February 24, 1978. Chico, California. After embarking on a road trip to attend a basketball game, five mentally disabled young men – 24-year old Jackie Huett, 29-year old Bill Sterling, 30-year old Jack Madruga, 32-year old Ted Weiher, and 25-year old Gary Mathias – begin the 50-mile drive back to their homes in Yuba County, but never arrive. Four days later, their abandoned car is found in some snow on an isolated mountain road, but the five men, a.k.a. “The Yuba County Five”, have gone missing. After the spring thaw hits, the remains of four of the victims are discovered at different locations throughout the area, but Gary Mathias is never found. While the cause of death is determined to be exposure, there are many unanswered questions. Why did they drive over 35 miles off the highway to such an isolated location? What prompted them to abandon their vehicle? Did an eyewitness see other people with the five men on the road that night? This week’s episode about the Yuba County Five is one of the most bizarre mysteries we’ve ever covered, and is considered by some to be an American version of the infamous Dyatlov Pass incident. Special thanks to the Unresolved Mysteries subrebbit for bringing this story out into the open.
We would like to thank Sock Club for sponsoring the Trail Went Cold. To earn 15 % off your next order of socks, visit sockclub.com/cold and use the discount code “cold”.
The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.
All music is composed by Vince Nitro.