39-year-old Pennsylvania hunter and outdoorsman Todd Sees wakes before dawn and decides to go deer spotting on Montour Ridge, a mountain range behind his home in Point Township, Northumberland County. He leaves home at 5:00 am, telling his wife he’ll be back by noon, and drives his ATV up a tree break where a powerline runs. Sees is the son of a farmer, a family man, Little League coach and father of two, and when he fails to return by the appointed time his wife grows concerned and calls the police. Shortly thereafter, Sees’s son finds his father’s four wheeler abandoned at the top of the ridge, two miles from their house. By 2:30 a large search team has been mobilized. They discover no footprints leading away from the ATV and no scent for their search dogs to track. Over two hundred volunteers and rescue personnel continue combing the area with dogs. Skin divers search a nearby pond and the others scour a six mile radius for any sign of the man. Day one ends with Sees still missing.
The search continues throughout the following day. Around 8:00 on the second night someone spots a patch of white in the woods near the pond, a mere 150 yards from the Sees residence. Local firemen work feverishly with saws and axes to cut a path through the heavy brush and there, in a dense bramble, they find the dead body of Todd Sees. Witnesses describe him as dressed only his boxers, emaciated, and wearing a countenance of abject terror. No one from the family is ever called in to identify the body, and contrary to Pennsylvania law, the body is removed without a coroner present.
Northumberland County coroner James Kelly conducts an immediate autopsy but his results are inconclusive. With no significant external or internal injuries, there is no clear cause of death. He eventually returns the body to the family in a sealed casket and strongly suggests they do not open it. Sees is buried sight unseen and his poor, grieving family do the best they can to pick up the pieces, with much help and support from the local community. A toxicology report, released months later, suggests “cocaine toxicity” as the probable cause of the death. Local police close the investigation.
News coverage was surprisingly scant and that is basically the sum total of the unassailable facts. The strange circumstances of the case, however, and their similarity to other rural events involving missing persons almost immediately attracted the interest of paranormal researchers, particularly those in the UFO community. Despite an understandable stonewalling from local police trying to protect the Sees family, follow-up investigations by controversial UFOlogist Peter Davenport and former Homicide Detective Butch Witkowski produce quite a bit of additional “information,” all of it decidedly of the “alleged” variety. Wondercabinet can find no official verification of these details and they should be taken with a healthy grain of salt. That said, even if you disregard the UFO angle entirely, the case leaves behind a haunting impression of a man experiencing a harrowing final ordeal. Requiescat in pace.
• One of Todd Sees boots was found seventy-five feet up a tree.
• At 5:30 on the morning in question, three nearby farmers and a fisherman on the Susquehanna River witnessed a disk-shaped UFO over Montour Ridge. An anonymously filed, mistakenly dated report to this effect was submitted later in August, 2002, to the National UFO Reporting Center. Additional reports provide even stranger details.
• Numerous accounts of the FBI descending quickly on the scene and instructing locals not to talk to the press.