'Into the Wild' may have inspired Ariz. teen's disappearance - New York News

'Into the Wild' may have inspired Ariz. teen's disappearance

Updated:
MESA, Ariz. -

It's been several days since anyone heard from 18-year-old Johnathan Croom. The Arizona teen went to Seattle to visit a friend, but never returned home.

His SUV was found last Wednesday in Riddle, just off of I-5.

Johnathan Croom was supposed to start college at Mesa Community College last week, but he never showed up for class. His father says his disappearance may stem from a movie.

'Into the Wild' hit theaters in 2007 and is based on a book Jon Krakauer. The movie follows a recent college graduate as he abandons his possessions, gives all his money to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

"Apparently once a month, he's been watching this video of 'Into the Wild.' It's a movie about a guy who drops everything and takes off. He's apparently been fascinated with this," said David Croom.

His father says the movie could be a clue into where his son might be. Johnathan would tell friends that it would be great to just take off and leave on an adventure. 

A friend even gave him a book on survival, but his family is worried that he's not prepared to spend time in the wilderness. As far as they know, he left in shorts and a T-shirt and was carrying a backpack.

Johnathan was heading back to Arizona after visiting a friend in Washington. Searchers are treating the disappearance as one in which Croom walked away from his vehicle voluntarily.

"His identification, his money, everything he had with him was still in the car. And nobody knows where he is at, he's just completely missing," said Croom.

His father is staying in Oregon and is putting up missing persons fliers around town in hopes that someone knows where his son is.

"I text him everyday. Please call, I'm looking for you. Please call," said Croom.

Johnathan's mother says he has Boy Scout experience and is very smart, but of course, his family is still worried about him and is wondering where he could be.

Earlier this year, a 19-year-old from Oklahoma disappeared after talking to his parents about the same book and setting out to test himself against the Oregon wilderness.

Dustin Self's truck was found in April on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. The last search for Self was in the spring, after snow melted, but it yielded no hints to his location.

Follow this story: Ariz teen missing in Ore. on way back from Seattle

The AP contributed to this report.

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