Riddle of the Roads: In Search of Karlie Guse, Part IV

From the Journals of Travis Moore

Why is the search for Karlie Guse the largest search you’ve never heard about?

Travis Moore during search

There is very little about Karlie Guse’s case that can be described as typical. Her disappearance, her introduction to social media, the players involved, the rumors, the discussion groups, the questionable organizations that involved themselves, and most notably, the searches are unique and they require in depth explanations in order to fully understand the case.

I’ve traveled to Bishop, California four times between December 2018 and July 2019 to help search and coordinate searches for Karlie. I, along with other volunteers, began planning ground searches in early November. All of our searches were organized, documented, vast, and the terrain was as rugged as it is beautiful.

I’ll be publishing more about them regularly in the near future along with a clear chronological timeline of events.

It’s paramount to work from factual information if one plans on following a case and constructing theories. There are no current YouTube channels that are reliably covering or connected to this case. Three podcasts have approached us but have been turned away in an effort to keep the misinformation to a minimum. This case has yet to be publicized in the manner in which it deserves and that is my goal – to accurately and efficiently tell Karlie’s story from a first-hand point of view. While these writings are from my point of view, there are scores of anonymous angels that have contributed to searches, gathering and documenting information, and generally just doing good work on Karlie’s behalf behind the scenes. We hope to bring the focus back to where it belongs: facts and Karlie.

She’s Gone

Zach and Karlie Guse

Karlie Guse’s last words to her father were, “Im[sic] waiting for morning”.

The last text to her boyfriend read, “That shit was laced”.

Directions Karlie Guse could have traveled

Upon realizing that his only daughter was not asleep in her bed as expected, Zach looked around the house, then the yard and the neighborhood. He recalled an instance when Karlie had walked the family dog along Chalfant Loop and then called him to pick her up because she had walked farther than anticipated and wanted a ride home. He drove to that area hoping to find her, but still there was no sign of Karlie. Zach returned home to retrieve his binoculars, drove east to where the White Mountain Estates Road pavement ends and higher ground begins. He felt she may be up there in the green where a spring surrounded by thriving foliage can be seen. Using his binoculars and the vantage point of higher ground, he glassed the terrain and surrounding area of the neighborhood, but could not find his daughter. Zach and Melissa searched for another hour and a half before he called his ex-wife, Lindsay, and then the police.

Thus began the first search for Karlie Guse. Early search efforts were heavily focused east of highway 6 and south and east of White Mountain Estates. A CHP helicopter happened to be close by and was diverted to search for karlie within a few hours of her disapearence. Later that evening, another helicopter, said to be military with infrared capabilities, was also dispatched to search for Karlie.

In forming an opinion about Karlie’s disappearance, for many, it began with Melissa’s videos. Due to a constant influx of information from law enforcement and witnesses, the timeline and description of Karlie’s last known clothing changed. Even the initial police BOL, “be on the lookout” that was issued at 10:22am on October 13th, didn’t include a description of clothing because the Guses were unsure at the time.

Two witness statements, one of whom knew Karlie, came during neighborhood canvassing on October 13th-14th and included consistant times (6:30am-6:45am) and descriptions of their sightings of Karlie. The first witness, a neighbor and retired Los Angeles Sheriff Department employee, saw a girl matching Karlie’s description. He described that she was walking, looking around up at the sky, holding a piece of paper, and wearing a white t-shirt and grey or dark pants. The piece of paper is believed to be an emotional wellness form for Karlie’s counselor. The second witness, a neighbor who knows Karlie and was standing in his own driveway at the time of the sighting, saw Karlie walking in the neighborhood wearing a white t-shirt and grey or dark pants. Melissa and Zach, having not seen Karlie walk out the front door, did not have accurate information on day one, but updated the public via live Facebook videos as new information was relayed to them by law enforcement.

The case details in those first hours and days were ever changing as was the information dispersed to the public. Her perceived inconsistencies led many to assume guilt or deception or nervousness; opinions were quickly formed, some in stone. Opinions based on videos that were made using information relayed by law enforcement were often in error by those who assumed that Melissa’s story was changing. In fact, it was the information that was coming in from law enforcement, hourly and daily, that was the catalyst to these “changes”. The story did not change, it only became more accurate.

Who was the last person to see Karlie Guse before she vanished?

