Details of Disappearance
Partlow was last seen in Flathead County, Montana on the afternoon of May 8, 1987. He went hang gliding with three friends on Blaine Mountain, northeast of Kalispell. His friends glided south, but heavy winds pushed Partlow off-course and north. His glider was not designed for extreme conditions and he got sucked up, out of sight, and vanished.
Several weeks later, a pilot found Partlow's hang glider in a clearing on the east side of Columbia Mountain, about seven miles north of where he'd taken off. The glider appeared to have had a rough landing but it was mostly intact, and there was no sign of Partlow or any indications that he had been injured. His parachute had been deployed and was lying flat across the ground, and his helmet and his rucksack, which contained some survival supplies, was also at the landing site.
Partlow would have seen the Hungry Horse Reservoir before he landed, and may have been trying to walk downhill to it when he left the landing site. He would have found himself in deep snow immediately. Searchers found a wool sock and pieces of an insulated vest, believed to be his, down the east side of mountain.
He had had survival training in the military, but he was not dressed for the cold or the rough terrain and investigators believe he probably perished from exposure within a short time period, but his body has never been found.
Partlow graduated from Ritzville High School in Washington, served in the Air Force, and took college classes at two community colleges in the Spokane, Washington area after his discharge. He moved to Kalispell with a girlfriend in 1986.
In 2019, his mother obtained a death certificate for him.