Did 'Into the Wild' inspire young men to make tragic decisions?

Did 'Into the Wild' inspire young men to make tragic decisions?

Watch KMTR NewsSource 16 Monday night at 6:30 and 11 p.m. for more on this story

BURNS, Ore. - Last April, Dustin Self got into a fight with his girlfriend, watched the movie Into The Wild, drove to Steens Mountain in remote southeastern Oregon from Oklahoma City and disappeared.

Search crews and sheriff’s deputies conducted multiple searches on the mountain and found Self’s truck.

Some supplies were missing inside, and Self was nowhere to be found.

“He had watched the movie Into 'The Wild' and was going to get off the grid for a period of time,” said Harney County Sheriff David Glerup.

Glerup said among the items missing from Self’s truck was his sleeping bag and a tent.

Back at home, friends were pointing to the movie "Into the Wild" as the cause for Self’s disappearance.

"He was just being Dustin doing this. Just thinking he's a big man," said Miranda Hansen, one of Self’s friends who lives in Piedmont, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City.
 

It would’ve been an isolated incident until Arizona teen John Croom disappeared in Douglas County just outside the town of Riddle following the exact circumstances as Self. 

Croom’s father came to Oregon looking for his son, and what he told NewsSource 16 during an interview last August sounded strangely familiar.

“He would watch the movie all the time and ask people their opinions about it,” said David Croom.

Eventually his son’s body would be found just a few thousand feet away from his SUV. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office would rule his death as a suicide.

But how could this happen to two men who’ve never met each other, and who lived entirely different lives? 

Robert Noble, a family therapist at Eugene Therapy, has been specializing in the behavior of young men for more than 10 years.

“There are many factors that have come together to create this situation,” Noble said. 

Watch KMTR NewsSource 16 Monday night at 6:30 and 11 p.m. for more on this story