Finding Our Son

On June 6th, 2014 our Son, Vernon Cody Matthews (a Berkeley California Anthropology Senior and an avid outdoorsman/paddler) went for an afternoon hike from his parent’s cabin in the El Dorado Wilderness. He never returned. After arguably the most extensive search in memory (involving 488 searchers), the mystery remains unsolved. See: or Google: Vernon Cody Matthews for more information.

It is possible that for whatever reason, he is alive and out of our area. We have taken him on over 50 lakes across the western half of the US and in Canada, and he has done a few more on his own. He owns a Cortez touring kayak and two Wenonah canoes (a Jenson 18’ and an Aurora). He left both behind, along with his canoe and kayak gear.

We are hoping that, if he did leave the area, he will eventually want to go paddling…AND somebody will recognize him. If you do, or if you have any leads, please contact the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department at (530) 621-6600. We can’t possibly express what this means to us. Thank you so much. Vern and Cynthia Matthews

Finding Our Son
The Sacramento Bee did a great followup article…

Finding Our Son
Update: There was a reported sighting along the Pacific Crest Trail. The reporting party was a backpacker that believes he met him on the trail. Because word had not got out enough, it wasn’t until he got back from his trip and saw a flyer that he realized who he might have met. The already delayed report went to the detective, but the detective wasn’t able to start following up until recently. We are hoping the reporting party is still available and so we are also waiting for an update from the detective. I guess I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping the word out there and keeping his search alive (even if just passing out flyers or idle chat around a table or on fb or around a campfire or kayaking or on a mountain bike run or off roading gathering or on a hike or something). For those who have been actively doing just that, a big thank you. We may be looking at a payoff for our efforts. Anybody can help just by downloading and printing up some flyers or forward this message. If we can validate he is in fact off in the woods somewhere and is doing OK, at least we will have the peace of mind knowing that our Son is still alive and well (vs any other prospect at this point). If you are a parent, I’m sure you can understand where we are coming from. Any other questions you can visit or simply Google Vernon Cody Matthews. Thank you for your time, thoughts, and prayers.

Vern Matthews

Cody’s father

My mistake on last post…
My mistake everybody. I said that Seavy Pass was 20 miles north of Sornora Pass. I meant to say 20 miles south of Sonora Pass. It is in Yosemite National Park.

My apologies



– Last Updated: Aug-03-14 1:14 AM EST –

is a dangerous place. The number and types of available dangers is greater than other states.

I'm a paranormal who has the ability to find people in the future. This is easier if the people are alive and will be after finding them.

Fosset is an example. His trajectory left a pile of debris to follow into his conclusion. The number of paranormals who followed Fosset to the area of the 'accident' ...2-300 ?

But where was he ? He was Fosset. You may say Fosset is over there but this doesn't answer the question.

'Lost' people turn up every day. But not Fosset.

Finding Our Son
So what do you foresee for our Son?

Finding Our Son
Spent several hours re-posting fliers. Again, rumors abound and people keep removing them. There is no indication that he has met foul play or passed away, and missing persons are being found alive and well across the country every day. We have every reason to continue the search efforts. Aside from the emotional impact, the expense is in the hundreds for printing and gas every month. Please IF you hear a rumor, check with the El Dorado County Sheriff, and ask that the people NOT remove posters unless told do do so by the Sheriff Their number is(530) 621-6600.

Thank you very much,

Vern (Cody’s Father)

paper and pencil

you have the procedure on this ? from where if you did this before.

What does your son like to do ?

percentage time in given activity



and what were the dangers in thse activity areas ?

We here he enjoyed rock climbing. Is this true ?

Finding Our Son
I spent about a dozen years in Civil Air Patrol Search and Rescue. I was Ground Team Leader Trainee when I stepped down. I’m an amateur radio operator and was involved in both ARIES and RACES (international and national emergency communications). I was also one of their orienteering instructors. I spent another 20 years in the fire service in a mountain community in So. Calif. I was a Captain when I injured out. We regularly did wilderness rescues and assisted with wilderness searches. I have had training from the Red Cross in Search and Rescue/Mass casualty care. Additionally, we often took part in extended searches for other lost/missing persons. I used to be a wilderness survivalist. I’ve lived 2 weeks off of insects in Europe. I learned to climb in the Greek Alps. I almost never sleep in a tent…it’s on the ground with stars above. All of our kids grew up around the Mountain Fire Service.

