National UFO Reporting Center Case BriefREGARDING THE DEATH OF MR. TODD SEES, OF NORTHUMBERLAND COUNMon May 31, 2010 04:38184.108.40.206National UFO Reporting Center Case Brief
August 24, 2002
NUFORC Home Page
PRELIMINARY STATEMENT REGARDING THE DEATH OF MR. TODD SEES, OF NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY , PENNSYLVANIA , ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 4TH, 2002 .
Because this report addresses the tragic and untimely death on August 4th, 2002 , of a young man, Mr. Todd Sees, of Northumberland County , Pennsylvania , we preface by extending our sincere condolences to the family members who survive him. It has never been our intention to cause family members of the late Mr. Sees' any distress over this matter, although we understand that the information originating from our website, because of its nature, may have been upsetting to them.
Because of the pain that information may have caused them, we apologize.
It was never our intention to cause pain to the family, anymore that it is the intention of a newspaper to cause pain in the course of reporting on such a tragic, and unusual, event.
From the beginning of our investigation into Mr. Sees' death, our only objective has been to reveal the truth, and to attempt to provide answers to the many still unanswered questions that it has given rise to.
On Wednesday, August 28, 2002 , the National UFO Reporting Center ("NUFORC") received a brief, one-paragraph, report, criticizing our Center for not having covered an alleged "alien abduction," which, the source asserted, had occurred in Lewisburg , Pennsylvania .
Even though the report did not appear to be either serious, or carefully prepared, we responded, nevertheless, requesting more information from the person who had submitted it.
The individual, who provided no telephone number, responded via e-mail, describing the death of Mr. Todd Sees, and further asserting that circumstances surrounding the death had been very unusual.
The source asserted that the death itself was mysterious and unexplained; that certain facts surrounding the follow-up investigation were unusual; that federal authorities had been called into the investigation; that the family members of the decedent were not allowed to witness the victim's remains; and several other facts that seemed noteworthy to us.
The individual went on to assert that the death had been related to UFO, and/or alien, activity.
Despite repeated attempts by NUFORC to obtain more information about the individual, we have not succeeded in talking directly with the person.
NUFORC decided to follow up on the unsubstantiated report, and, on August 30th, we telephoned The Daily Item newspaper in Northumberland County , PA , in attempt to establish whether the initial report had any basis in fact.
The staff member we spoke with there confirmed that such an incident had, in fact, occurred, and that the newspaper had published several articles about the death, and about the subsequent investigation.
(Please see two of the articles at the end of this report.)) The staff member apprised NUFORC that the investigation had been conducted by the Point Township police department, and she directed us to those offices for more detailed information about the continuing investigation.
On that same date, we telephoned the Point Township police department and spoke with an officer, who identified himself as "Sgt. Cottner" (sp?), and who stated that he had been the investigating officer on the case.
He added that the incident had been categorized by the police as an "unexplained death," but he made it clear that he could not, and would not, discuss the case. He stated that the police report would be available in "late September," and he suggested that we should wait for the official report to be released.
That same day, NUFORC telephoned the office of Mr. James Kelley, County Coroner for Northumberland County , hoping to obtain more information about the cause of the victim's death. In a conversation several days later, Mr. Kelley apprised us that the death had occurred, that he had performed the autopsy on the victim, that no cause of death had been established, and that photographs had been taken of the victim's remains during autopsy. He added that autopsy photographs are "never released." Mr. Kelley, like Sgt. Cottner, made it clear that he could not discuss the case in any detail.
Based on the information we had obtained by September 5th from these official sources, NUFORC decided to release the report originally submitted to our Center, even though we had not yet succeeded in obtaining the newspaper articles, or any other detailed information, about the death and subsequent investigation.
At that the time of the posting on September 8th, we had not anticipated the effect that the release would have in the public forum.
The case was commented on during a radio appearance on September 10th by Peter Davenport, NUFORC Director, on the Jeff Rense Radio Program, and the report that NUFORC had released was posted to the
The next day, a relative of Mr. Sees telephoned NUFORC, apprising our offices that the family had been quite upset by some of the information contained in the original report, and that they had had no inkling that there might be such grossly unusual circumstances, as asserted in those reports, surrounding his death.
At that time, we extended our apology to the family for any distress our actions might have caused them.
In addition, we explained to the family member that we had spoken with the local authorities and with the newspaper, and that our information was based on our findings of fact.
The family member, after she had heard our explanation of the actions we had taken in attempt to gain access to more, factual information from the authorities, stated that she understood our position in the matter.
During the last two weeks of September, NUFORC has made numerous attempts to obtain more information, but unsuccessfully, to date.
During a brief conversation with Chief Gary Steffen, Chief of Police for the Point Township police department, he apprised NUFORC that an investigation into the "unexplained death" was underway, and that he could not comment further.
However, he did aver that he was familiar with the information on the NUFORC website, and that he was "following developments" there.
Also, he confirmed that no family member had been summoned to identify Mr. Sees' remains, but added that it was not necessary to do so, since he, the Chief, had been personally acquainted with the victim, and he was able to identify the remains at the site where the body was found by volunteer searchers.
Chief Steffen has failed to return our last four messages to his office, requesting a return telephone call.
In a brief follow-up conversation with Sgt. Cottner, the latter stated that he could not reveal any more facts about the case, and that the Chief probably would not return our calls.
He refused to respond to our question as to whether federal law enforcement officers had been involved in the follow-up investigation of the case.
Finally, we have encouraged a number of members of the press, both local and national, to investigate the incident, hoping that they might be more successful in obtaining from authorities information that NUFORC was not able to obtain.
In addition, as part of our investigation, we continue in our attempt to locate and interview members of the approximately 200-member search party that was involved in the 2-day search for Mr. Sees' body.
Some of the questions we are attempting to resolve appear in the next section of this preliminary report.
III. UNRESOLVED ISSUES
We list below a few of the questions surrounding the death of Mr. Sees that we have attempted to answer, but which we feel remain unresolved, as of the date of this summary:
1. If the death of Mr. Sees is being investigated as an "unexplained death," and not a homicide, why are the local authorities involved in the investigation refusing to comment on the case?
If the death, in fact, was the result of a snake bite, a bee sting, a diabetic coma, or exposure, all of which have been proposed as the cause of death, why are the police, the coroner, and the district attorney all refusing to comment on the case?
2. If the victim's remains were so badly decayed or disfigured that the family could not have an open casket funeral ceremony, why was no family member, or representative of the family, e.g. a family physician, summoned to establish positive identification of the body?
Also, under what authority did officials act in their apparently informing the family of the decedent that the casket containing his remains should not be opened before its burial?
In addition, how could a body become so badly decayed in 39 hours, or less, of exposure that it was unfit for viewing by the family, or at a funeral?
3. If, indeed, unconfirmed reports that special agents from the FBI, or from another federal law-enforcement agency, were summoned to the site where the victim's remains were found, why were they summoned, and by whom?
What interest would federal authorities have in an allegedly accidental, or "unexplained," death, if there were not extenuating circumstances? Moreover, why would members of the Point Township police department refuse to comment on whether federal authorities had been involved in the investigation?
4. If tracking dogs were used during the search for Mr. Sees, it seems unusual to us that they would not be able to immediately track the path that the victim presumably took, as he walked, perhaps barefoot, from his vehicle to the location where his remains ultimately were found by searchers.
Tracking dogs are very adept at following a scent, and it seems unusual that they could not locate remains that reportedly were badly decayed at the time the body was discovered.
In addition to those questions outlined above, we feel there are many specific questions surrounding the death of Mr. Sees, which have yet to be resolved by any follow-up investigation.
For example, the apparent absence of any apparent cause of death seems unusual, given that the decedent was a seemingly quite healthy and fit young man.
In addition, it is unclear to us why an experienced outdoorsman, as Mr. Sees apparently was, would abandon his vehicle, shed his outer garments, doff his boots, and walk an estimated two miles to
ward his home, leaving his vehicle, still in good working condition, on top of the nearby mountain.
There apparently are many other aspects surrounding the death, which seem unusual, and which we do not address here.
