Is the "Into the Wild" book or movie behind the death of an Arizona teen in Oregon? Johnathan Croom's father said his son was likely influenced by the film based on Jon Krakauer's 1996 nonfiction book. Nonetheless, police are investigating the case as a suicide after the boy's body was found Monday.
On August 27, CNN wrote that the body of Croom, 18, was found about 1,000 yards away from Johnathan's green Honda CRV. Inside the car, parked on a lonely wooded road in the logging and ranching community of Riddle, was the teenager's identification card, a blanket, jug of water, and a sweatshirt.
Police do not suspect foul play, but the dead teen's father believed the "Into the Wild” movie and book had something to do with his son's death.
"He's been watching the movie a lot. Maybe he said, 'I want to do it.' That's our theory, because he kept talking about the movie," David Croom said of the film.
He also added that his son was happy on the outside, but was "really hurting inside."
According to Huffington Post, his parents said their son often talked about Krakauer's nonfiction novel. In the book "Into the Wild,” the main character, Christopher McCandless, sets out alone and takes to the Alaskan wilderness, where he lives in an abandoned school bus.
While speculation is around the Arizona teen following in the footsteps of McCandless, an Oregon resident in the town of Riddle has another take on Croom's death.
"There's nothing that makes sense. What happened to him does not seem to square with what happened in the movie," said the unidentified resident.
Of Note: Johnathan Croom died of a possible suicide, but the main character in the book died of starvation, likely brought on by eating wild potatoes.
Dwes Hutson, public information officer for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office expressed a similar doubt about the book/movie and the teen's death.
"It's 2½ miles from the major interstate; it's right in town in Riddle. There are houses and people, and it's well-populated, so if he wanted to do an 'Into the Wild,' it wasn't the appropriate place,” Hutson said.
Share your thoughts about this tragedy? What do you think really happened?