Cody began attending Fire Explorer meetings when he was 8 years old. I’ve passed many of my skills down to our children, Cody included. This last year at the university, he got in with the Frat crowd. So partying was high on his campus social list. That said, he has extensive experience in the back country in a variety of capacities. But his favorites are canoeing, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, swimming (he was a life guard for a few years), and photography. He wanted to spend his summer living off the land in the forest around our cabin, but disappeared before we could get him set up for it. His disappearance was so unexpected he left an unfinished meal, his backpack and supplies, and his extra clothes. He is studying Anthropology (with a minor in Geology) and has been honing his ancient (Clovis) man/North American Native Indian skills. Many of these skills deal with making tools and providing food. He has become fairly good at flint napping and identifying/extracting raw materials from his surroundings. He has spent a few years on dig sites. With school and work, his percentages of time in each area changes dramatically. He’s spent most of his summer vacations in the back country in one form or another. This summer was going to be 100% wilderness.

His activities have taken him from Mexico to Canada and from the US Western Coast across to Alberta plus a year in Germany. Dangers are a relative concept. He grew up in, or spent significant amounts of time in a variety of dangerous environments. Cliffs, heat, dehydration, freezing, bears, mountain lions, many poisonous snakes/plants/insects, water sheds, waterfalls, hypothermia, with potential for sprains, strains, broken bones, etc. He respects the environment and what it has to offer, both good and bad. He’s learned how to recognize most dangers and how to mitigate them safely.

As for the actual search, it involved 488 trained personnel (included specialized dogs, divers, mountain guides/rescue ops, white water ops, 4 wheelers, helicopters with FLIR, horseback, high angle operations, professional Man Trackers, etc) most with GPS tracking devices. My understanding is that 15 counties were involved. It was 8 days of an all out push. Then it went to investigators and the National Missing Persons Database with the FBI.

Hope this helps you help us find our son…

Thank you!

as the opening of a Steve King novel.

What’s the deal?
So, what is the deal with this missing fellow?

23 years old. Leaves. Doesn’t come back, but people identify seeing him in the area days or weeks after he was reported missing.

Does he have some mental illness or is he otherwise capable of making his own choices?

Otherwise, isn’t it simply a case of an adult that just… left?

hmmm sort of coincides with this book
Hundred of people have gone mysteriously missing in our national parks and forest over the years. Wonder if there is a similarity. A new book out on this topic. Some strange stories indeeds. Sounds very similar to what you posted.

Here is book on disappearances.

the written record
reads the son was more than capable of walking off

but we do not know him.

Why would he walk away ?

He was capable of leaving dinner to help someone, to greet a friend, startled by strangers…

The record we read doesn’t probe into those areas. The record stands as background for the event not happening or for a departure from ‘normal’ reality.

Finding Our Missing Son
He went for an afternoon hike a day or so before he was to meet with me and get him set up for his wilderness summer experience. He told his mother on the phone he would call when he got back (around dusk). Neighbors saw him walking on his hike away from the cabin. Two hikers reported possibly seeing him a few days later on the Pacific Crest Trail. Massive 15 county, 488 person search in the meantime. Lots of very costly rumors floating around. People taking down fliers and telling people to stop looking. It costs us hundreds each month to keep things posted and up to date. More than 10 weeks later and no more likely sightings since the two hikers. He’s gone, and nobody has any answers that build a viable picture of what actually happened. Check out or Google vernon cody matthews. There are several fb pages out there dedicated to finding him. My page is vern matthews.

Thanks for listening and keeping the story straight,

Vern Matthews

Cody’s Father

Finding our missing Son
Not sure we are ready to read a book on “never solved”, but the concept has our ears perked. So I guess it’s going on the “when were ready” to do list.

Thank you,


Findg Our Son
Fair enough. I’ll try to give a quick profile on Cody.

He was born at home in a small canyon town in the Southern California Mountains. He attended “middle class” K-8 schools, and an “upper middle class” high school. From his earliest displays of interests, he was all about dinosaurs and ancient things.

Cody probably got more one-on-one time with us than the rest of the kids (he’s our youngest). He, and sometimes his girlfriend, went camping and canoeing with us pretty much anytime we went. In the field I would teach him wood lure. We spent hours in the shop woodworking or building things. He made his girlfriend a paddle from scratch. He, like me, fell in love with wilderness photography. For years, a vacation meant taking a lot of camera equipment across a lake, down a trail, into the forest, or up a tree to get those treasured magazine shots. And he grew up around the local fire department, where I eventually rose to be the volunteer Captain, and he eventually became the Fire Explorer Captain and responded to many 9-1-1 calls with the Firefighters.

