The man named David Stone had it all. A 29-year-old stock market analyst originally from El Paso, Texas, he had found his way to La Jolla, California to pursue a very successful career with a major firm. By all accounts he was a likeable, laid-back and easygoing guy who had everything going for him, but in 1988 he would begin to show some behavior that was out of character. He started getting deep into the New Age movement, something he had not really shown any particular interest in before, but which he now embraced fully, making frequent trips to Sedona, Arizona to engage in New Age retreats and what he called “vision quests.” He would excitedly talk about it all with family and friends, and at this point it would have probably seemed a bit odd, but not particularly menacing or ominous, but that would all change on the fateful evening of October 28, 1988. From here would begin a bizarre tale of strange behavior, even stranger clues, and a mysterious disappearance and death.
On this evening, Stone held a party at his swanky apartment with a group of friends, described as a pretty calm gathering of about 20 people and with no really heavy drinking or drugs involved. It had actually all been a pretty quiet affair until Stone saw something that caused him to inexplicably fly into a rage. At one point towards the end of the evening, Stone saw a friend by the name of Anders Sjögrell messing around with his golf clubs, and for some reason this set him off. He reportedly jumped Anders and began beating him mercilessly, punching him over and over again before others were able to break them up. Stone allegedly seemed to be disoriented and in shock of what he had done as the partygoers saw to his profusely bleeding, injured friend, not seeming to understand what had just happened. Friends and family would later say that this violent outburst was completely out of character for David, and had come out of the blue to stun everyone present.
The following day, Stone’s head seemed to have cleared, and he told his roommate that he was going to get out of town for a few days to get his head straight and go on one of his vision quests to seek spiritual guidance, after which he would go off to be the best man at a friend’s wedding in El Paso. The next time anyone would ever see him was in Hidalgo, New Mexico, about 140 miles from La Jolla, when a local farmer saw him stumbling along a desert road in the early morning hours of October 31. According to the farmer, at the time the weather had been very chilly, yet Stone had been wearing nothing but a t-shirt and shorts. He was using a walking stick, and when the farmer asked if he needed a ride, Stone apparently declined and said that he was “looking for the beast.” After that he had gone off the road to begin walking out into the remote wasteland of the desert and before that it would be reported that he had been seen by some other locals wandering around and reportedly acting strangely and talking to himself. And then he just vanished.
When Stone’s friend’s wedding came and went on November 3 and there was still no sign of him, friends and family became very worried. Police would find Stone’s abandoned car on November 5 along a forlorn stretch of New Mexico Highway 80, about fourteen miles south of Roadforks, New Mexico, in a desolate moonscape of uninhabited wilderness, but there was no sign of Stone himself. The discovery of the car would mark the beginning of a strange series of inscrutable clues that surrounded it all. For one, the car was parked near some “pyramid shaped mountains,” and nearby was a pyramid formed of rocks and surrounded by a triangle. Another rock pyramid would be found as well some distance away, next to which were found Stone’s Rolex watch and two quarters. In the car were found a business card in a pocketbook Bible for a man named Tony Ballesteros, as well as a cryptic note that said “They think the WORD is in the safe. Six knives in Rob’s room. Yous buys your tea and yous take your chances Halloween.” What did any of this mean? No one had the slightest idea. Searchers would fan out looking for the missing man, and would find even more bizarre clues.
Out in the desert they found a series of numbers scrawled out in the sand, which were found to be a sequence used by engineers and stock market analysts called the “Fibonacci sequence,” which usually starts with “1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,” only Stone had replaced “21” with “18” for reasons unknown. Rather spookily, his car had been found at the mile marker 18, and it would later become apparent that his number during his days of playing college football had been 18. Coincidence or not? Who knows? Adding to the strangeness was that police bloodhounds followed Stone’s scent to Highway 80 and then stopped at a spot far from his car, at a remote place 13 miles from where his car had been found, where the dogs became confused and were unable to track the scent any further. In the meantime, police questioned the man from the business card, Ballesteros, who claimed to have never met Stone before and said that he had likely dropped the card during a hunting trip to the area. Why did David Stone have it? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. Throughout it all there was no sign of foul play, and with all of the weird details Hidalgo County sheriff’s Deputy Bill Cavaliere would say, “It was the most bizarre case I ever worked on. It was just about the strangest case that ever happened around here.”
No further trace of Stone was found, and it was widely suspected that he had simply gone out into the desert on one of his vision quests and succumbed to the elements, but all of the bizarre clues left people wondering. It would not be until years later that any new lead would come in. On February 23, 1992, two hikers stumbled across human remains out in the remote desert near Granite Gap, New Mexico, which were found to belong to Stone. The skeletal remains were found about 5 miles from where his car had been, in an area that had been searched at the time of his disappearance, and were so desiccated that it was impossible to know how he had died or why they were in this particular spot. As there were no obvious signs of injury or trauma and still no evidence of foul play, authorities labelled it an accident and “death by misadventure,” and that was that. We are left to wonder what happened to David Stone? What brought him out to that desolate slash of desert and what are the meanings of the many odd clues surrounding him? Was this foul play or one of his vision quests gone wrong? What did it have to do with his New Age interests, if anything? We will probably never know for sure, and the case remains unresolved.