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Father of missing hiker hopes to continue search in Panama

Since 27-year-old Alaskan Cody Dial went missing after hiking in Costa Rica’s wild Corcovado National Park, his father has traversed the park, repelled down waterfalls and trekked illegal gold mining trails in an attempt to find him. But even after weeks with no sign of his son, Roman Dial, a legendary Alaskan outdoorsman, is not ready to give up.

“It just doesn’t seem like he went missing in the park,” Dial told The Tico Times. “I think the other possibility is that somebody has him.”

The younger Dial has been missing since July 10 when it is suspected he first entered Corcovado National Park, using trails off-limits to tourists. The young backpacker had been traveling through Mexico and Central America since January. He had significant experience in backcountry hiking.

Since his disappearance two Red Cross search teams combed the park and aerial patrols conducted more than 10 hours of flyovers in the region. After the Red Cross ended their rescue mission, Roman Dial continued exploring the park’s canyons with help from friends. None of the searches turned up any sign of the missing hiker.

Foul play currently is not being investigated as a cause for Cody Dial’s disappearance, but according to Carlos Rivera, one of the leaders of the Red Cross search-and-rescue team, it has not been ruled out.

“There is no indication that foul play was involved, but there is no indication that it wasn’t,” Rivera said. “With so little information to go on we can say that anything is possible.”

He could even be in Panama, according to Roman Dial.

I walked back and forth across the park. We had a reward out for his gear and his equipment. We had a private investigator around,” he said. “I don’t think he is in Costa Rica because if he was it seems like something would have turned up.”

Using online crowd-funding site GoFundMe, the family is now trying to raise $15,000 to  send a search team to Panama’s Darién Gap, where they believe Cody may have gone after his trip in Corcovado.

“That area is known for violence,” Roman Dial said. “It just seems like a place worth looking.”


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