Legendary Alaskan adventure racer Roman Dial has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the ongoing search for his 27-year-old son, Cody, who disappeared in Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park in mid-July. After going live on September 10, the GoFundMe.com has already raised nearly $8,000 — more than half of its goal. Eric Goldman, a Brooklyn-based litigation consultant who attended the College of William & Mary with Cody, came up with the idea while discussing his disappearance with friends, then helped Roman set up the fundraising page. “We were all sitting around hoping that someone would find him,” Goldman says. “I’m definitely not competent to mount a search in the Costa Rican backcountry. I am just happy to do something. We really care about Cody.”
On July 9, Cody emailed his father that he planned to traverse Corcovado park, a vast lowland tropical rainforest of deep ravines, rugged mountains, venomous snakes, and a sizable population of illegal gold miners. He has not been heard from since. On July 24, Roman alerted park officials and the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica that his son — an experienced outdoorsman who had spent the last seven months hiking through wilderness in Mexico and Central America — had gone missing. Two days later, Roman arrived in Costa Rica. A four-time champion of Alaska’s famously difficult Mountain Wilderness Classic, he soon initiated his own search in Corcovado, without official permission. With the aid of two friends who had traveled with him from Alaska, they bushwhacked through the jungle, rappelled into ravines, and examined illegal mining tunnels. Costa Rica’s Red Cross also deployed search teams on the ground and a helicopter equipped with an infrared camera to overfly the park. Two weeks later, having found no trace of Cody, the Red Cross suspended its effort.
Roman hasn’t given up searching for his missing son. In late August, he assembled an ad-hoc SAR team of former soldiers and wilderness experts from Alaska’s outdoor community to scour Cody’s last known location in Corcovado. (This time with official permission from the Costa Rican government.) After five days in the park, they came up empty-handed — but Roman plans to stay in Costa Rica looking for clues. “Perhaps a miner will find him or his equipment. Or perhaps someone will come forward with a story that leads to him,” he wrote on the GoFundMe fundraising page. He and his wife, Peggy, have also hired a private investigator to look for clues. According to Goldman, who has reached out to friends, former classmates and media outlets to help promote the fundraising effort, “Cody’s incredibly competent. If someone was going to walk out of the woods, it would be him.”
[More Information: You can donate to the Cody Roman Dial fund at gofundme.com/ebhedc.]