Family members haven’t given up hope of finding missing Oregonian Daniel Marks even though aerial and ground searches of mountainous terrain between the Kalalau Lookout and Kalalau Valley conducted earlier this week failed to locate him.
But siblings Susan Marks and Ron Marks Jr. have decided a search will continue between the Kalalau Lookout and Kalalau Valley after professional Mainland trackers rappelled down from a ridge, found a remote and obscured trail, searched it and found “multiple” sandal prints believed to have been made by the missing 24-year-old man.
Susan Marks said her brother, an avid hiker, used sandals on hiking treks in other parts of the world. Marks hasn’t been seen since Nov. 10, and his brother and sister have mounted searches since Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24.
Susan and Ron Marks Jr. earlier this week received what they described as “promising news” when they got a call from a couple from Fort Collins, Colo., saying they saw Daniel Marks at the top of the Kalalau Lookout on Nov. 10.
“We needed confirmation that he was, in fact, up there,” Susan Marks told The Garden Island. “And now we have that.”
The Colorado couple had seen a news story of the search, and also contacted Kaua’i Police Department officers and then Ron Marks Jr., also a resident of that city.
On Sunday, members of a crew aboard an Inter-Island Helicopters chopper with at least one KPD officer aboard began an aerial search of the rugged terrain between the lookout and the valley floor, which goes between sea level to about 3,000 feet above sea level.
Marks family members wanted a professional tracker to be aboard the chopper for the search, but KPD officials declined the request due to liability concerns, Susan Marks said.
The tracker was one of three professional Mainland trackers who are associated with Professional Tracking Services in Washington state, she said.
Bad weather aborted the aerial search, however. The next day, the Marks family chartered members of a Jack Harter Helicopters crew, which conducted a 90-minute search that produced no signs of the missing man.
Members of the helicopter crew searched a ridge that ran below the Pihea Trail in Koke’e State Park, and found an unmarked trail that is not maintained that they thought Marks might have gone on.
Two professional trackers rappelled down the ridge, began their search on the trail, and found multiple sandal prints they believe might have been made by Marks, Susan Marks said.
“They found prints in areas that were protected and unprotected by trees,” she said. “They determined that the multiple prints were (between) three to four weeks old, about the same time Daniel was up there.”
Based on a description of what the trackers found, “I would say they are fairly certain (the prints belong to her brother)” and that “they are 90 percent sure,” Susan Marks said.
The impression made by the prints indicated that “it was somebody who was walking at a good pace, a determined walk,” Susan Marks said.
She said she believes the prints are those of her missing brother, because he had told people who had contacted her that he was determined to get to Kalalau Valley using an unconventional route.
“He always liked a challenge, and maybe somebody told him it (traveling on a path from the Kalalau Lookout to the Kalalau Valley) was not possible, and he thought it was possible,” Susan Marks said.
The 90-minute search earlier this week ended around 12:30 p.m., and produced no signs of the whereabouts of her brother, she said.
Members of another search team, consisting of local men and led by Charlie Cobb-Adams, went into Kalalau Valley from the north side of the island on Dec. 1, and members of that team also were not able to locate her brother, Susan Marks said.
Searchers conducted an unsuccessful ground search along the ridge from Pihea Trail on Tuesday, she said.
She said the search will continue in the targeted area, because she senses her brother is somewhere in there.
“He went in there from up there (the Kalalau Lookout). He is between the top and bottom (of the valley floor),” Susan Marks said.
Her missing brother has tattoos on his upper arms and on his temples, which may be partially obscured by long hair. Marks is of Caucasian descent.
Folks with information about Daniel Marks can call Susan Marks at 1-218-591-6554, or Ron Marks Jr. at 1-970-581-3666.
Susan Marks’ e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A search Web site has been established by family members: http://groups.yahoo/com/group/DanielMarks, and a group e-mail address set up, DanielMarks@yahoogroups.com. 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