Feb 23

The disappearance of Gloria McDonald

“People around these parts think Bigfoot got her.” That from the stately blond at the Star newspaper in Mena, Arkansas.

On January 26, 2001, news reporter Gloria McDonald, 68, went for a short hike from the Queen Wilhelmina lodge along the Oklahoma-Arkansas border with her husband, her husband’s son, and the son’s fiancée. About 200 yards down the trail toward “Lover’s Leap,” Mrs. McDonald turned back alone because of the wintery weather. She vanished without a trace.

Aircraft, tracking dogs and search parties scoured the area looking for her; police investigated every tip. Still, nearly 13 years later, the FBI as well as state and local law enforcement concede they have no clue as to what happened to the woman.

Editor/publisher/friend Dan Case and I spent a summer tracking the elusive creature known as Bigfoot throughout the United States, backpacking into wildernesses in Oklahoma, Idaho, and California where he had supposedly been spotted. We interviewed dozens of people who claim to have had one-on-one experiences with the big shaggy guy—including Smokey Crabtree of The Legend of Boggy Creek fame and Dr. Jeff Meldrum, professor of anthropology at Idaho State University.

“I’m not out to proselytize that Bigfoot exists,” Meldrum states. “I place legend under scrutiny and my conclusion is: Absolutely, Bigfoot exists.”

The Gloria McDonald case is one of the most baffling I’ve come across.

On three separate occasions within two weeks of Mrs. McDonald’s disappearance, five different people witnessed a huge, fearful creature prowling the vicinity.

An elderly farm couple living at the base of Queen Wilhelmina Mountain spotted a tall, dark, and hairy apparition running on two legs across their farm. Don Thomas and a friend saw it the same week while they were checking out potential hunting territory. Finally, an over-the-road truck driver traveling Arkansas 6 between Acorn and Mena spotted a hairy form of shocking proportions dart across the road in front of him.

“It wasn’t a bear. It wasn’t a man either. I don’t know what it was—but I’ve never seen anything like it.”

I was a police homicide detective for ten years. This is no homicide case, at least not an ordinary one. Neither is it merely a missing person. While law enforcement officers aren’t about to name “Bigfoot” as a suspect, they have uncovered not a footprint, a thread of clothing, a spot of blood, no disturbed humus or scuffled leaves. . . Nothing.

“Bigfoot walked off with her,” insists Don Thomas, bluntly, without hesitation.

A Bigfoot? Such monsters don’t exist, do they?”


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20 Responses to “The disappearance of Gloria McDonald”

  1. Crystal B

    I hiked that same trail twice a week when I lived in Mena . Always like the Lovers Leap trail . It is quiet beautiful and serine and perfect for a Bigfoot to hide . Never felt threatened or afraid .

  2. Michael L

    Why they are just big teddy bears and we should let them alone. Not hardly, blow them away before they eat any more people. They get hungry in the winter time and grandma has soft bones to chew on..

    • Charles R

      Exactly. This was the base of operation for the Iran Contra weapons being shipped to Central America, then planes loaded up with cocaine on return trip. Biggest spook in this area was the spooks themselves. There are folks that had very mysterious deaths that got to know to much around Mena and Arkansas in general. They were known as friends of Bill. I read Terry Reed’s book on his involvement in the 80’s. An eye opener for sure.

      • Michael L

        Yes, those Clinton’s are responsible for the murders of two kids that witnessed an air drop to Willy’s people in Arkansas. The Judge ruled it an accident after their bodies were put on the train tracks. It was just a coincidence that Willy appointed the Judge..”Lock Her Up, Lock Her Up, Lock Her Up….”

  3. Gumshoguy

    Excellent topic and blog subject Wes …

    No doubt police officers and law enforcement, firefighters and rescue personnel have probably seen, read, spoken to or with somebody or witnessed things they simply cannot come forward with and when I say law enforcement I mean to say it cuts across city, county, state and federal lines.

    With more than 1,300 such police involved Bigfoot reports I am confident when I say law enforcement has been thrust willingly or unwillingly into the Sasquatch / Bigfoot realm for two reasons: First, the nature of the 24/7 work, dictates the odds in favor of seeing these things are greater than civilians and Secondly, law enforcement are first responders handling every call 24 hours a day from a wide cross section of the population and some of these interactions are worthy of writing about.

    There are 7 billion people on the earth and yet, there are never two fingerprints exactly the same. For law enforcement their work each day is uniquely like fingerprints because there will never be two days alike …

    Because of nature’s own anomalies they are in the best position to have contact sometime in their career and I’m speaking chiefly of those working rural and newly developed suburbs where Sasquatch are known to exist on the fringes.

    I’ve experienced homicides; beatings, shootings, stabbings, suicidal, accidental and natural deaths,and an major airline crash, but nothing quite measures up to a powerful dose of reality you feel, see and experience when you come before the dark foreboding power of these things when you do see it. It’s a shock to the senses that textbooks will never prepare you for.

  4. Amy D

    This is just terrifying… her poor family left wondering. I couldnt help but think of the Bobcat Goldthwait film that came out a year or two ago. Sub-plot involved a missing woman who was later discovered to have been a kidnap victim of Sasquatch.

  5. JAMES B

    This is why a body needs to be presented mainstream. Put theory and conjecture on the shelf and call a spade a spade. No more,”we can’t kill one, they’re too much like us” crap!
    THEY ARE NOT!!! Missing 411 should be required reading in law enforcement.

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