Details of Disappearance
Noel was last seen camping with several other friends at Dam Lake eleven miles southeast of Aitkin, Minnesota on the morning of November 1, 1986. The group was staying in a cabin in a 1,500-acre woods. They had a party that went on into the early morning hours.
At 5:45 a.m., Noel left the cabin alone, carrying his shotgun. His friends assumed he wanted to get an early start on the day's grouse hunting. He didn't have a compass, a map, matches or heavy clothing at the time. He never returned and has never been heard from again.
An area woman heard several shots fired in the area that night, which were possibly Noel's attempts to signal for help. Searchers found his discarded mosquito-netting mask lying on the ground with an open rifle shell nearby, which may be indications that he tried to start a fire.
The search turned up no other trace of Noel. Nighttime temperatures in the area at the time dipped well below freezing, and within the next several days a snowstorm hit the area. If Noel had been outdoors without shelter, he would not have survived.
Noel was a senior at North St. Paul High School in 1986. He is described as an athletic teenager who hoped to attend the University of Minnesota at Duluth. His case remains unsolved. When his mother died in 2000, he was noted in the obituary as having predeceased her.