Bessie Louise Hayley Hyde
Missing since November 15, 1928 from Arizona.
Circumstances of Disappearance
Bessie was raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She married Earl Helmick on June 5, 1926 in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. Bessie and Earl had attended high school and college together. She returned to West Virginia shortly after their wedding. A local newspaper reported that Bessie planned to study art during the following year in San Francisco, California. No explanation of her decision was given and rumors persisted that Bessie was pregnant, which has never been confirmed. It is believed that Bessie and Helmick never lived together during their marriage.
Bessie departed from San Francisco in February of 1927 and traveled aboard a passenger ship to Los Angeles, California. She met and Idaho farmer and outdoors man named Glen Hyde during the trip and the two began a romantic relationship. Helmick refused to agree to a divorce, so Bessie moved to Elko, Nevada to meet residency requirements for a decree in that state. Their divorce was finalized on April 11, 1928; Bessie and Glen wed in Twin Falls, Idaho on April 12.
Glen and Bessie took a honeymoon rafting trip down the Green River and Colorado River during the fall of 1928. Glen was an experienced rafter, while Bessie was somewhat of a novice. They boarded a handmade flat-bottomed wooden sweep scow, a craft commonly used for Idaho river rafting at the time. Glen refused to carry life preservers or jackets on board, also keeping with the general rafting customs of the day.
The couple arrived at the home of Emory Kolb, a photographer who maintained a small riding business on the rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, on November 15. The Hydes said that they had been rafting for the previous 26 days and were pausing to restock their supplies. They asked Kolb to take a photo of them posing by the canyon's rim; they planned to retrieve the picture on their return trip a short time afterward. Kolb believed that Bessie appeared apprehensive about the remainder of the journey. Kolb attempted to tell Glen that he needed some form of lifesaving equipment on board, but Glen disregarded the warning.
Glen and Bessie departed Kolb's property after restocking their raft near Bright Angel Trail. The couple has never been heard from again. Glen's father assisted with the search effort when the Hydes failed to return to Idaho by early December 1928. A small plane located their abandoned raft in the river in mid-December. The craft was upright and fully stocked with supplies, but there was no sign of Glen or Bessie. Water was also discovered on board the boat, but authorities were not certain if it was part of the Hydes' supply or simply overflow from the rapids. An extensive search of the area produced no clues as to Glen and Bessie's whereabouts. Investigators determined that the couple was presumed to have died in some type of accident in the river. Glen's father believed that they had difficulties with their craft and attempted to hike out of the Grand Canyon, but became lost and died in the woods. No evidence has been located to support that theory.
Bessie and Glen's disappearances are no longer being investigated by law enforcement, but fascination with their cases continues. Brad Dimock wrote a book detailing the disappearances in 2001, entitled Sunk Without A Sound.
Ghosts of the Prairie
The Idaho Statesman
"Sunk Without a Sound: The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde" by Brad Dimock
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