FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Allyn Atadero emerged from the closet of a basement bedroom decked out in a Poudre River Resort theme, a nod to the place he once owned that now harbors happiness and immense heartache.
Tears welled up as he pulled a toy tank, Oakland Raiders hat, Star Wars toy and the top of his son's skull from a white cardboard box.
"I know it seems weird and some people might not understand, but this is all I have of him,'' said Allyn, now 61, as he pulled the skull fragment from a clear plastic bag. "It’s sad, kind of surreal to think that this is my son.''
Twenty years ago, Allyn Atadero experienced a parent's worst fear when his 3-year-old son, Jaryd, went missing while hiking with a group on the Big South Trail in the Roosevelt National Forest, 60 miles west of Fort Collins.
The perplexing events surrounding Jaryd's Oct. 2, 1999, disappearance set off one of the largest search-and-rescue missions in Larimer County history. The case garnered national and international headlines that created a cult-like following of a mystery that has haunted Allyn for much of the past 20 years.
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