Tony: In Search of an Explanation for Wild Man of JoCo Woods

Larry Schnackenberg and his family have a lot of explaining to do but the local media is letting them off the hook after his high profile disappearance and then rediscovery took up a not-so-inconsequential amount of resources and broadcast space that could have been utilized for more forthright causes.

Meanwhile, Mike “Never quite found a job in PR” Hendricks argues for public ignorance and a lack of any critical insight regarding mainstream media reporting. And I’m starting to believe that anti-crime activist Alonzo Washington has a point in pointing out the phoniness of this story.

The only part of the story that makes sense is the unwillingness of the family to be forthright about the guy’s reason for attempting to “go native” in the deepest recesses of the JoCo woods. Like it or not, their silence isn’t serving the public interest in missing persons cases.

Allow me to explain.

While it has never been codified, there is a symbiotic relationship between missing persons and media outlets who take up their cause. In the recent case of the dude found allegedly roaming around a Shawnee Mission Park Trail for almost a month the family used media resources to tout his cause and create a stir for an initial search. And again with an organized a press conference to call an end to the case. But because they won’t even come close to explaining the situation reveals a bit of hypocrisy that allows for secrecy when it comes to media relations with law enforcement.

When newsies serve as a “go-between” with authorities they’re expected to pose tough questions and keep these media events from becoming a merely an exercise in public relations. Reporters like Mike Mahoney and Chris Hernandez fire away at ANYBODY at the podium without mercy or preference and their fortitude keeps them from being played. And believe it or not, authorities are usually open to these questions despite the instinct of everyone in the public eye to avoid any real scrutiny. Still, in so many JoCo missing persons cases there are few real investigations. For instance, a couple of years ago press conferences on the murder of Kelsey Smith were nothing more than a vast array of PR maneuvers used to stifle any real inquiries and didn’t tell us anything about the circumstances of that murder.

In the case of the Wild Man Of The JoCo Woods, the whole affair ended nicely with the family reunited for a wedding and the mystery dad who simply played “wild man” for a bit in the park. Nevertheless, the fact that media is so easily led astray and won’t delve into the most interesting aspect of a grown man gone off the grid playing Suburban Sasquatch, once again reveals that sometimes this town is simply too polite to be taken seriously.

Tony Botello

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10 Responses to Tony: In Search of an Explanation for Wild Man of JoCo Woods

  1. Anonymous says:

    MediaJunky
    Well done Tony

  2. Anonymous says:

    if only…
    T., you forgot to mention that he dropped 25 lbs. Jealous much?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ernie
    I don’t think the family owes answers anyone but the police.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Brian
    Tony you are an insensitive prick. Give it some time you a-hole. I am sure something will come of it. If it ends up being the guy confesses that he wanted to play big foot in the woods then we can be critical. If down the road it is determined that he has some sort of physiological issue or disorder out of his control then I hope you’ll be the first to apologize.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Jip
    My take is that if you decide that you need to use the media as a tool for reaching the entire public to try and get your loved one back, you are sacrificing any privacy that you may want once you get him back.

    It’s an easy choice–if my loved one went missing, I would love the assistance of the mass media to get him back, and if he came back under extraordinary circumstances, I would be as transparent as I would’ve been when he originally went missing.

    To go public–very public–with your crisis, then beg for your privacy once your crisis is solved, seems to be a case of wanting it both ways.

    Overall, I’m glad he’s back with his family and I’m not going to be the one to put heat on them demanding answers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rainbow Man
    My opinion… Dude snapped. He was probably getting daily verbal beatings about paying for a wedding. He was probably made to feel deficient for a long time. A lot of women want to compete with men for jobs so they can participate in Friday jeans day. But they still lay the earning pressure down on the mister when the going gets tough. And divorce? It is ALWAYS the guy’s fault. When women have affairs, they deserve it, after all their husband is a beast. The dude will never get the house or the kids, but he will have to move out and pay for all of it. My theory is that the guy hit a wall, had a breakdown. Going home was worse than living under a bridge. The family isn’t talking because they are embarrassed because they know they drove him to the brink.

  7. Anonymous says:

    mojhawk
    I am sure he had a breakdown no excuse but that is it and I am sure his daughters wedding had somthing to do with it. I remember when they have had amber alerts for missing children only to find out it was a mistakem they were with a family member. I remember when a 14 year old girl was reported kidnapped but showed up back home a few days later no explanation. You had no problems there Tony different part of town. You should be ashamed of mentioning the Kelsey Smith incident while on your Jackson county soapbox you are a miserable little waste of DNA

  8. Anonymous says:

    MediaJunky
    Jip…you’re on target. Also, you can bet that the Casino’s have been contacted. $ has to be in play somehow.

  9. Anonymous says:

    mermaid
    I think the public deserves some type of answer? Friends and strangers posted flyers at every business and public place in town and he just shows up. No not good enough. We need something- was it mental? was it I am going in the woods and not eating food till I lose some weight for my daughters wedding? was it an affair gone awry? was it a bad payback and the guy was tied up somewhere beyond his control? Nothing is not good enough. Sorry but everyone in this city was worried. We should know something.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dexter Morgan
    Rainbow Man for the win.

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