In the Issaquah Alps east of Seattle, stands Tiger Mountain - the second tallest of the small mountain chain. Nestled along its western bounds is Issaquah, a town with roots in the mining and timber industries. The town as it stands today has over 39,000 residents - a modest-sized town that takes on more of Seattle's population growth as urbanization spreads.

But in the late 1960s, Issaquah only had a few thousand residents. And it is in 1968 that a young boy went missing who has never been found - creating the longest and oldest cold case of a missing child in Washington State.

The boy from Tiger Mountain

His name is David William Adams, and at the time of his disappearance, he was 8 years old. If you don't recognize his name, I'm not surprised: as of the date this article was published, there is no Wikipedia article, no documentary, and only one partial podcast episode about his disappearance. I only discovered the case through Reddit.

In short: the longest missing children's case of Washington State is at risk of being forgotten.

David's mother, Ann Adams, described him to the Issaquah Press as mischievous:

He was just pretty much a garden-variety 8-year-old boy, endearing and frustrating at the same time.

Dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, and full of energy, David was the second oldest in his family. The Adams had moved to the house along 240 Ave only a couple of weeks prior, although they were familiar with the area as they worshipped at a local Latter Day Saints (LDS) church, where David had friends.

The day of disappearance: May 3, 1968

On Friday, May 3, 1968, David took the bus home from Clark Elementary School, and got off at the stop on Tiger Mountain Road with his older brother Steven. The two returned home, and then David went to play with his six-year-old friend Kevin Bryce. The Bryce family lived only a few minutes away - across a path through a field and a small bridge crossing Fifteenmile Creek.

Left: map of the Issaquah area circa 1980. Right: Modern Google Map of the area in which David was last seen.
Left: map of the Issaquah area circa 1980. Right: Modern Google Map of the area in which David was last seen. (credit: USGS / Google.)

Around 5pm that night, David's mother Ann called the Bryce household and requested David come home. After a typical childlike protest to stay longer, David agreed, and Kevin walked him to the bridge across Fifteenmile Creek. David told Kevin he could find his way home from there.

Unfortunately, David never appeared at home - which would quickly start a massive search effort to find the boy. The community and hundreds of volunteers scoured every bit of the area, night and day, sometimes without sleep, all in hopes of finding David before it was too late.

The only clue and suspect

David Adams' disappearance was treated as a search-and-rescue mission, not as an investigation of possible foul play. With hundreds of volunteers, the potential of evidence being destroyed in the search was high, and bloodhounds could offer no clues.

The only known clue in David's disappearance is the neighbor's sighting and distrust of one of the Adams' neighbors (unnamed by the media). The man, then about 20 years old, was sighted walking around the neighborhood and was reported as acting 'strangely'. At the time, police questioned him, but weren't able to get any useful answers. Not much longer than that, the potential suspect went to serve in Vietnam.

In 2009, the case was reopened due to a grant, and the potential suspect was investigated and questioned. He agreed to help with the investigation but failed a polygraph test. His brother believes in his innocence, explaining away any suspicious activity to the veteran's PTSD. Comments on news articles at the time of this investigation also seemed to defend the suspect. No charges have been filed, and the case remains cold.

A modern look at Fifteenmile Creek and 240 E. (Google)
A modern look at Fifteenmile Creek and 240 E. (Google)

Possible theories around David's fate

Issaquah was - and is - a relatively natural area, particularly against the base of Tiger Mountain. The area remains heavily wooded (as seen in the photograph above and the satellite view). This was a leading factor in believing that David's disappearance was a search-and-rescue mission, as Seattle residents thought of the area as still being wild. However as many locals have noted, even at the time, David would have been passing through yards and lots - not wild forest.

Since the area is so close to nature, many suspected that David had gotten lost along the mountain, putting him at risk to exposure, hunger, and thirst. Along this line, others believed that he must have been attacked by a wild animal, likely a cougar. However, no remains or traces of body evidence were ever found.

The crossing of Fifteenmile Creek has also had some theorizing that David may have been drowned; however, the creek has very low water and bloodhounds never tracked his scent back to the creek. Another theory suggests that 8-year-old David "ran off" with a girlfriend.

Because Issaquah was previously a mining town, another contending theory is that David fell into an old mining hole. The area does have many old coal mines; in fact, one served as a hideout during the Weyerhauser kidnapping of 1935. It stands to reason, however, that any such mine shafts would have been discovered in the decades since David went missing.

Will answers - or David - ever be found?

The only further clues to this case I can find are on the internet - specifically on the Web Sleuths forumAssuming that these people are not acting in a role and telling the truth, both David's sister and Kevin's sister have been active on this thread to dispel rumors and encourage everyone to report anything they know to the police. Kevin's sister indicates that there's no way he could have gotten lost, and insists that he would have been abducted. One person, claiming to be his former classmate, said, "I had played with David in the woods near his home. He was not 'unfamiliar' with the area."

If David is still alive, he would be 64 years old. He remains on the state's missing children's list, and has been registered on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.


If you know anything, please report it to the King County Sheriff's Office at 206-296-0970. 

As a final note, I'll share this haunting song by Tiny Vipers called "Tiger Mountain," which has been said to be inspired by David's disappearance.

60 Missing Children From Washington. Do You Recognize Anyone?

I remember seeing missing children's images on It's every parent's nightmare. When children go missing from home, school, anywhere, fear sets in. Who took the child or teen? What happened? Please take a look at these missing children images. One of these kids could be your neighbor, friend, or family member. Do you have any information about any of these missing people?

Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

Missing Persons in Washington State

The gallery of persons currently listed as missing on the MUPU list in Washington State. Each picture contains the missing person's name, when they went missing, and which law enforcement agency to contact if you know something that could help.

Gallery Credit: Brian Stephenson