Details of Disappearance Dennis was visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with his father, his grandfather, his older brother and two cousins on June 14, 1969. The family lived in Knoxville, Tennessee at the time. They hiked from Cades Cove to Russell Field, a distance of ten miles, their first day, then traveled to Spence Field the next day and set up camp there.
Dennis was last seen between 2:00 and 4:30 p.m. that day as he played a game of "Hide and Seek" in Spence Field in the park, near the Appalachian Trail. He disappeared behind a bush in the area and has never been seen again.
The search for Dennis involved over 1,400 people and was the largest, most extensive search in the history of the park. The search effort was hampered by heavy rains that hit the area on the evening of June 14, however, and no evidence as to the child's whereabouts was ever located.
In 1985, a ginseng hunter told authorities he saw what he believed were the skeletal remains of a child in Tremont's Big Hollow, Tennessee. He had actually seen the bones years earlier, and hadn't come forward sooner because he would be blamed for Dennis's death. Law enforcement went to the spot the hunter indicated, but found nothing.
Dennis was a special education student at the time of his disappearance. He is described as a "husky, healthy" boy who had hiking and camping experience and wasn't particularly fearful. His case remains unsolved. He is believed to have gotten lost and perished in the park.
- Great Smokey Mountain Police Department
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 18, 2021; age-progression updated.