An Adirondack Mountains Mystery



Main Lodge Santanoni

Douglas Legg

Missing Douglas Legg


Original Article Douglas Legg

 Douglas Legg

The disappearance of an 8-year-old boy in 1971 resulted in one of the largest missing persons searches in the southern Adirondacks and remains one of it’s biggest mysteries. The mystery devastated a family who fell under suspicion for quite some time. They never received the closure of finding out what happened to their son, Douglas Legg. With today’s investigative and forensic tools, perhaps this disappearance could have been solved.

Forty-three years ago little Douglas disappeared walking back to his family’s camp. He was sent back to the lodge by his uncle who insisted on Douglas changing his clothes before heading out on a family hike. Long pants were in order due to Poison Ivy in the area. Although the distance Douglas had to walk was very short and on a straight path, he never returned and was never seen again.

A six week search, which included U.S. Air Force planes, helicopters, rescue dogs from all over the country, and well over 600 searchers turned up nothing. Rumors started and fingers were pointed at relatives and friends. Police theorized that Douglas may have ended up in a swamp in the middle of the Adirondack woods. Others felt Douglas might have been abducted and murdered.


Adirondack Searchers

There were occasional leads over the years which included the following:

  • A woman undergoing psychiatric treatment stated that a boy fitting Douglas Legg’s description had been kidnapped and murdered by one of her relatives. This turned out to be a false memory.
  • A man on leave from the Navy in 1973 was hunting with a friend on the Santanoni Preserve and chased a deer across a peninsula which lead to an area approximately 1/2 mile from the lodge that Douglas Legg’s family had stayed at in 1971. This hunter, while separated from his friend in the woods, stumbled upon a small skull and partial skeleton which he believed to be human.

He told his friend about the discovery of skeletal remains but never reported the findings to police. He was in the Navy and had to return to duty. These men were not aware of Douglas’ disappearance and it was not until 1993 that the hunter learned of the renewed search for Douglas. He immediately called the police to report his story. Police had the man, now a resident of Montana, accompany them to the island but no remains and/or evidence were ever found.

Thousands of people go missing every year in the United States. Many people disappear while out on walks and/or camping in the woods. I thought this video was very interesting considering the investigation was started by a police officer. Do you know someone who vanished off the face of the earth? There are many, many websites dedicated strictly to missing people. Men, women, and children of all races and ages vanish every single day in the United States. If you discount the suicides, parental abductions, murders, and the people who do not want to be found, there are a significant number of unexplained disappearances.  Feel free to leave me a comment below.

  What’s Going On?


Thanks for stopping by!

Haunted U.S. Roads



  1. Christine

    Could this be him?

    Unidentified Person / NamUs #UP51453
    Male, White / Caucasian
    Date Found
    July 23, 2018
    Location Found
    Ochopee, Florida
    Case Information
    Case Numbers

    NCMEC Number

    ME/C Case Number

    Race / Ethnicity
    White / Caucasian
    Possible First Name

    Possible Middle Name

    Possible Last Name

    Possible Nickname

    Estimated Age Group
    Adult – Pre 50
    Estimated Age Range (Years)

    Estimated Year of Death

    Estimated PMI

    5′ 8″(68 inches) , Measured
    83 lbs, Measured

    Unidentified Deceased
    Date Found
    July 23, 2018
    NamUs Case Created
    July 27, 2018
    ME/C QA Reviewed

    Location Found Map

    General Location
    Noble’s Campground, 5 Miles North from I-75 and 63 MM Rest Stop
    Ochopee, Florida 34141
    Collier County
    GPS Coordinates

