BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s now been one year since a Wright State grad went missing while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington state. His step-mom is now opening up about the agonizing search.
34-year-old Kris Fowler was last seen at a gas station near the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s the last confirmed sighting of him. He’d been hiking more than 6 months, every two weeks calling to check in with his step-mom Sally Fowler. But those calls soon stopped about a year ago. Fowler is holding out hope Kris will soon be found.
“It’s been,” Sally Fowler said. “A long year.”
For Sally Fowler, it’s been a year of loss.
“My mom passed away,” Fowler said. “And then a week later Kris’s dad passed away. He never got his closure.”
Heartache, dead-end leads and no signs of her step-son Kris Fowler.
“We just have to be strong,” Fowler said. “And don’t think we don’t have our moments. But we keep hope. We just have to keep hoping.”
Hoping for any new tips on Kris’s whereabouts, who was last seen October 12th, 2016 at a gas station near the Pacific Crest Trail. He had been hiking for over 2200, embarking on an adventure Sally says he was well-suited for.
“He was a strong hiker and everyone we have spoken to that met him along the way,” Fowler said. “Remembers him well and just said what a great guy he was.”
When Sally stopped getting Kris’s phone calls, she got concerned, filed a missing persons report and created a Facebook group Bring Kris Fowler home. It now has more than 6,000 members and has led to numerous tips, including, one from just a few weeks ago, where a hiker who saw this flyer for Kris stumbled upon what he believed to be Kris’s belongings.
“He said he found a tarp, a blue tarp matching the description of Kris’s tarp,” Fowler said. “And a backpack with the belongings strung out as if an animal had opened the backpack.”
Sally says the hiker got scared of what he might uncover and left with intentions of returning with authorities, however the tip was never followed up on. She says the same hiker is now working with the Sheriff’s Office to pinpoint his coordinates and plans to help return with authorities to the same location. In meantime Fowler, she’s holding out hope she’ll soon find closure.
“My head knows he’s on that mountain somewhere and we’re just ready to move on to the next phase of grief.”
Another tip came in for a missing man matching Kris’ description, who was located in Brazil. Sally a photo of the man and says she couldn’t tell if it was Kris or not. It later turned out not to be a Kris, but another man who had been missing for 5 years. Because of Sally Fowler’s help, he was eventually reunited with his family.
Kris Fowler’s family is now offering a $10,000 reward for information about Kris’s whereabouts.