In early 2014, the son of a biologist and legendary Alaskan adventurer took time off of school for an an epic trip into the depths of Central America. In July, after scuba diving with whale sharks, climbing Guatemala's 14,000-foot Tajumulco, and surfing in Nicaragua, 27-year-old Cody Roman Dial disappeared into a Costa Rican jungle the size of 120 Central Parks and hasn't been seen—at least by his family—since. His father, Roman Dial, has spent the better part of the past two years searching for his son in and around the Corcovado National Park, and National Geographic is airing a six-part series documenting his travails, Missing Dial, on the National Geographic Channel beginning Sunday. Entertainment Weekly reports that the elder Dial and his investigators spent eight months interviewing locals and combing the jungle, and that one week in they had, as Dial puts it, a "significant break" in the case.
The team manages to "uncover a web of lies, surprising clues and a shocking plot twist that rivals a blockbuster movie," as the National Geographic Channel puts it, but Dial himself won't reveal any more than that "we know that Cody was murdered, and we know there is a suspect." Dial had raised his son to "survive in the wild," Men's Journal reported soon after Cody's disappearance, with the two of them enduring harsh climates and vast wilderness throughout Alaska. Cody was up against canyons, rivers, thick foliage, venomous snakes, and roughly 400 illegal gold mines, reports Outside, the last of which may have proved most dangerous. "I'll be bounded by a trail to the west and the coast everywhere else, so it should be difficult to get lost forever," Cody wrote. But in the end, the elder Dial says of the reality of living so adventurously, "The people who are going to be suffering are the people who loved you and lost you." (See how this grandmother survived nine days in the wilderness.)