Things Aren’t Right: The Disappearance of the Yuba County Five explores the bizarre and tragic 1978 disappearance of Ted Weiher, Jack Madruga, Bill Sterling, Jackie Huett, and Gary Mathias in the Plumas National Forest in Northern California. Four of these men had intellectual disabilities while one was diagnosed with schizophrenia. On Friday, February 24, 1978, they left the Yuba County, California area in Madruga’s 1969 Mercury Montego to attend a basketball game in Chico, California. Four days later the car they were traveling in was found abandoned on a snow-covered road in the mountains of the Plumas National Forest, some 75 miles in the wrong direction from home.
Four jurisdictions of law enforcement would investigate and search for the missing men. Psychics were brought in, and there were strange reports of sightings of the five from numerous people. One witness came forward with an incredible story of seeing the men disappear into the forest that night. Yet every lead came to a dead end. About four months after they vanished, four of the five men’s remains were found some 12 miles from the car, with one discovered in a US Forest Service trailer with plenty of food and fuel to keep them alive for months.
Once described as “bizarre as hell,” the case of the Yuba County Five has baffled law enforcement and the families of the missing men for over 45 years. Tony Wright has meticulously researched this case, earning himself the reputation of being one of the foremost authorities on the subject, and his conclusions are likely as close as anyone will come to making sense of this tragedy.