- Odd News
By Ashley Collman and Associated Press
PUBLISHED: 12:00 EST, 24 August 2013 | UPDATED: 07:35 EST, 25 August 2013
A popular Pennsylvania math teacher won't be retuning for the new school year after he went missing last month during a backpacking trip in California.
Nazareth Area High School teacher Matthew Greene, 39, disappeared while backpacking through the Eastern Sierra Mountains on July 16.
Greene arrived in the area on June 27 to climb with friends, but when his Suburau broke down they continued on while he stayed behind at a campground near Mammoth Lakes to wait for repairs.
Lost: Pennsylvania math teacher Matthew Greene went missing while hiking with friends through the Eastern Sierra mountains in California last month
On his own: Greene was a math teacher at Nazareth Area High School. When his car broke down near Mammoth Lakes, he had the rest of the group continue on without him so he could get it repaired
The last time he had contact with anyone was on July 16 when he called his parents and the car repair shop and exchanged text messages with friends.
His friends realized he was missing when he failed to meet up with them as planned. They then discovered that his car had been repaired but he never picked it up and he hadn't returned to the Shady Rest Campground for over a week.
Friends and family say that Greene was 'no novice' when it came to outdoor skills and made the trip west every summer to climb in California, Nevada and Utah.
Off the grid: The lat time anyone heard from Greene was on July 16 when he called his parents, the car repair shop and exchanged text messages with a friend. Above, an older picture of Greene and his car
Where did he go? Friends realized he was missing when he failed to rendezvous according to plan and his fixed car was never picked up from the repair shop. He also hadn't been seen at the Shady Rest Campground for over a week
No novice: Friends and family find Greene's disappearance suspicious since he was a skilled outdoorsman and spent most summers hiking out west
'Nothing like this has ever happened before,' Greene's mother Patricia Greene told The Union Democrat. 'He was in Papua New Guinea for three years (while serving in the Peace Corps) and survived with no modern conveniences, so he's got survival skills. He's hiked in Ireland, ran in the Boston Marathon - he just does it all.'
The search for Greene is being led by the Mammoth Lake Police Department. At Greene's camp site they found some of his gear missing and a guide book with pages torn out of it.
Friends say he tended to tear out the pages for hikes he wanted to go on, and when he completed them he would but them back in his book.
The pages he tore out refer to the Minerat area, a five by 20 mile area which includes Mt Ritter and Mt Banner but Greene didn't sign his name on either summit's log.
Paper trail: Torn out pages of a guide book were found at Greene's abandoned camp site leading friends to believe he may have gone out for a hike in the Minerat area
What to look for: Friends created a Facebook page to help locate Greene. They posted a picture of the tent he would be using
Traces: Friends posted a picture of glasses found by a hiker yesterday that seem quite similar to Greene's own pair
Friends of Greene have aided in the search, flying out to California to canvas bus drivers, store owners, librarians and others in the Mammoth Lakes area. They have posted fliers at trail heads and checked other summit registers, tracking through the back country for clues.
They've taken to the sky, trying to spot Greene from a helicopter and one of Greene's friends shot high-resolution video from a private plane.
Volunteers from the California search-and-rescue have even chipped into the search effort.
Now, Greene's sister Tiffany Minto is considering hiring a private investigator 'just to exhaust every possible avenue'.
Minto at first suspected that her brother might have been in an accident but now she thinks he could have been the victim of foul play.
Police say Greene may have tried hitch-hiking to a remote area to hike or climb.
As the days wear on and Greene continues to remain missing in the wilderness, his family are optimistic but preparing themselves for the worst.
'We kind of have realistic expectations,' Minto said. 'We may never get answers as to the how and the what. But we will settle for anything we can just get to bring him home and get some closure on it.