Melvin "Mel" Nadel was last seen on September 6, 2009
in the Elk Mountain area of the Santa Fe National Forest near Pecos,
New Mexico. Nadel met two friends at their camp that afternoon for an
evening of archery hunting. At approximately 4:30pm Nadel left camp
intending to hike a short distance from camp to hunt from the ground,
returning back to camp by dark. However, when his hunting partners
returned to camp around dark, Nadel was nowhere to be found.
Nadel rarely hunted far from camp after becoming lost a few years
earlier on a hunting trip in the Jemez Mountains. On that occasion
Nadel had panicked, running through the woods, firing his gun, until
his buddies found him. Since then he was not known to go without his
GPS, but his GPS was found locked in his jeep near the campsite,
along with his cell phone and backpack.
The afternoon Nadel disappeared he was wearing a camouflage
turtleneck, shirt and pants, a Lucky 13 pendant he designed when he
ran a jewelry store and a black Seiko watch. He was thought to be
carrying a camouflage Martin bow, black-and-white zebra-striped
arrows and a .44 special revolver.
State police and volunteer search-and-rescue teams scoured the
rough terrain for days finding no clues to what might have happened
to Nadel. Nine months later, on June 16, Taos Search and Rescue
conducted another search. To date, no trace of Mel has been found.
Mel's family and friends do not believe he left on his own accord.
He had no financial or legal troubles. He was also very close to his
18 year old daughter whom he home schooled.
Nadel is a small man standing only 5'2" and weighing about 135
pounds. Mel was in good physical condition for a 61 year old, he
owned and operated Pilates Fitness Plus gym in Santa Fe, and
was a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. However, he does have a
family history of heart problems, both his mother and father died of
heart attacks. He also had a slight knee injury that had required him
to wrap his knee that afternoon.