As of the date of this writing (September 30, 2002), we have no idea what caused the death of Mr. Sees, and we certainly have no evidence, aside from unsubstantiated assertions, several of them from anonymous sources, that there was anything "unworldly" associated with his tragic demise.
However, in light of the many recent reports from South America that have come to our attention over recent months of allegedly strange deaths, and possible human mutilations, we feel that further investigation into this case is justified.
We will pursue the case, to the best of our ability, and will attempt to bring some satisfactory resolution to this apparent mystery. Most of all, we hope to be able to obtain copies of the official reports pertaining to the death, if and when they are released, and we will report them here in a final report.
We close by again expressing our condolences to the family of Mr. Sees over his death, and by apologizing if our paricipation in this matter has caused them over the tragic loss of their loved one.
Report prepared by: Peter B. Davenport, Director, NUFORC ( September 30, 2002 )
Montour Ridge Volunteers look for man Search called off at 10 p.m.
By Marcia Moore, The Daily Item, NORTHUMBERLAND
Dozens of volunteers and several search-and-rescue dogs canvassed Montour Ridge Sunday in a fruitless search for a 39-year-old man missing since daybreak.
At 10 p.m. , the search for Todd Sees of Northumberland was suspended for the night.
Search coordinator Point Township Fire Chief Leon Geise said six teams with K-9 dogs planned to resume the search at 6 a.m. today, with more volunteers beginning a ground and air search at 8 a.m. "It's not an easy thing to have to leave," he said of the decision to temporarily call off the search.
"We need some closure and we don't have it."
Sees left his RD2 Northumberland home at about 5 a.m. Sunday to go scouting for deer on a portion of his 80-acre property, according to his brother, Ty Sees.
"When he didn't come back by 12:30 p.m. , four of us went out looking for him," Ty Sees said late Sunday afternoon. "It's not like him to be gone this long."
Harold "Brub" Sees joined the initial search that yielded no sign of his son.
"We covered the area he normally covers," the elder Sees said. "We hollered constantly, but didn't see or hear him.
"Todd knows this territory like the back of his hand. What bothers me is that he's been gone too long."
Clad in a white T-shirt soaked with sweat, Brub Sees also worried how his son was coping in the intense heat, which climbed into the 90s by early afternoon.
A coordinated search effort began at 2:30 p.m. when Northumberland Borough Fire Chief Josh Newbury received a call from Sue Sees requesting help in finding her husband.
Newbury said Todd Sees was planning to go scouting on the ridge with another person who later decided not to go out.
Although no one saw Todd Sees leave early Sunday morning, his 18-year-old son, Nick, did find his four-wheeler on the west end of the ridge two miles from their home at about 12:30 p.m., Brub Sees said.
Todd Sees is an avid outdoorsman who's known to "walk for hours," Northumberland No. 1 Fire Department volunteer Nate Fisher said, but he's never stayed out for so long without contacting family.
"The heat, that's what scares me," Fisher said earlier in the day, adding that no one is certain what, if any, provisions Sees took with him.
Ty Sees said his brother usually grabs a can of Mountain Dew and dresses in camouflage when he's gone out on similar excursions.
Some volunteers speculated that Sees may have slipped on a rock and is unable to call for help.
"It very rough terrain and there's thick brush," Geise said. "This is going to be a slow and methodical search."
"Be aware, rattlesnakes are in abundance," he told the volunteers preparing to head out on the search from the command post at the base of the ridge off Geise Road .
However, the group had to wait several hours while three tracking dogs from Northstar Search & Rescue of Selinsgrove and James Shaffer were sent out into the heavily wooded area to try to pick up Todd Sees' scent.
By 6 p.m. a state police helicopter from Hazelton had flown over the ridge looking for the missing man and Geise was requesting bloodhounds be brought in to assist the other canines in the search.
At about 7:45 p.m. , the bloodhound was on the scene and Geise decided he had to send the 25 volunteers out on foot to begin a sweep of a 6-square-mile area.
"It's been fruitless so far," the chief said an hour later. E-mail comments to email@example.com
((This article provided (13SE02)to NUFORC, compliments of The Daily Item newspaper, Northumberland County , PA. Article published on Monday, August 05, 2002 .))
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