When the fall term begins at Nazareth Area High School on Monday, one teacher will be conspicuous by his absence. Matthew Greene, a popular math teacher at the school 65 miles north of Philadelphia, vanished while on a backpacking trip in California last month. Police say Greene was there to hike and climb the Eastern Sierra, a region that features extremely steep and rugged terrain, with many peaks soaring to 12,000 and 13,000 feet. His disappearance has baffled friends and family who call Greene a highly experienced, cautious outdoorsman.
Greene, 39, had arrived in late June to hike and climb with friends. But when his Subaru blew a head gasket, they went on with their trip while he stayed behind at a campground in Mammoth Lakes, 260 miles east of San Francisco, to wait for repairs. The last time anybody heard from him was July 16, when he chatted with his parents back in Pennsylvania, called the repair shop, and traded texts with a friend. Some of his gear was discovered to be missing, and several pages were torn out of his guidebook, leading to speculation that he might have headed in that direction for a hike. Scores of searches have turned up nothing, however. "We kind of have realistic expectations," says his sister. "We may never get answers as to the how and the what. But we will settle for anything we can get to just bring him home and get some closure on it." (Read more missing person stories.)