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August 26th, 2013
09:46 PM ET

Billie McCandless's message to Jonathan Croom: "Young man, please call your parents"

Editor's note: Jonathan Croom's body was found around 6:30pm PT by the Douglas County Sheriff's Department. His body was located about 1000 feet from where the vehicle was abandoned in a wooded area. His death is being investigated as a suicide.

On the heels of last week's news that an 18-year-old Arizonan boy by the name of Jonathan Croom had gone missing in Oregon, "Piers Morgan Live" invited Walt and Billie McCandless to offer their perspective on a story that seems to be emulating their own son's past in the wilderness of Alaska.

In April 1992, Christopher McCandless ventured off into the wilderness of Alaska with little food and equipment. He was found dead in August 1992 of starvation, weighing only 67 pounds. The movie "Into the Wild" is based on McCandless's journey. Many are now questioning if young men are trying to emulate McCandless's own journey.

"We have a message for the family, including Jonathan, if he's listening," Billie told Piers Morgan. "We want to say, young man, please call your parents. No one will ever worry about you, care about you or love you more than your mom and dad."

While Billie noted that everyone has their own issues and dreams to accomplish, she implored Jonathan to accept the support of his family:

"Why not do them [sic] with the support of those who love you the most?" she asked. "Our prayers are with you and your family, Jonathan, that you achieve your goal. Just remember your loved ones are part of your journey, and that's the message that I would want him to have."

Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Walt and Billie McCandless, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Hana

    RIP! Please help keeping Johnathan memory alive. Sign and share his living memorial at

    August 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Brian Keith O'Hara

    The one thing I feel to learn from both Chris and Jonathan, is that the one danger in life is when people face issues and problems by themselves, whatever the reason, when they need to talk to someone who will listen and be honest with them. I listened to one of Chris's friends who described him as socially inept at Emory; yet, everyone who met Chris, one on one, from South Dakota to Slab City, liked him, and not just a little either. He formed deep, meaningful friendships with the people he met--and they valued him and his opinions, because he was a good person with a good heart. I think he had been alone too much and had too many awkward times. The movie means much to many of us because life places too heavy a burden on the wrong people, while others get a free ride. Those who need to learn the least learn the most, those who need to learn the most, learn nothing. Treasure people like Chris and Jonathan, mentor them, or, even better have them mentor you. We would all be the better for it. If Chris and Jonathan, knew how we see them, they would know that we truly need them and treasure them as a part of our lives. Don't just feel it, say it, share it, let them know.

    August 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • P.J. Kurtz

      Beautifully written, Brian Keith O'Hara!

      November 2, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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