Police search for skydiving instructor missing in Moab since June 29

Moab police are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a world champion skydiver who had been teaching at Skydive Moab this summer. David Brown, 37, was last seen Wednesday, June 29 at the west side home he shared with his boss and friend, Clint MacBeth.

“He came into my house and we spoke. Then he went outside. That was the last time I saw him,” said MacBeth, the owner of Skydive Moab. “I just thought he was going to the [travel trailer] out back. Later on, I thought it was odd that he didn’t come back inside, but I didn’t really think much of it right away.”

On Saturday, July 2, Brown’s family filed a missing person report with the Moab City Police Department. A search of a rocky area near a trail that runs beneath the power lines above Mountain View Drive on Saturday turned up no sign of Brown, nor did a grid search conducted earlier this week by Grand County Search and Rescue, according to Moab Police Chief Mike Navarre. Navarre has issued a national missing person alert for Brown.

MacBeth said Brown is “not really a hiker,” but police searched the area after receiving a report that the missing man may have been spotted walking in the area near the power lines, Navarre said.

Brown, who does not own a vehicle or a bicycle, walked out of the home he shared with MacBeth on Doc Allen Drive at about 2 p.m. on June 29 and has not shown up for work or contacted anyone since, Navarre said Tuesday.

“He left his wallet, identification, passport, cash and all his belongings at the residence,” Navarre said. “As far as we know, he just has the clothes on his back. He was there, and then he was not. He’s just vanished.”

About $4,000 was found in Brown’s backpack at the home, along with an uncashed paycheck, according to MacBeth. He said Brown might have about $200 in cash with him.

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Brown has lived in the United States for 10 years and came to Moab to work with Skydive Moab about two months ago, MacBeth said on Wednesday morning. Brown currently holds a skydiving world record and is a former national skydiving champion who has logged more than 13,000 jumps, MacBeth said.

“Everybody in the skydiving world loves him. Everybody knows who he is,” MacBeth said. “He’s a really great guy.”

Skydivers from across the country have contacted MacBeth to offer help in searching for Brown, and someone has also offered the help of two airplanes to conduct an aerial search of the area, MacBeth said.

Brown’s sister and other family members were scheduled to arrive in Moab on Wednesday to meet with police and help with the search.

Brown recently went through a divorce and is scheduled to appear in court related to the divorce in the next few weeks, Navarre said. The day before he went missing, Brown had taken his current girlfriend to Canyonlands Field Airport, where she boarded a flight to Las Vegas en route to her home in Sweden. Flight records show Brown has not boarded a plane at Canyonlands Field during the past week, and the girlfriend told police she has not heard from him, Navarre said.

“At this point, we have no idea where he might be,” Navarre said. “We’re going to keep looking for him, but it’s hard to even know where to start.”

Family and friends have distributed flyers to newspapers and television news stations and posted messages seeking information about Brown’s whereabouts on social media sites.

“We’re very concerned about him,” said Mark TeKamp, Brown’s brother-in-law. “We have no idea where he is right now, and there are no leads.”

MacBeth said he and other friends of Brown are holding out hope that the missing man is safe and will return home soon.

“The only thing we can think of is that he’s sitting in a hotel room right now and he’ll come back any day,” MacBeth said. “We’re worried about him and we hope he’s okay.”

Brown is described as being about 6 feet tall, and weighs 180 pounds. He has green eyes and dark brown hair. Brown has four tattoos: a black bat on his left shoulder, a hummingbird, an alien head, and a moustache on his back.

Anyone with information about Brown’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Moab City Police Department at 435-259-8938.

ByBy Lisa J. Church

staff writer