Joshua McClatchy is the Texas man who went missing at the beginning of June, after setting out to hike the Buckeye Trail. McClatchy, 37, was an experienced hiker who was well-prepared for his hike. But on June 1, he contacted his mother to say that he was lost. There is an ongoing search for McClatchy, who was last seen on the Buckeye Trail in the Caney Creek Wilderness area Saturday east of Mena in Arkansas.
Here’s what you need to know about Joshua McClatchy:
1. He’s an Avid Hiker & Outdoorsman Who Spent at Least a Month Preparing for the Hike Along the Buckeye Trail
McClatchy’s sister, Miranda Balduf, said that Joshua started his hike on Friday May 31. She said that he was an experienced hiker who was well-prepared to his the Buckeye Trail. In fact, she said, he had been talking about the hike non-stop for the past month. He had brought energy bars, water, and a water-filtering straw.
On the morning of June 1, Joshua texted his mother a photo of the scenery where he was. Some five hours later, he texted her to say that he was lost. “Hey mom, I need your help,” he wrote. “Remain calm and we’ll get through this.” He did his best to describe his location to her. Rescue crews began searching for him, and the hunt is still ongoing.
Sheriff D. Scott Sawyer, with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, said Joshua’s car was found at the start of the Buckeye Trail. He said there were no other signs of Joshua, but promised to go on searching until he found them. The sheriff said that the Caney Creek Wilderness, where Joshua was likely lost, was a “remote and rugged mountainous area” where it’s not unusual for hikers to go missing.
2. He’s a Graduate Student Earning a Degree in Social Work
McClatchy was born in Fort Worth, Texas. When he was in the sixth grade, his family moved to Arlington. He earned his BA at Texas Tech University. McClatchy now lives in Fort Worth and is working towards a graduate degree in social work. He’s putting himself through school by working as a waiter at Uncle Buck’s Brewery & Steakhouse in Grapevine.
3. He Said He Wanted to Go Public About His Struggles with Mental Health, in Order to Fight the Stigma Around Mental Illness
McClatchy often posts about mental health issues — his own and those of others — on Facebook. In a post on May 3, McClatchy wrote that he had decided to make all of his mental health posts public. He wrote that he wanted to help fight the stigma around mental illness. He wrote,
“Just tossing this out there…..I’m going to make my posts about my struggles with mental illness public from now on. I am aware of the risks involved. I’m ready to to take my advocation of those afflicted by mental illness, their loved ones, their friends, etc. to the next level. That last sentence may seem a little strange to you. It really isn’t because even if you don’t have mental illness yourself, you have a family member or friend that does. If you care about them, then a simple share can be your way of advocating for them. We must end the stigma of mental illness because it’s treatable.”
McClatchy noted that he is much luckier than most people with mental health issues because, he said, he has a strong support network. His parents, his friends, and even his employers are supportive of him and help him. But, he said, he urged people who may not have a great support network to seek out help.
4. He’s a Devout Christian
McClatchy is a devout Christian who wrote on Facebook that he’d been a member of Glory Church. Glory Church describes itself as “a loving, family-oriented body of believers who genuinely care for the well being of others. We are located right in the heart of the DFW Metroplex. We believe in encountering the radical love and power of Jesus Christ. You can expect an anointed worship team always under the direction of the Holy Spirit as well as an impacting message that will be sure to leave you full of His Word!”
5. A GoFundMe Page Has Been Set Up to Fund the Search for McClatchy
McClatchey’s friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the cost of searching for McClatchy. The page quickly started to trend and, just two days after getting underway, had already raised more than $8,000. Well-wishers also left messages expressing their sympathy and praising Joshua for his kind, generous heart.