The mystifying disappearance of 14-year-old Stacy Ann Arras

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — Stacy Ann Arras, 14, her father George Arras, and six others were on a week-long mule trip through the backcountry at Yosemite National Park. The group was riding along the High Sierra Loop Trail at Tuolumne Meadows. According to the National Park Service, Tuolumne Meadows is the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada at 8,600 feet.

Yosemite has five High Sierra Camps arranged in the 49-mile loop, and each camp is a day’s hike from at least two other camps, NatureOutside.com reported. 

Stacy and her group reached the last camp on the loop, Sunrise High Sierra Camp, on Friday, July 17, 1981. 

The camp sits 9400 ft. above sea level against a stunning alpine meadow and faces Mt. Florence and Mt. Clark.

With nine tent cabins, the camp can accommodate up to 34 guests with no electricity or running water.

After the group arrived at Sunrise, the blonde, blue-eyed teen with Farrah Fawcett hair changed clothes, slipped on a pair of flip-flops, popped a piece of gum in her mouth, and left the cabin with her small camera.

Stacy was ready to explore and photograph the majestic scenery surrounding her. She decided to hike a short trail leading to a nearby lake and asked her father to join, but he declined.

The last person to interact with Stacy was Gerald Stuart, 77, one of Stacy’s tour group members. He had stopped to rest on the trail and accompanied her for 20-30 minutes before returning to camp. Other campers and a camp guide saw the pair walking together and observed Stuart sit down on a boulder while Stacy continued on her hike.

When Stacy did not return to camp, Stuart asked a group of people coming from the direction she had hiked if they had seen her, but they had not.

Sunrise staff members searched for her the entire day, and the National Park Service joined the following morning.

A 1982 Fresno Bee article reported that at the “height of the search, nearly 100 people, three aircraft, and two dog teams searched for Stacy.” Park officials estimated the cost of the search to be $55,000. 

All they found was the lens of Stacy’s camera — no clothes, flip-flops, camera, blood, nothing. Stacy was a smoker, yet the search crew never found her cigarettes either.

One ranger reportedly said, “She just seemed to have disappeared from the face of the Earth.”

The park has several nooks and crannies that someone could easily crawl into, seeking shelter from the weather and nighttime temperatures without being seen. Searchers briefly thought perhaps Stacy had panicked and hid in one of these.

Backpackers must get a permit to use in the backcountry. Park officials accessed the wilderness permits system and attempted to contact anyone who might have been in the area when Stacy disappeared. But they came up empty-handed. Officials also displayed posters of the girl throughout the park to keep hikers aware that Stacy was missing.

The park service called off the search after 12 days when they failed to find the girl.

When harsh winter weather came in mid-October, it forced people out of the high country. After spring emerged, park officials thought some evidence would turn up after all the snow had finally melted, but no such luck.

Over the next few months, there were reports that Stacy had been seen in Colorado, Reno, and Oregon.

Theories abound in Stacy’s case:

  • She ran away.
  • Someone abducted her.
  • She became lost and died.
  • Something paranormal or extraterrestrial was responsible.

The usual ones that surface when people disappear from national parks or other wooded areas.

In 2017, the park service reported 33 people missing from Yosemite since 1909. Stacy was the sole person missing between ’78 and ’85 and the only one who disappeared from Sunrise.

Author and crypto expert Brent Swancer wrote an article on Stacy in March for the website Mysterious Universe. Swancer states that missing researcher and author David Paulides, known for writing the Missing 411 book series, has tried numerous times to file Freedom of Information Act requests on the Arras case. Still, the National Park Service denies him each time. One ranger Paulides spoke with told him, “You’ll never see it,” Swancer reported.

Why? What’s in the report the NPS does not want Paulides to find? What happened to Stacy Arras?

Stacy was the youngest of four children born to George and Carol Arras, and the family resided in Saratoga in 1981. George passed away in 2003; Carol died before him, but the exact date of her death is unknown. One of her sisters was pregnant at the time of her disappearance, and today she has several nephews and nieces.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

Here is another strange case where a person vanished without a trace in a park with others were nearby.

I feel something is going on with the NPS because why are they refusing to release a report on Stacy’s disappearance. What did that ranger mean when he told Paulides, “You’ll never see it”? That’s not suspicious, not suspicious at all. 

We can believe any of the theories, but this one is a mystery, for sure. I’m not even sure what I think. Hell, maybe 👽🛸  abducted Stacy. 😂😂😂

These types of disappearances, like Stacy and Randy Parscale, are beyond bizarre.  How do they vanish without any evidence or witnesses? There were plenty of campers at Sunrise when Stacy vanished.

If an animal had attacked her, there would have been some evidence left behind, like blood, for example. There wasn’t. If someone abducted her, why didn’t anyone hear screams or see anything unusual? Why in the hell would she run away from Yosemite in FLIP-FLOPS and without extra clothing or money? If she did manage to run away, she had outside help.  

Did a park ranger harm her, and the NPS is covering it up? Who knows. Nothing would surprise me. I’ve been doing this too long!

I read a Ranker article on Stacy, and it mentions a Reddit user who used to work at Yosemite. This person said there is no lake in sight of Sunrise camp and “it would have been a very long hike to reach a lake.” I’m confused because if you look on Google Maps satellite view, there appears to be one there.

In this same article, another Reddit user commented on why people might not have heard her scream.

Sound in the wilderness is weird. I’ve spent a ton of time hiding from searchers as a training subject, and even I’m still sometimes surprised at how variable sound can be. I’ve had searchers shouting for me from maybe 50 feet away who I couldn’t hear because of a slight ridge and wind blowing away from me.

On the other hand, I’ve been freaked out by hearing a dog panting and human voices just above me when I knew the team wasn’t close to me yet, because I was hiding on the edge of a canyon and there was a weird magnifying/echo effect. Usually, the trend is for sound to be dampened, though. Even a bit of vegetation, a small hill, and a slight breeze you barely notice are enough to muffle sound to a surprising degree.

I have no idea what happened to Stacy Arras, but I believe no one will ever find her. 

What do you think happened to Stacy Arras?

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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