Michael Bryson, 27, of Eugene, Oregon, was last seen at Hobo Campground near Dorena, Oregon, in the early morning of Wednesday, August 5, 2020, whilst partying with friends.

He was said to have wandered away from the rave party at the campground at around 4.30 am and has not been seen since. Some of his clothes turned up months later in an area visible from the road, and searched many times. But Michael remains missing.

Friends and family remain baffled, suspecting Michael was the victim of foul play. Was it misadventure, abduction or something else in the Oregon Wilderness?

What happened prior to the disappearance and rave party?

Michael was 6’0″ tall and weighed approximately 180 pounds. He had short brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, tan shorts, and white Crocs with rainbows. He might also have been wearing a brown corduroy baseball cap. He had several tattoos on both legs, ribs, and arms.

He stopped by his parent’s house in Harrisburg, Oregon, on August 4, 2020, and told Parrish and Tina that he was riding up with a friend to a week-long birthday party/camping trip at Hobo Camp Campground.

Michael disappears in the Umpqua National Forest

Hobo Camp is a small roadside campground located in the Umpqua National Forest. It is described as “primitive”, which is okay for a night or two but not somewhere you would want to camp longer term. There is a path leading to a large creek.

The last pictures of Michael were taken at at the “rave” party in the woods, with 40 to 60 people, music, drinking and drugs. Witnesses say Michael was last seen in a bus on the campsite before he walked away.

His mother said, “He got upset and walked off the bus and nobody has seen him.

The search for Michael Bryson

Michael’s parents weren’t alerted to their son’s disappearance until 5 pm on August 6. They immediately drove to the area where Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue had already deployed search teams to search by land and by water.

Tina said, “By the time we found out, it was almost 12 hours since he had been missing. The moment I put my foot out of the car. I knew Michael was gone. People weren’t looking for Michael. They were sitting around, drinking, eating, laughing – nobody was out searching for him, so I felt in my gut something had happened.”

Parrish said, “There’s been a lot of conflicting stories from the beginning. One story is that he walked away from camp. The other story is that a group of individuals picked him up on the road.”

Hundreds of volunteers showed up to search miles of wilderness in the area. SAR teams on foot on horseback combed the site, and drones were deployed to scan from the air. The steep terrain with overgrowth and dense trees was searched for nineteen days straight. But there was no trace of Michael.Ezoic

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office had coordinated over 15 separate searches spanning two counties, and paid and volunteer searchers logged over 700 hours.


According to Detective Richard Smith with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Michael wandered away in an unknown direction and left his camping gear behind. His phone was powered off, and he hadn’t accessed his bank account since he went missing. Smith said the case was an ongoing, active investigation.

Parrish Bryson said they never got a straight answer from the partygoers about Michael and added that he believes they knew more than they were letting on, “The stories given by some of the people at the party are inconsistent. And most of those people left the day Michael went missing and continued to hold raves and parties.”

He added that while many people left the campgrounds, a few friends and several strangers dedicated their time and energy. “We stayed at the campgrounds for 19 days looking for our son, and we’re truly grateful for those who stayed and helped.”

Parrish said his son had just been getting his life back together after a drug problem. Before COVID-19, Michael had been working at a local bar and grill, and he told his parents he was interested in studying to become an electrician. But for years, his passion was music, and he was often invited to DJ sets at parties and raves across the state.

Some six weeks after the disappearance, Michael’s parents said they wanted to believe their son was still alive, but they feared the worst. Parrish said. “And he would never just leave. Even in his toughest times, he would always contact us. The idea that he would just disappear is unheard of.”

The aftermath of the official search and discovery of clothing

Tina and Parrish Bryson searched the area where Michael vanished three to four times a week, investigating tips and making sure flyers were up on trailheads, bulletin boards, and at the campsite. Michael’s father said, “He did not just disappear into thin air”.

Then, on December 11, 2020, a breakthrough. Parrish Bryson got a call from someone who saw something on Brice Creek Road, a mile west of Hobo Camp between Cedar Creek and Lund Park Campground.

Lane County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue teams were notified, and when they arrived, they found some of the items Michael was last seen wearing. They were found in an area that had been searched several times, near a swimming hole and visible from the road.

Parrish said, “The blue ribbon right there is where two of the items were found. And the blue and orange ribbon is where the other items were found. I’m 99.9% sure that these items were planted. My gut tells me that they were probably placed there because I know the intensity of some of the individuals that went down through there. It’s really hard for me to believe that they were there the whole time.”

Teams searched for a few days after the discovery but found no more clues.

What happened to Michael Bryson?

Did Michael wander from camp under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs and get lost in the wilderness? Was he snatched, or was foul play involved?

Sgt. Thomas Speldrich said, “We’re certainly open to the possibility that there was criminal action, and we haven’t had anything that has led us one way or the other at this point.”

Back in 2021, Parrish Bryson said at least three times per week, he was out following tips from community members, which sometimes meant driving into the woods in the middle of the night only to find animal bones, a deer carcass or an area he had already investigated, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone and checked out bones.”

Bryson’s parents are convinced someone murd*ered their son, though police have found no evidence of it so far. Tina Bryson also told the Register-Guard she doesn’t believe he walked away. “That’s just not Michael. He barely ever got upset. There’s nothing in me that says Michael would have just wandered nonchalantly out of that campground.”

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *