Marks family fears fatal fall

The father of missing hiker Daniel Marks left to return to the Mainland yesterday, with a range of emotions from that of a grieving father to those of someone who said he will never forget the kindness of Kauaians during his ordeal.

Judge Ronald Marks Sr., of Youngstown, Ohio, and some of his family members who searched in vain for Daniel Marks, said “all evidence points to an accidental fall,” probably on or around Thursday, Nov. 10, the last day anyone on Kaua’i reported seeing Daniel Marks, by the Kalalau Lookout in Koke’e State Park.

“Since Thanksgiving Day, my family has been on your island searching for my son Dan Marks. Initially, we had some reports of him being seen on the island as late as (Friday) November 17th,” he said.

“Unfortunately those reports were all in error. We now know, however, that Dan talked to a Colorado couple at 4 p.m. at the lookout on Waimea Canyon late afternoon of Nov. 10. He has not been heard from since, and all evidence points to an accidental fall sometime later that evening,” Ronald Marks Sr. said.

While Ronald Marks Sr. has left Kaua’i resigned to the fact that the next time he hears about his son will probably be when his body is found, others are continuing to search, notably his daughter, Susan Marks.

Susan Marks quickly became an expert on the back-country portions of Kaua’i, reading books from the public libraries and talking with many rescue professionals, hunters, hikers, state parks personnel, and many other people, Ronald Marks Sr. said.

“She got up to speed fast,” he said.

Ronald Marks Sr. said that, had he found his son’s body while he was here, he would have cremated him, and spread his ashes in some mountainous part of the island, because “he would have wanted to be here.”

Ronald Marks Sr. (Ronald Marks Jr. remains on the island with his sister Susan Marks, and continues searching for his brother) came into The Garden Island offices, with two of his brothers, to personally thank those who wrote stories about his son and the search efforts.

“Our family cannot adequately describe our anguish, nor can we find the words to properly thank the police, firefighters and other public employees for their assistance.

“We also are thankful for your press coverage. Without it, we would not have received the leads we did,” he said.

“I save my final thoughts for the great people of Kaua’i! When my son Ron and daughter Susan arrived on Thanksgiving Day, they found everyone completely cooperative and willing to help in the search.

“For this I will be eternally grateful,” he said.

“As I now prepare to leave the island with my two brothers, I do so with profound regret. During this period of overwhelming grief, your readers have sustained us with their compassion, their dignity and, yes, those smiles.

“Should anyone find Dan or any of his property, please contact the local police,” he said.

People with information on the case, which is still classified as a missing-persons investigation, may contact the KPD’s Investigative Services Bureau at 241-1677, or Claire Ueno, a KPD missing-persons investigator, at 241-1696.

The search Web site established by family members is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DanielMarks/, and a group e-mail address has been set up, DanielMarks@yahoogroups.com.

On that Web site, some have offered to send money to help family members fund the search efforts, which have included both helicopter and ground searches with professional trackers from the Mainland.

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