Search Map and Areas

Here are the facts:

• MCSO Original Post 10/13 @ 6 pm
“The Mono County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing juvenile from Chalfant. 16-year old Karlie Lain Guse was last seen in the early morning of Saturday, October 13, 2018, on Ponderosa Street near White Mountain Estate Road in Chalfant. Karlie may be disoriented and does not have any personal belongings or cell phone with her. Karlie is a white female, 16 years old, 5’ 07”, 110 pounds, dark blond hair and blue eyes. We do not have a description of her clothing.”

• MCSO Update 10/13 @ 6:44 pm

• MCSO UPDATE 10/14 @ 7 am
“The search for Karlie Guse continues this morning. We are bringing in scent dogs, helicopters and ground resources. We are NOT accepting volunteers at this time. We understand and appreciate the desire to help, but please allow the professionals to do their work without interference and distraction.”

• MCSO UPDATE 10/14 @ 6 pm
“Karlie is still missing. Despite a thorough search around her home and many inquiries with friends in Bishop, we are no closer to finding her.”

• MCSO UPDATE 10/15 @ 5 pm
“Many have asked if there is more information on the search for Karlie Guse. Other than a confirming sighting in the area of Highway 6 and White Mountain Estates on the morning of her disappearance, we have no new information to report.”

• Inyo Search and Rescue UPDATE 10/16

After Karlie Guse was reported missing, agencies began pouring in to lend their help and expertise. Joining forces with MCSO and Mono County Search and Rescue were: Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Inyo County Search and Rescue, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, California Highway Patrol, California Fish and Wildlife, CalTrans, California National Guard, El Dorado Sheriff’s Office, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, Bishop Police Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the FBI. 

For one week and for miles in all directions, they searched on foot, by helicopter, with scent dogs, and utilized off-road/ATV vehicles in order to thoroughly search the surrounding neighborhood and high-desert terrain. Searches occurred both during the day and, with heat-sensing equipment, at night. 

Despite the massive agency coordination and collective effort, Karlie was not found. What was found, was Karlie’s scent. Her scent led them from her home, past the locations of the first two witnesses, down White Mountain Estates Rd, to an area near the corner of WME Rd and Highway 6, which is where the third witness described seeing her. On October 15th, the third witness, better known as “the wooder” in order to maintain his privacy, called in with a tip. He’d seen a girl, matching Karlie’s description and wearing a white t-shirt and grey or dark pants, near Highway 6 and White Mountain Estates Rd at around 7:00am – 7:30am on the morning of Karlie’s disappearance. At that point, law enforcement had three witnesses and a scent that lined up and were consistent according to time and description. Karlie’s movements from approximately 630am – 730am on October 13th are known.

• MCSO UPDATE 10/20 @ 9am
Ground searches are called off.
“One week has passed since 16-year old Karlie Lain Gusé was last seen near her home in Chalfant, California…We are following all leads and tips and considering all possibilities… We interviewed all family and friends…We are scouring her social media and electronic devices. Her family is fully cooperative, and we are in regular contact with them…Karlie has been added to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She does not meet the criteria for an AMBER alert as there is no evidence or indication of an abduction.”

Typical searches for missing teens last an average of 72 hours. Karlie was clearly a high priority and was given a full week of heavy searching. After law enforcement searches came to an end, volunteer searchers picked up where they left off. The community of Bishop was willing, able, generous, and eager to search for Karlie. I’ll cover those searches more in depth in the near future. 

Karlie has not been forgotten and she deserves to be found.

-Travis Moore

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1 thought on “Riddle of the Roads: In Search of Karlie Guse, Part IV

  1. We were just in Bishop, Big Pine, the Whites etc. last week. Banners and posters are still everywhere. This disappearance remains on everyone’s radar. I’m sure I missed it, but did the “pot” that she smoked get tested? The baggie that it was held in, or the pipe which was used? Her reaction sounds like it was laced with Spice or PCP, not garden variety THC. So many mines outside of Yellow Jacket Road, heading towards Mammoth. All the Hot Springs in the Long Caldera. Listening to Nancy Grace’s “experts” saying that video from a local 7/11 would show something was an instant clue that these folks had never been along Highway 395, much less Highway 6, and their theories were worthless. Thank You for your reporting.

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