Have you seen Jonathan Spollen? Missing in Rishikesh since February 3rd, 2012

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#1561 May 11th, 2012, 07:35
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#1561
Difficult to say what J could have meant. A trek could be a walk in rugged terrain/mini climb- or just a walk/time in the wilderness, depending. Somehow I did not get the sense then that the ten day trek was a hardcore one. As for later, I doubt he could have gone for a higher altitude trek given reported discomfort due to medical condition and no evidence that he had arranged equipment etc.

In any event and pertinent now, did he have much more personal gear, including warm clothing? If so, where is it?

If all his stuff is found, searchers may get clues from what is missing. Eg, no warm clothes found may well mean he was not planning to go elsewhere in India, given summer in much of the plains.
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#1562 May 11th, 2012, 07:42
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#1562
The parents may want to have a few words with this fellow - here. He tweeted that he had had dinner with Jonathan - just before his trip departure.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

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#1563 May 11th, 2012, 08:08
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#1563
I have sent a short email to him (Anuj from Peak's link) asking him if he can remember anything pertinent, or comment on Jonathan's state of mind. I have linked this thread, so he can, if he wants, either post here or reply to my email. (If the latter, I will either a) post it here or b) send it via PM to David if I feel it has confidential or sensitive information, and only post here that Anuj has replied and PM has been sent)
#1564 May 11th, 2012, 09:26
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#1564
Captain, you are indeed a bright and shining star in this world!!!!!
#1565 May 11th, 2012, 17:10
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#1565
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post
In any event and pertinent now, did he have much more personal gear, including warm clothing? If so, where is it?

If all his stuff is found, searchers may get clues from what is missing. Eg, no warm clothes found may well mean he was not planning to go elsewhere in India, given summer in much of the plains.

Which leads us back to, have J's family or Rishikesh police checked left luggage at Haridwar railway station???
I've also noticed most hotels in Haridwar offer a left luggage service.KK
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread: http://www.indiamike.com/india/uttar...012-a-t159252/

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
#1566 May 11th, 2012, 17:11
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#1566
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post The parents may want to have a few words with this fellow - here. He tweeted that he had had dinner with Jonathan - just before his trip departure.
Good Cyber-detective work Peak.KK
#1567 May 11th, 2012, 19:37
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#1567
Quote:
Originally Posted by kullukid View Post Which leads us back to, have J's family or Rishikesh police checked left luggage at Haridwar railway station???
I've also noticed most hotels in Haridwar offer a left luggage service.KK
This is a very important part in the puzzle, hope to hear positive news from David and Lynda.
#1568 May 11th, 2012, 21:12
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#1568
Wrt my last post, reply from Anuj, italics mine.

Quote:
I have nothing much to add, except that Jon seemed cheerful when we met up for dinner a couple of times. He sounded a bit bored with his work in Hong Kong and was excited about travelling to India to explore work opportunities there. I offered help with contacts and he generally sounded upbeat. He mentioned nothing about a spiritual journey. On his last day/ last couple of days he moved into a 5-star hotel. If I remember correctly I think he booked himself a suite and he laughed and joked when he said he wanted to splurge on a lavish room with a large tub.

That's as much as I remember. I really hope he's safe and well whereever he is.
#1569 May 11th, 2012, 22:13
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#1569
Sounds like Jon was traveling to the Subcontinent as a 'Free Agent'. Perhaps a little job search, a little networking, a little trekking, a little R&R, a little physical/mental cleansing, a little socializing, a little private time/solitude. There was nothing really written in stone, nothing unusual. He was at a bit of a crossroads in his life and most likely open to any decent suggestion/idea.
#1570 May 12th, 2012, 00:22
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#1570
Well done Peak for finding Anuj's tweet and Capt for following up on it.

Way back when this thread started I had a thought which seemed too alarmist to post here - what if J had gone chasing a story in, say, Kashmir or a Naxalite region but told his parents that he'd gone trekking? Since then we've found out a lot more such as his ill-health and a certain interest in spiritual matters and that initial thought went out of my head.

