LAS VEGAS – Investigators say they have sifted through hundreds of tips and leads supplied by the public about an unusual disappearance in northern Nevada. After the I-Team first reported last summer that the disappearance of an elderly Reno man could be linked to a serial killer operating along Interstate 80, the family of Patrick Carnes has done everything it could to keep the story in the mind of the public.
It turns out there have been several unsolved murders in that area, along with vanishings that are eerily similar to the Carnes case. After the I-Team stories aired, an FBI serial killer task force offered to help Nevada lawmen, but they did not keep that pledge. So, where does it stand? Investigators and the Carnes family still want the public’s help.
Interstate 80 is one of the nation’s most vital arteries, it carries untold numbers of travelers each day. It’s most desolate link is the asphalt ribbon that slices through northern Nevada. At night, inky darkness swallows everything. Some call the road “The Big Lonely.”
For 10 excruciating months, the Carnes brothers of Reno have been criss-crossing Nevada towns and pit stops intersected by 1-80, talking to residents, putting up flyers, trying to figure out what happened to their father, Patrick Carnes and his dog companion, Lucky.
A series of I-Team reports last summer and subsequent media coverage, including the Coast to Coast AM radio show, generated hundreds of tips from the public. The family recently leased a billboard near the town of Golconda, hoping to keep Pat Carnes’ story alive.
“We are still wondering, what the heck happened? We are maintaining as best we can,” said Jim Carnes, the son of the missing man.
The family’s hopes were buoyed again by recent coverage from America’s Most Wanted which generated a flood of tips into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, but according to Undersheriff Curtiss Kull, there is nothing new that looks like a case breaker.
“I got one that he was on the corner of an intersection in Iowa, to spring break south of Elko,” said Kull.
And the one unsettling theory Kull can’t dismiss is that this might be the work of a serial killer, or a team of killers.
“My gut tells me there’s two people involved, just for logistics,” said Kull.
The facts are Pat Carnes was traveling with his dog, driving from Toledo, Ohio to his home in Reno. But the trip ended 20 miles east of Wimmemucca. In mid-April of last year, a local resident spotted Carnes’ car sitting in a field at an I-80 off ramp. It looked like it had been dumped there. There was no sign of violence in the car and no usable prints.
Extensive searches by air and land were conducted by law enforcement. Curtis Kull says another extensive survey was just completed a few weeks ago but no sign was found of Pat Carnes or Lucky. Most chilling is that five years earlier, in the same spot, off the same highway exit, a car driven by a Reno woman, Judith Casita was found, abandoned. Casita has never been found either. But in the Carnes case, police have a dash cam video recorded by an NHP trooper who was about to cite a trucker when Carnes drove past. The trooper pursued Carnes and pulled him over six miles east of Wells, Nevada. Carnes remarked that he had been traveling in tandem with a trucker.
“I’m only following him because he is going to Elko,” Carnes told the trooper.
Kull has followed hundreds of leads about the possible identity of the truck or the logo on the trailer. None have panned out, so far. The family suspects that Pat Carnes might have been befriended along his route by a trucker, maybe even a husband and wife, and that the duo is involved in his disappearance.
The Carnes family has enlisted the help of a psychic but she came up with no usable leads. They have a hunch that the people responsible live near I-80. In addition to the one psychic who offered to help, the I-Team made a request to a group of remote viewers, people who use methods developed for U.S. Intelligence agencies. In a controlled test, in which the viewers were given no details about Pat Carnes, they determined that a man had been abducted in the high desert by two people, both foreigners. In a practical sense, that isn’t much to go on but the I-Team passed along the information to police.
Patrick Carnes last seen April 13, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, 18 Jan 2012, 12:45 AM EST
Published : Wednesday, 18 Jan 2012, 12:45 AM EST
By Allison Brown, FOX Toledo News weekend anchor
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WUPW) – With the turning of a new year, the hope of answers will surface in the case of a missing Nevada man with ties to Toledo.
Patrick Carnes, an 87-year-old World War II veteran, has has been missing since April 12, 2011. He was last seen driving outside of Reno, Nev., just one day after visiting his family in Toledo.
He was on a cross-county trip with his dog that would take him to his home in Reno. Carnes’ last whereabouts was at a Flying J Travel Plaza in Wells, Nev., some 350 miles east of Reno.
For several months his brother, retired Toledo police officer Jim Carnes, has been using his instinct to try and help in the search for his brother.
But at this point, Patrick is still nowhere be found.
“Nothing concrete has been found,” Jim said. “They continue to check leads, the (Humboldt County) sheriff’s deputy who has been in charge, he’s been very active – keeps us informed of what’s going on.”
It’s frustrating because the last evidence of Patrick Carnes was found on April 13, 2011. His car was spotted near exit 205 on I-80 near the town of Winnemucca.
Patrick was driving home to Reno with his dog Lucky.
“Since my brother’s been missing we’ve had a billboard put up near exit 205,” Jim said. “They’re missing, and again that area out there is so vast, and my nephews are out there almost every weekend. They get phone calls, they get leads from people and we check them out as well as the sheriff’s department.”
As the time passes, Jim says he’s more realistic than anything. He does suspect foul play.
Secret Witness is offering a reward for information. You can also contact Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (775) 623-6429 and ask for Undersheriff Curtiss Kull.
Patrick and his dog, Lucky, were heading home to Reno when they both mysteriously vanished on April 13, 2011.
In early April 2011, Patrick Carnes traveled from his home in Reno, Nev., to visit family in Ohio. There, he looked at retirement homes where he could spend his golden years.
