Silver Plume, Colorado, with a population of 200, is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. On September 7, 1987, Tom Young closed his Main Street bookstore and vanished with his dog, Gus. Keith Reinhard, a new resident of Silver Plume, opened an antique shop at the exact same location nine months later. Keith closed his business for the day on August 7, 1988. After less than two hours, Keith Reinhard also vanished. Simply put, there were too many coincidences. Tom Young and Keith Reinhard rented the same store. They both left the city with the intent to return. Keith was writing a book about Tom’s disappearance when he himself mysteriously vanished.
Keith Reinhart moved from Chicago to Silver Plume with three goals in mind: to get in shape by mountain climbing, to overcome his fear of heights, and to start writing a novel. During his sabbatical, Keith desired to operate a summer tourist-oriented antique shop. If it was successful, he hoped to relocate there permanently with his wife. Ted Parker, an old friend of Keith’s, was the proprietor of a café in Silver Plume at the time of Keith’s disappearance:
“Keith Reinhard and I grew up on opposite sides of the street. And we’d known each other for roughly four decades. Our relationship was comparable to that of brothers, I would say. Keith was both anxious and enthusiastic about turning 50. He was here to complete the final year of his forties as he had envisioned.”
Prior to nine months ago, Keith’s antique shop was a bookstore. Tom Young, who mysteriously vanished with his dog, had managed the store for approximately one year. Tom had informed others that he would be vacationing in Europe. Three weeks passed before anyone becomes suspicious of his whereabouts. Keith Reinhard became obsessed with Tom’s mysterious disappearance and began interviewing everyone in Silver Plume who knew Tom. Keith ultimately chose to base his novel on Tom Young. When he began to write, he created Guy Gypsum, a character who was a combination of himself and Tom. According to his daughter Tiffany, Keith sometimes appeared to have difficulty distinguishing between fact and fiction.
“Writers prefer to experience the story they are writing so that it is easier for them to write about it. It is always possible that my father wanted to experience what it is like to vanish in order to write about it.”
Ten months after Tom Young’s disappearance, on July 31, 1988, two hunters discovered Tom’s and his dog’s remains in the mountains near Silver Plume. Each had died from a head wound caused by a bullet. Dave Dauenhaur of the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department was among the first investigators on the scene.
“His remains were discovered while they were scouting a territory in preparation for the upcoming bow hunting season. Also discovered at the crime scene was a revolver. Upon further investigation, we discovered that Tom had purchased a firearm roughly four days before he was last seen in Silver Plume. Tom Young’s de*ath has been ruled a suicide by both the coroner’s office and the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department. The case has been closed.”
A week after Tom’s body was discovered, Keith walked through Silver Plume and announced to everyone he encountered that he was going to climb nearby Pendleton Mountain. One of his stops was at the café of Ted Parker:
“He told me in the café that he would reach the summit of the mountain. I felt he was joking when he said, “If I don’t come back, call the rescue.” I have a photograph of him waving goodbye and pointing to the mountain. That was my last encounter with him.”
Keith was last seen walking in the direction of Pendleton Mountain at 4:30 p.m., far too late in the day to begin a challenging six-hour hike. Keith Reinhard did not return that evening.The following day, search helicopters were dispatched to the mountain. Seven days on the ground, more than 125 men and twelve trained dogs combed the difficult terrain.
Charley Shimanski headed the Alpine Rescue Team:
“The Reinhard search resembled the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. This haystack is 3,000 feet tall and has a 60-degree incline. This was the most challenging search terrain we encounter. Keith entered the mountains wearing only blue jeans, a plaid shirt, and tennis shoes, which put us at a significant disadvantage. He had no bag with him. He was unprepared. A typical search subject will leave numerous traces for us to follow. Keith did not leave very many hints. He had few possessions with him to leave behind.”