Tracking specialists from Hawai’i and the Mainland took to the air and ground yesterday as the search for missing Oregonian Daniel Marks intensified.
He hasn’t been seen since Nov. 10 on Kaua’i, and a brother and sister have been looking for him since Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24.
Yesterday, searchers concentrated efforts in the area between Kalalau Beach and the Kalalau Lookout at Koke’e State Park, where Marks apparently told local residents he was heading when they picked him up as he was hitchhiking sometime during the second week of November.
Susan Marks and Ron Marks Jr. apparently were to charter an Inter-Island Helicopters of Jack Harter Helicopters chopper to scour the rugged terrain of Kalalau Valley between the two points, which go from sea level to around 3,000 feet above sea level.
Daniel Marks reportedly told at least one person he met on Kaua’i that he was considering attempting a hike into Kalalau Valley from the Kalalau Lookout.
A marked Kalalau Valley Trail ends about 1.25 miles from the lookout, and a solo hike from Kalalau Lookout to the Kalalau Valley Trail terminus might not be impossible, but it would be dangerous, with no marked trail if any trail exists, and the distance between those two points having a precipitous drop in elevation from around 3,000 feet above sea level to around 1,000 feet.
Daniel Marks flew to Kaua’i on Nov. 9, checked into the International Hostel in Kapa’a, and has not been seen since Nov. 10.
In an e-mail to The Garden Island, Susan Marks said two teams are scouring the remote areas of Waimea and Koke’e, the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve and the Na Pali Coast State Park, trying to locate Daniel Marks.
One team consisting of local men went into Kalalau Valley on Thursday, Dec. 1, Susan Marks said. The team, lead by Charlie Cobb-Adams, were to spend four days combing the valley and to talk people who might have seen Marks, as a way to “ascertain if he is now or ever was in the valley,” Susan Marks said.
The men have conduced similar searches for other families, she said, and were recommended by Kaua’i Police Department officers and other folks from Kaua’i, she said.
The other team consists of three professional trackers from the Mainland who have been trained by and volunteered for Professional Tracking Services in Washington state, she said.
“These three men have an incredibly high success rate of tracking missing individuals in the wilderness all over the world,” she said.
The trio arrived on Kaua’i Friday, Dec. 2, and were scheduled to begin their search Saturday at the top of the canyon, she said.
She said the professional trackers hope to find a path Daniel Marks might have taken, and plan to follow the path as far as they can until safety becomes an issue.
Susan Marks said Sunday that a tracking team has come to such an impasse, thus compelling the use of a helicopter to continue the search.
Daniel Marks told two men he was going to begin his hike from the Kalalau Lookout and walk in a northwesterly direction through dense jungle to reach Kalalau Beach, Susan Marks said.
A former O’ahu resident who now lives on Kaua’i said he picked up Daniel Marks in Kapa’a after Marks checked out of the hostel on Nov. 10.
Jon Bunch, the other man who relayed information about Marks’ hiking plan to the authorities, was a passenger in the vehicle.
“They brought him from the hostel in Kapa’a to the bottom of the road that leads up to the Waimea Canyon,” Susan Marks said.
“They dropped him off across from the (West Kauai) Technology & Visitors Center. They left him sitting there with his thumb out to hitchhike to the top,” Susan Marks said.
The two men attempted to dissuade Daniel Marks from embarking on the hike from the lookout to Kalalau Valley, “telling him that it was impossible,” Susan Marks said.
But she said her brother was undaunted by the challenge, and was “determined to try it.”
Daniel Marks would have to walk through miles of remote forest land to get to the valley.
Susan Marks said hiking has been a passion for her brother. He has hiked and camped all over the world, including India, New Zealand, Australia, and much of the western United States.
He was planning to be on Kaua’i from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16, spend a few days in San Francisco with friends, and then fly out to Minnesota to visit family.
He was then to attend Susan Marks’ wedding in Colorado and then go to Honduras with his sister and her new husband for the holidays.
In January, he was to begin graduate school in sustainable ecology at Portland State University, Marks said.
Her brother has made electronic music, puts out CDs, and plays at music festivals, she said.
Earlier last week, Susan Marks and her brother Ron Marks Jr. got what they thought was encouraging news about their missing brother when a doctor at Kauai Medical Clinic in Kukui Grove Professional Village treated somebody he thought might be Daniel Marks.
The patient, who was being treated for a rash on his body, had talked enthusiastically about hiking parts of Kaua’i.
Susan Marks said in her e-mail that patient has been confirmed not to be Daniel Marks.
On Nov. 9, a woman picked Daniel Marks up in Lihu’e in a vehicle after he got off a plane at Lihu’e Airport, and brought him to the International Hostel in Kapa’a, Susan Marks said.
She said he told the woman that he was planning to meet someone from Maui in the Hanakapia’i Beach area along the Na Pali Coast, and camp with that person.
Susan Marks said the woman called police after hearing Daniel Marks had been reported missing. Susan Marks said police investigators relayed the woman’s story to her, and that she had spoken with the woman.
While Marks may have intended to share a state camping permit, an official with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks office on Kaua’i said Marks took out no such permit himself.
Susan Marks said her missing brother is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs between 130 and 140 pounds, has brown eyes and brown hair, and a beard.
He has tattoos on his upper arms and on his temples, which may be partially obscured by long hair. Marks is of Caucasian descent.
Susan Marks said that if anyone thinks they might have talked with Daniel Marks, given him a ride to the top of the canyon or elsewhere, might have seen him go in at the top of the canyon, or has camped or hiked with him, they should call her a call at 1-218-591-6554, or Ron Marks Jr. at 1-970-581-3666.
Susan Marks’ e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
People may also contact the KPD’s Investigative Services Bureau at 241-1677, or Claire Ueno, a KPD missing-persons investigator, at 241-1696.
- Lester Chang, staff writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or email@example.com