Patrick, a World War II vet who served in the Solomon Islands, was a proud, active man, with no signs of slowing down.
On April 12, he packed up his dark green Subaru wagon and drove back to Reno with his best friend, a slightly overweight, 100-pound Akita/mixed-breed dog named “Lucky.”
The following night, just after Patrick and Lucky entered the state of Nevada, a trooper pulled Patrick over for not changing lanes appropriately near the town of Wells. After speaking briefly with the officer, Patrick got off with a warning and continued his late-night trek across the state via westbound I-80.
Though they were only about a six hour drive from Reno, Patrick and Lucky never made it there.
The next morning, Patrick’s car was found abandoned in sage brush, a good distance from the highway in rural Winnemucca.
Cops Fear For Missing Duo Despite No Obvious Signs Of Foul Play
Cops in northern Nevada found Patrick’s abandoned car off of I-80. He and Lucky were last seen alive near Wells, Nev., at 9 p.m., April 13.
When investigators came upon Patrick’s vehicle, they found no signs of foul play. The car was a good distance from the road, and its front end was facing the interstate. There was no evidence leading investigators to believe Patrick and Lucky were abducted, but they can’t rule anything out.
After doing extensive air and ground searches of the vast, wide open, Nevada desert, cops in Humboldt County have come up completely empty-handed. There hasn’t been a single sighting of the missing duo.
When Patrick was pulled over in Wells, he told the trooper he was going to get a room in nearby Elko that night, but there’s no record of him ever doing so.
What happened overnight remains a mystery to investigators, and they need your help to piece the clues together.
Cops Plea For Eagle-Eyed Truckers To Come Forward
Patrick Carnes’ dog, Lucky, is a slightly overweight, 100-pound Akita/mixed-breed. Patrick’s family tells cops the two were virtually inseparable.
In the middle of the night, every night, I-80 is dominated by big rigs. Detectives believe a trucker might have seen what happened to Patrick and Lucky, but no one has come forward as of yet.
“Some trucker saw an old man with a dog,” Humboldt County Undersheriff Curtiss Kull said.
Consequently, investigators would like to make a plea to anyone — specifically long-haul truck drivers — who may have driven on I-80 between Wells and Winnemucca, and saw Patrick and Lucky between the late evening hours of April 13 through the early morning hours of April 14.
What’s more bizarre about the disappearance of Patrick and Lucky is what happened years prior.
On February 14, 2006, 62-year-old Judith Casida left a note at her home in Reno, Nevada. It was to her husband and it said she was tired of being married. She jumped in her white pick up truck and left.
About a month later, investigators found the white pick up truck off I-80, on Exit 205, the same exit where cops located Patrick Carnes’ car.
Undersheriff Kull believes there are no coincidences in law enforcement, so now the question becomes: are these to cases linked by a single predator, opportunistically preying on the weak?
If you know anything about the bizarre disappearance of Patrick Carnes, his best friend, Lucky, or Judith Casida, call our hotline right away at 1-800-CRIME-TV.
His car was found abandoned at a little used freeway exit east of Winnemucca. Strangely enough Exit 205 was also linked to another missing persons case five years earlier.
Sixty two year old Judith Casida, reportedly depressed about her personal life, left a note at her Cold Springs home February 14, 2006, saying she was leaving.
Later that morning she was seen at a McDonalds in Lovelock. Three weeks passed before her vehicle, a white Mazda pickup was discovered on a dirt road a short distance from Exit 205.
The pickup was still operable. It wasn’t stuck or out of gas. A single set of footprints led away from it toward I-80.
There is no apparent links between the cases, but the coincidence of both disappearances beginning at an obscure rural freeway exit is difficult to ignore and raises the possibility that someone may be prowling the I-80 corridor looking for victims.
Humboldt County investigators working on a mysterious missing persons case are now getting input from a psychic and are surprised at the results.
His car was found abandoned April 14 at a little used freeway exit east of Winnemucca. A search of the surrounding countryside and, in fact, the length of the I-80 corridor from Wells to Winnemucca have failed to turn up any sign of Carnes or his constant companion, his dog Lucky.
We contacted psychic Elaina Proffitt, a former Reno resident and a veteran of a number of high profile criminal cases, and asked if she would get involved.
She said yes and twice in recent weeks met with authorities, even journeying to Humboldt County and Exit 205 where the car was found.
The result: they were surprised, but encouraged that she confirmed many of their hypotheses and she left them with some additional avenues to consider.
She also reached a stunning conclusion which casts a disturbing light on the disappearance of Patrick Carnes and, perhaps, others.
DETROIT — Family and friends of a Michigan woman said she has been missing in Colorado since Friday.
Amy Ahonen, 38, a native of Taylor, most recently called Denver, Colo. home, family members said. She was last seen by her roommate on Friday.
Police said they found Ahonen’s abandoned Jeep Liberty Saturday night along a highway turnout near a fast moving creek. Saturday was Ahonen’s 38th birthday, family members said.
“The more information we get out there, the more chance we’ll have of finding her,” said Ahonen’s best friend Angie Afetian, who lives in Michigan.
Ahonen’s sister, Annette Ahonen, said she does not believe her sister took her own life.
“It isn’t uncommon for her to go hiking along the road, and she is familiar with it,” said Annette Ahonen. “There haven’t been any signs of foul play. They are treating it as a missing person.”
Amy Ahonen’s family and friends have set up a Facebook page for her called “Find Amy Ahonen.” More than 2,000 people have joined to show support in the search for Amy.
Family and friends also are planning a fundraiser for the search. For more information, go to the Facebook page:
Find Amy Ahonen
Listen to Stories About Other Missing Persons Cases