After a human foot was found floating in a hot pool at Yellowstone National Park, investigators uncovered hundreds of dollars in cash and handwritten poems in the missing man’s car, according to new documents released Tuesday.
Mystery still surrounds the grisly discovery, however. Rangers found the foot, still inside a size 8.5 black shoe, in the Abyss Pool Aug. 16, 2022, after a park visitor reported it to a tour driver. Geologists didn’t find any other significant human remains, but “fatty deposits were found floating to the surface over time,” the documents said.
Using DNA analysis, investigators were able to identify the man to whom the foot belonged as 70-year-old Il Hun Ro, of Los Angeles. Investigators later determined that whatever happened to Ro took place on the morning of July 31, but nobody saw it. Foul play was not suspected, according to an earlier statement.
After bagging evidence and interviewing witnesses at the scene, investigators found that there were three unaccounted-for vehicles left in the parking lot. Two people claimed their vehicles in the next hour, and the third, a Kia Niro SUV, belonged to Ro.
Inside the vehicle was Ro’s laptop, personal photos, park maps, his wallet with $447 in it, and a small book of poems, according to the documents. Investigators used Google Translate to comb through the poems and Ro’s handwritten notes but found no evidence of a suicide note.
Using the driver’s license found in his wallet, investigators determined that Ro stayed for one night at the Canyon Lodge, about an hour away from the pool, located in the West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Upon a request from Nexstar, park officials provided background on the investigation, but did not disclose any additional new details not included in the document.
Yellowstone officials urge visitors to stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas and to exercise extreme caution as the ground surrounding the features can be very thin, with scalding water below.
Abyss Pool is over 50 feet deep with a temperature of roughly 140 degrees F.