. His family deserves to know. I think you may be spot on with the Gricar case, but again, perhaps he knew someone knew he knew something he shouldnt (wow..wordage here) and took his own life...never know :/

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    2. Mysteries for now. I was completely wrong with the McStays, sure they were alive. Maybe I'm completely wrong with L.C., who I think (I say with regret) is probably dead. Maybe I'll become a great predicter of outcomes for people smart enough to adopt the opposite viewpoint from mine. :-)

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