by: Marcos Ortiz
Posted: / Updated:
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – On a cold wintery day, Cameron Stith is alone in the mountains.
His only companion is a drone and smartphone.
Stith’s on a mission. He wants to find any evidence that will help find missing persons.
“So you can see it’s getting dark quick,” Stith said on his own smartphone.
He’s in the Oquirrh Mountains and it’s cold out there. But Stith saw it as an opportunity to pursue his hobby; flying his drone. But something caught his eye one day while surfing the internet.
“I had just finished my certification and I figured why not try to use the skill that I have and help try and locate somebody.”
So, he took he flew his drone over the Oquirrh Mountains. Authorities in Tooele County and his family believed Morris left one morning and headed there. To date, he has not been found.
“These drones are big and pretty powerful and we’re able to see a lot of stuff through, being in the air,” he said.
But soon, his mission changed. After seeing something on Google Earth, Stith took his drone to the same area. It appeared to be an abandoned vehicle.
“While I was looking for Rick Morris I found that one — off the trail,” he said. “Google Earth is pretty impressive that it can catch something like that.”
But reaching it wasn’t easy. Snow-covered the area making it difficult to reach and get his drone within the area.
That’s when another volunteer stepped in.
When Andrew Gulledge disappeared in Provo last month, Kaitlin McDonough wanted to help find her friend.
“He likes to go to the mountains to go hiking,” McDonough said. “Personally I think it had snowed a ton the night before (and) that something may have happened (with him) in the mountains.
She searched the “We help the Missing” website and found what Stith was doing.
“I was on a mission,” she said. “He couldn’t get the answers and I could walk up there. Ten miles was a little bit much but I did reach it.”
She hiked to the location was got closeups of the vehicle, including a license plate number.
ABC4 tracked the number down and learned it belonged to a young man whose friend said it was abandoned after a wreck. He said tow truck companies wouldn’t go into the mountainous area to retrieve it.
“But there are six others that we have seen on the mountain up there,” she said.
The two plan on getting answers for those other vehicles. Already, one family reached out to them. McDonough said the mother claimed her daughter died in a car wreck in the mountains and was hoping they could retrieve personal items left in the car.
It’s one reason why they search.
“I think Andrew’s disappearance really made me feel more for the families that have loved ones,” said McDonough.
Stith felt the same. That’s what got his attention in the disappearance of Rick Morris.
“I just feel it’s a good thing to do,” he said. “At least I know I’m giving somebody answers, giving someone hope that someone else cares.”
Stith now hopes he can convince other pilots to do likewise. He uses his social media accounts to update his progress. His TicTok account is DADBod DJ, Facebook is Cameron Stith and has set up a non-profit on Facebook called Guardian Pilots.