On the morning of June 1, 1987, 16-year-old Theresa Bier and 43-year-old Russel “Skip” Welch set off for a camping trip in the Shuteye Peak area of the Sierra National Forest. Welch had told Theresa all about the mythical Bigfoot – a half man half ape creature said to roam around the forests across the United States – and the two embarked upon an adventure in hopes of catching a glimpse of the legend for themselves.
According to Skip’s account of the day Theresa Bier was last seen, they were both wandering down the towpaths of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in search of the Sasquatch, when the two somehow became separated. Welch, a self-professed student of Bigfoot who claims to have been in close personal contact with the creatures, believes that it was during this time that Theresa had been kidnapped by a Bigfoot. Fresno police were dubious of Welch’s far fetched claims and immediately placed Welch under arrest for kidnapping.
Theresa’s body was never located and with very little evidence against Welch, prosecutors were forced to set him free three days before his trial. Initially the plan was to have Welch sign an agreement that he would be tried for the kidnapping charges and authorities could bring him back for a second trial in the event that a body was discovered, but Welch’s attorney refused to allow his client to sign the paperwork.
Authorities were forced to drop the kidnapping charges against Welch in order to avoid double jeopardy if Theresa’s body was ever uncovered. Meanwhile, a manhunt was underway for the body of Theresa Bier. The area the two were reported to have been camping at during the time of Theresa’s disappearance was thoroughly searched, but there was no body and no evidence supporting the theory that Welch had killed the girl.
For centuries Native American tribes have had legends about an upright walking apeman who kidnapped women from their lands. Some believe that the women would be eaten by the beasts, while other theorize that they kidnapped the women in order to cross breed their species with our own. Perhaps there’s a chance Theresa Bier is still alive and living amongst these apemen as one of their own? The only person known to be alive who could answer that question is Skip Welch, and he’s sticking with his claim.