But there have been plenty of wacky theories in this thread so I have decided to post mine too. The reason being that we now find out that J is friends with an Indian journalist who has covered such stories as the insurgency in Bastar. I haven't read the whole piece but this is from the first page on Anuj's blog

Quote:
In October 2009, on assignment for Abu Dhabi's National newspaper, I hiked more than 40 miles through the damp, malarial jungles of Bastar in central India, the deadliest theater of the country's decades-long Maoist insurgency, winding through mineral-rich hills and a spate of rebel-controlled villages to Comrade Vijay's hideout in a patch of forest clearing atop a hill. I had traveled all that way to ask the rebel commander whether there was any chance of a truce between his forces and the Indian government -- a possibility he and his men vehemently denied.
And Anuj says in his email to Capt that J was travelling to India to explore work opportunities and that he, Anuj, offered help with contacts.

Is it too wacky to think he could have gone off chasing a story and left his stuff by the waterfall as a decoy? It probably is.

But I wonder would it be worth asking Anuj what kind of contacts J was interested in, and then contacting them?
#1571 May 12th, 2012, 03:17
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#1571
"But there have been plenty of wacky theories in this thread so I have decided to post mine too. The reason being that we now find out that J is friends with an Indian journalist who has covered such stories as the insurgency in Bastar. I haven't read the whole piece but this is from the first page on Anuj's blog"

I've worked in Bastar and up in Kashmir as a foreign correspondent (I also know Anju). I don't think that Jonathan's last few days indicate that he was working on a story in any way. Rishikesh isn't exceptionally close to Naxal active areas or Kashmir, and no journalist in their right mind would go into those regions without their passport or cell phone. There would also be cell phone records if he was actually reporting anything.

I guess you might be arguing that he was kidnapped by Maoists. I find this also very unlikely since--besides one Italian who was picked up a couple months ago after living in Orissa for a decade--the naxalites don't have a history of ransoming foreigners. They also don't kill them like Al Qaeda does.

While I would love to think that he was merely going into depth on an assignment, the evidence available does not point in that direction.
#1572 May 12th, 2012, 04:00
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#1572
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgcarney View Post I've worked in Bastar and up in Kashmir as a foreign correspondent (I also know Anju). I don't think that Jonathan's last few days indicate that he was working on a story in any way. Rishikesh isn't exceptionally close to Naxal active areas or Kashmir, and no journalist in their right mind would go into those regions without their passport or cell phone. There would also be cell phone records if he was actually reporting anything.
Good points sgcarney.

Quote:
I guess you might be arguing that he was kidnapped by Maoists. I find this also very unlikely since--besides one Italian who was picked up a couple months ago after living in Orissa for a decade--the naxalites don't have a history of ransoming foreigners. They also don't kill them like Al Qaeda does.
I hadn't been thinking of kidnapping at all. I agree it would be highly unlikely. But thankyou for mentioning it, in case anyone else had been thinking that way.
#1573 May 12th, 2012, 05:10
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#1573
And I'm guessing checking in to a 5 star hotel puts to bed any theories that he was denouncing material possessions. You don't get much more material than that.

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#1574 May 12th, 2012, 06:53
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#1574
Overall, the sense I get is that J was reexamining his life before his disappearance. I don't think a five star hotel is inconsistent with the reexamination. Of course, he may have been in a totally different state of mind in Haridwar/Rishikesh. (Whenever I have been forced to reexamine my life, I have found that money loses all value. So whether I stay in a hundred rupee place or a ten thousand one is all the same to me- if this makes any sense)

I thought of asking Anuj about those 'contacts' and discarded the idea mainly because it appeared to me that this is something the family should do. I feel- quite apart from the fact that Anuj may have been uncomfortable with the idea- that I would be transgressing the line between a public forum and a personal life if I went that far.
#1575 May 12th, 2012, 08:48
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#1575
He could have had some frequent flyer/hotel points that he wanted to use up .... and/or to bridge the time gap between his apartment exit & flight departure. Opportune & not too uncommon in this points/rewards era.

At any rate I wouldn't read too much into being pampered for a night or two - especially before heading off for some trekking/backpacking in Nepal/India.
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