On August 17, 2014, Roger Newcomb Jr. left his law office, where he worked as a paralegal, complaining of illness. Simultaneously, he called his partner at home to say that he would be staying late and possibly sleeping in the office. Neither the law firm nor Newcomb’s partner questioned these occurrences; Newcomb suffered from chronic migraines and occasionally had to miss work, and he would often work long hours to compensate, sometimes spending the night on a cot he kept in his office.

Police records show that Newcomb then filled up his car at a local gas station, where he also purchased a box of bulk snacks and a case of bottled water. CCTV cameras captured his car at an ATM about an hour later, withdrawing all but 1.42 from a secret account that his partner did not know about. Another camera at the gate of Bluffs State Park, about an hour’s drive away, recorded Newcomb’s car entering just before sunset.

When Newcomb did not return to work the following day, the law firm contacted his partner. Newcomb’s partner, disturbed that he had been given a false story, contacted law enforcement. A thorough search through available electronic and surveillance records led investigators to Bluffs State Park approximately 72 hours after the CCTV footage showed him arriving. Newcomb’s car was found illegally parked in a field, surrounded by litter suggesting that he had stayed there for several hours, eating snacks and drinking bottled water. But no trace of Newcomb himself was found.

Approximately one week later, investigators received cell phone records for Newcomb’s Samsung Galaxy, which revealed that it had attempted to connect to cellular networks several times. Each time, the connection had lasted only a fraction of a second and triggered network anti-flood protections as the unit attempted to transmit a huge volume of apparently random numerical data. Engineers at Samsung attributed this to a corrupted or hacked unit, while admitting that they had never encountered anything like it.

Newcomb’s body was found one month later just north of the Washington-British Columbia border, roughly 3500 miles from where he had disappeared. While it was, theoretically, possible for Newcomb to have traveled that distance in that time, his remains appeared to indicate that he died not long after the final attempt by his phone to connect to a network, approximately 24 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds judging by the remains of both the phone itself and a wristwatch.

No explanation currently exists for Newcomb’s appearance in the border area, which is remote and where he had no known friends or relatives. Engineers from Samsung were unable to find any meaning in the date transferred from his phone, nor did they archive it.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!