The movie Into the Wild is being tied to the death of Johnathan Croom. Prior to his disappearance, the 18-year-old become increasingly obsessed with the movie.
Croom was traveling from Seattle. He was expected to return to Apache Junction, Arizona, to begin college.
Croom’s abandoned vehicle was found in Riddle, Oregon, on August 21. Five days later the teen’s body was found — less than 1,000 feet from his car.
David Croom believes his son’s interest in Into the Wild may have led to his death:
“He’s been watching the movie a lot… Maybe he said, ‘I want to do it.’ That’s our theory, because he kept talking about the movie.”
Into the Wild is based on the nonfiction book by Jon Krakauer. The book tells the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless. As discussed by Amazon, McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his money to charity, and disappeared into the Alaska wilderness.
Four months later, McCandless’ body was discovered by a hunter.
Items found in Croom’s vehicle suggest that he wanted to emulate one of his favorite movies. Authorities found a blanket, sweatshirt, a bottle of water, and the teen’s ID card. His father explains that he was traveling light and carrying a backpack.
Croom’s official cause of death has not been determined. However, it is being investigated as a suicide.
Residents of Riddle disagree with the Into the Wild theory. Most importantly, the town of Riddle is miles from any wilderness. One of the town’s residents explains:
“There’s nothing that makes sense… It’s 2½ miles from the major interstate; it’s right in town in Riddle… There are houses and people, and it’s well-populated, so if he wanted to do an ‘Into the Wild,’ it wasn’t the appropriate place.”
Croom’s father says that his son has very little experience with camping or being in the wilderness.
As reported by Fox News, Croom was grieving about a relationship that recently ended. Douglas County sheriff’s spokesman Dwes Hutson states that Croom’s discussion about Into the Wild suggests that he was “kind of just running away from his life.”
[Image via Flickr]