Parents Of 'Into The Wild' Teen Return To Oklahoma, Crews Halt Search

Monday, April 22nd 2013, 10:05 pm
By: News 9

The parents of a Piedmont teenager missing in Oregon are returning to Oklahoma with the vehicle the teen had been using, according to Sheriff David Glerup with the Harney County, Oregon Sheriff's Department.

Glerup told News 9 his deputies will continue searching for 19-year-old Dustin Self once weather conditions in the mountainous area clears up. Self has been lost in southeastern Oregon for weeks and is now dealing with deadly weather conditions. Authorities were forced to call off their search after snow drifts and strong winds became too dangerous for crews.

4/21/2013 Related Story: Oregon Sheriff Says Search For Lost Teen Suspended

On Monday, family members told News 9 that Dustin's parents, Victor and Tammy, had been in Oregon. Calls to Victor and Tammy Self by News 9 were not immediately returned.

Oregon deputies believe the movie, Into The Wild, could be significant to this missing person's case. The 2007 award-winning motion picture is a coming-to-age film where a young man abandons his conventional life and the civilized world. Dustin is living that movie, according to his family. Piedmont residents say they're worried because the movie's main character dies in the end.

"He's being Dustin … just thinking he's a big man," friend Miranda Hansen said.

Piedmont Police say Dustin last talked to his parents on March 15th. Since then, authorities have learned he has been practicing a religion that uses hallucinogenic tea as a sacrament.

"He really wasn't very open with like anything at all," friend Katelyn Blakley said. "He just kind of hung out and was there."

Deputies in Oregon have found Dustin's abandoned vehicle. Officials say they will continue searching once the mountain snow and strong winds let up. However, searchers admit they don't have a solid clue on where Dustin is located.

"We feel that he may have walked out of the area and got a ride somewhere," Glerup told News 9.

Piedmont Police issued a missing person's report on Dustin March 28th.

"We hope he's found safe," Piedmont Police Chief Alex Oblein said. "He's been gone a long time, so it's kind of frightening."

Family members say Dustin planned on eating berries in the wilderness to survive.