    Circumstances of Recovery
    possible name: BEN BILEMY (used this name to sign in at various hostel’s along the trails in VA, GA & FL.) TRAIL HIKER NAMES: DENIM and/or MOSTLY HARMLESS Hikers stopped at a communal picnic table on the trail. They observed a yellow tent and yelled out but got no response. They looked in and discovered the body. They called 911. First responders pronounced at the scene. There was no identification found on the body or at the campsite. The decedent did not appear to be in good health. It appeared the decedent was living in the park. Items found: Beige Shirt/neon green (w/gray accents), Shorts/Gray Russell, “Performance” Underwear size M Columbia baseball hat, very dirty possibly gray and white Yellow two man tent – Manufacturer: Brooks-Range Mountaineering, Model: Foray Yellow sleeping bag Two hiking poles, black and copper color. Brand “Outdoor Products”. One yellow and gray Isobutane 110 G fuel cartridge Bluegreen Nalgene water bottle
    Details of Recovery

    Inventory of Remains
    All parts recovered
    Condition of Remains
    Recognizable face
    Physical Description

    Hair Color
    Gray or Partially Gray
    Head Hair Description
    Dark Brown with Gray Hair
    Body Hair Description

    Facial Hair Description
    Long black and gray beard.
    Left Eye Color
    Right Eye Color
    Eye Description
    Distinctive Physical Features

    Scar/markPossible indistinct fine linear scar across abdomen. Very faint.
    Clothing and Accessories

    AccessoriesBeige Shirt/neon green (w/gray accents) Shorts/Gray Russell “Performance” Underwear size M Columbia baseball hat, very dirty possibly gray and white Yellow two man tent – Manufacturer: Brooks-Range Mountaineering, Model: Foray Yellow sleeping bag Two hiking poles, black and copper color. Brand “Outdoor Products” One yellow and gray Isobutane 110 G fuel cartridge Bluegreen Nalgene water bottleNear the Body

    1. Donna L (Post author)

      What? Makes no sense whatsoever but I will post your comment.

  2. Jay

    I don’t think its sasquatch or bigfoot. For one if these creatures exist they would avoid humans,as someone pointed out. I don’t think they would be that close to a human inhabited area.
    He either walked off the path and something happened or a human predator was watching for a window of opportunity. I was camping at Moose river in the Adirondack mtns as a kid. My friend and his dad were walking ahead of me. I was next to the river when all of a sudden the ground went out from under me. the river has washed out a section of the bank.The only thing that stopped me from falling in was a tree that was lying across it. They might not have even realized that I fell in. That is how fast things can happen in those mountains.

    1. Donna L (Post author)

      I agree. I lived and hiked in the Adirondack Mountains for fifteen years. I always felt there was much more to this “mystery” and PERHAPS the uncle knew more than he revealed. Just my opinion.

  3. Betsy

    A haunting story to be sure. I have driven through Newcomb many times on the way up to Lake George. The forest in that area of ADK is extremely dark and extremely dense. Even a grown adult could very easily get lost. I’m sure the family of Douglas Legg still suffers with questions. As a parent, that’s got to be your worst nightmare.

    1. Donna L (Post author)

      I agree. A family can’t recover from this type of tragedy. I lived in the Adirondacks for several years (Peru) and the woods and mountains are fierce! I really want to thank you for taking the time to leave the comment. Feel free to join the mailing list for articles.

  4. jesse

    It could very well be sasquatch’s. Its been proven they’re real in the Adirondacks and they are vicious and don’t want to be found. Former Squatch Hunter

    1. jesse

      People in sasquatch territory that end up missing are normally never found again because sasquatch don’t want to be found. They are a highly intelligent nomadic species

      1. G$

        This is absolutely true! As they age and find it difficult to kill prey for food they will definitely take something easy like a person. At 800 lbs they need an incredible amount of protein everyday to survive and Native Americans are well aware of their predatory history.

    2. Donna L (Post author)

      I appreciate your thoughts and feedback. Thanks for stopping by, Jesse.

  5. Don Weldon

    Hi Donna, I recall the reports over WROW radio as I drove home from work. I used to hike the high peaks and also attend water ski tournaments at Harris Lake. I often wondered what happened to the little boy. Hiking off trail is almost impossible.

