Details of Disappearance Reece was a vegetation research intern for the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Biological Resources Division in Hawaii's Mauna Loa area. He resided in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park near Hilo and worked on the Palila restoration project in late 1999.
Reece planned to spend his Thanksgiving vacation on a four-day hike from North Kohala's Pololu Valley to the Waipio Valley in Hamakua. He received a ride to Keaau from another intern on November 25, 1999. The individual told authorities he dropped Reece off at approximately 7:00 a.m. Reece carrying a red Kelty Redwing-model backpack containing his raingear, a tarp, a hammock, a small-sized camp stove and approximately four days' worth of food at the time of his disappearance.
Reece intended to walk along the Awini Trail to another destination several miles from the Waimanu Valley. He would be required to bushwhack the terrain in the area. Heavy rainstorms hit the region shortly after Reece's departure. Investigators said that the weather conditions made the trail hazardous. The route was normally treacherous on its own, featuring several steep inclines.
Reece may have hitchhiked a ride to Kawaihae before 12:00 p.m. The driver said that he dropped off a man matching his description at the intersection of Waimea-Kawaihae Road and Queen Kaahumanu State Highway. Reece never reported to work on November 29 and authorities were alerted about his disappearance.
An extensive search of the area produced no clue as to Reece's whereabouts. He is an experienced hiker and was somewhat familiar with the region. and he's described as a responsible and reliable student. He resided in Duncanville, Texas prior to his internship.
- Hawaii County Police Department
Hilo Criminal Investigation Section