His high school years were strongly budgeted. They were also very rewarding. He was a member of one of the most successful high school marching bands in the country. It pushed our finances to the limit, but he got to compete against other noteworthy high school bands across the country.

About the time he started junior college, both my wife and I lost our jobs due to budget cuts. We were forced to move out of the mountains and “down the hill”. Cody was very successful in Junior College. Eventually he was in charge of some of the activities at an “Anthropological Dig Site” connected to one of his professors. He was doing what he loved the most. He has always fancied himself as a young Indiana Jones, and that was the direction his life was taking.

He fell short of the entry requirements into the UC system, so he successfully challenged the university to transfer into the California State University of Berkeley in Northern California. And then secured his own grants and student loans. He quickly made friends, like always, but the disparity between his/our incomes and the others he lived with and attended classes with, was great. His classmates and roommates would call home and get money for whatever…they had money in their families and openly enjoyed it. This made Cody the “poor” kid in the room.

He hung out with three basic groups of friends. The rich classmates he lived with, who had befriended him. The homeless, who he felt were the unfair outcasts of society. And the rap crowd, to whom he found some level of fame. He got into the party scene and started performing rap. His grades plummeted during this time, though he still attended family events and stayed in touch.

He is what we call our Absent Minded Professor. His cognitive skills have always been beyond his years, but he gets side tracked easily. Unimportant things like car registration and bills have often been neglected. But his social environment has always been rich with friends and activities. From his classmates, to his friends (old and new), to his girlfriend, to his coworkers, to his teachers, to us…he is described as a fun, good natured, and full of life young man.

As to why, nobody has been able to come up with a viable reason to leave when he did. We (and the police) have covered literally hundreds of theories, but nothing seems to work. I personally believe that it might be something so obvious, we just can’t see it.

Vern Matthews,

Cody’s Father


Thank you guys for staying interested.

Finding Our Son

August 21, 2014

It’s now been 10 ½ weeks since Vernon Cody went missing. Today was an important day because this was the day we were hoping Cody would show up at school to register for his classes. That did not happen. He still has till the 28th of August to get his classes, but today’s window is closed.

As most of you have read, rumors continue to be our worst enemies. As rumors are spread, people react. Often their reactions result in fliers being taken down and people stop looking. Hundreds of dollars and days of work lost in a cloud of misinformation and irresponsibility. Unfortunately we were not able to get any assistance replacing fliers this last weekend, but we still pushed on.

On some of the blog sites where I post, I’ve been asked for better background information on both Cody and myself. Normally I wouldn’t acquiesce, but if getting to know our Son helps find him, I’ll do it…or in this case, I did it. However FaceBook is so porous that I won’t provide that information without screening the request and having a viable email to send it to.

Summer is coming to a close and we’ve followed up nearly every lead ever turned up. We’ve (including the detectives) run through countless theories, and talked to more people than we could have ever imagined. Every day we push the word and shake the trees for leads and answers. But as our efforts lose steam on the ground we are depending more and more on the word (NOT RUMORS) reaching a broader base of spectators.

Since the parameter of our quest is changing, so must our tactics. Prayers are always welcome. Cody as a topic of conversation at lunch is a great ice breaker. Posting fliers all over the place gets face recognition. Right now, more than ever before, we need as many people as we can get looking at the hitch hiker as they pass by, taking a second look at the guy in the store, talk to the guy in the fast food line, note license plate numbers and descriptions, watching who crosses the street in front of you, notice the only other person on the trail, glance at the guy filling the car beside you at the gas station, etc. Then call the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department (530) 621-6600 if he looks like a match. It is their job to figure things out; we only need to report our findings.

Cody is our Son, and he is way too important to give up on.

Thank you all for your continued efforts and understanding,

Vern Matthews

Cody’s father

the cabin was not disrupted in any way ? Did he use drugs ? What did he use for money ? Where had he traveled ?

How many friends did he have and of what varieties ?

Finding Our Son
Our cabin had been violently ransacked a few days prior to Cody’s arrival. It looked like a bomb went off in every room. Doors were chopped down or kicked open. It was hard to walk across the floor. Between tools, jewelry, gear, etc… we lost an estimated $15,000 to $18,000 of our lives, and the memories that went with them. We are still recovering, because insurance won’t cover vacation cabins for burglary.

We know he used marijuana and liked Beer. He had friends everywhere he went. Prior postings on his Chronology and Profile (see above) should answer your other questions.

Thank you for your interest. The more interest, the more eyes in the field.

Vern Matthews

Cody’s Father