    1. Donna L (Post author)

      It’s such a sad story. A lot of people go missing in wooded areas and some of the stories are bizarre. Sometimes, things just do not add up.

  6. Craig

    My sister in-law lived in newcomb NY back then and helped with the search for Douglas legg. It’s real hard to find any info on this case. Check out missing 411 on YouTube it explains altot.

    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Hi Craig,

      I appreciate your input on this case. A very strange one for sure. I will check out the YouTube information. Thank you!

      1. Craig

        Hi Donna. Ifound out some new info on Douglas legg story, maybe you already know this, but will Tell you anyways. During the search they tracked his scent for fifty miles before dogs gave up. The scent was strong. David paulides mentioned this at one of his 411conferences that he spoke at.

        1. Donna L (Post author)

          Hi Craig,

          Thanks for sharing this information. One of those unsolved mysteries with so many twists and turns.

  7. Lisa

    Donna – your article is good but it is also missing some key information. Why don’t you talk about the tracking dogs that were brought in to follow the scent trail of little Douglas Legg? The little boy didn’t simply lay down and die in the swamp – he was on the move. If you dig a little deeper, you will be able to find more reports about the tracking dogs. Here is some information I found:

    “The search for Douglas Legg was huge and no cost was spared to find him. In addition to hundreds of local volunteers and specialized search and rescue, Multiple dog teams were flown in from all over the Country……”

    “Many of the search dogs picked up Douglass’ scent and tracked it straight through the woods for 15 miles to a nearby mountain called the High Peaks. The trail then continued for another 15 miles through dense forest to the city of Lake Placid where it ended, after having gone around the city, as if to avoid it. The searchers commented in news articles that the scent went through the roughest terrain they could imagine and many of them made very little progress each day due to the undergrowth where the scent was located…..”

    There is more to the story of Douglas Legg that is being kept quiet. The boy obviously couldn’t have walked himself through this rugged terrain. Was he possibly being carried through the mountains by something? Is that why they called in the Green Beret?

    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Lisa-I wrote the story my way and based on the information/facts I researched related to this case. There are many versions and aspects of this missing persons case that can be expanded upon. Yes, the dogs were a part of this investigation which turned up nothing. I did, in fact mention that rescue dogs were utilized. They followed a scent trail for miles. This scent trail turned up nothing as indicated in reports. How would you know that information is being kept quiet? I think that you are guessing just like many other people. The only person who knows the truth is Douglas Legg. Perhaps you can write your own version with your theories. Thanks.

      1. Jude Warren

        imo Lisa was just leaving feedback without meaning to offend.,think about it Donna,after all the money spent on the immediate search and to find nothing.. something HAD to have been kept quiet.,ala the recent Madelaine Macann case..we as members of the public know nothing about her whereabouts but can say with utmost certainty that someone knows something.
        Two options.,either Douglas is alive & well somewhere with a changed identity OR somethng back in 1971 was kept quiet.What motive would a then 8 yr old boy have to change his identity AND to have the good fortune not to be realised.,nothing of outsmarting search & rescue teams at time of disappearence?..all three!,highly unlikely if not completely implauseable.
        Without mirkying your great web page (and because it can never be proven) the stretch of path which Douglas had to walk and the vast distances to any place of safe refuge deduce deliberate foul play.,sadly the empty handedness of the search & rescue only cementing such.
        Donna,i think we all have dreadful times trying to deal with past cases when if happening today would not go unsolved.Thanx for ur web page.

    2. Tracy Hill

      There is no single mountain in NYS called the High Peaks — the High Peaks is a collection of 46 mountains in the Adirondacks that exceed 4000 feet in elevation.

  8. Jovo Vranjes

    Hi Donna, so many fascinating and unexplained stories on your site. Many reasons to visit your site again. Thanks a lot. Jovo

    1. Donna

      Thanks so much for your feedback Jovo. Stop by again!

  9. Rob

    Poor kid. I wonder what happened?


Leave a Comment

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.