By Lisa Laureta
32-year-old Cassie Alkire was last seen on Saturday afternoon by members of her hiking group. The group was heading back to the trailhead of a heavily trotten trail in Angeles National Forest. The hiking group was primarily made up of other teachers, including many who work beside Alkire at World Citizens Charter School.
Coworker and friend Rachel Donovan said that they were talking about the primaries and, “Cassie just kind of started to mumble. We were all a little concerned, but it didn’t seem completely out of character. She said she’d catch up with us, that she dropped something a couple miles back.”
Her fellow hikers didn’t think much of it until they realized the first grade teacher still hadn’t shown up hours later at their usual post-hike drinking spot. It was at that point the group contacted authorities.
Search groups were sent out immediately and rescuers have reported Alkire found and lost again seven separate times. The most recent spotting was when she mountain-goated down a steep slope as she flipped off a helicopter rescuer rappelling down to her.
According to rescuers, when they’ve attempted to speak with Alkire her reply was consistently, “I’ve turned in my primary ballot, it’s literally all I can do!”
She has also been spotted underneath a small alcove where, according to forest ranger Tom Gupp, she, “Seems to have set up some sort of housing for herself. We watched her through binoculars, drinkin’ from the stream. Seems nice. But they all do from far away.”
Authorities and rescue parties are not the only ones who have found the lost hiker. Other hikers have reported hearing quiet mutterings of, “There’s nothing I can do, there’s nothing I can do...” from behind bushes, and so far one hiker was hospitalized with a bite after getting too close.
In an effort to ensure the safety of others, park rangers have set out on foot and in helicopters with tranquilizer guns in an effort to ensnare Alkire and bring her back to her natural habitat; a shared one bedroom in Los Feliz. Authorities are frustrated at their failed attempts due to the hiker's seemingly supernatural ability to dodge the tranquilizer darts.
“It’s like something out of the Matrix.” reported ranger Clementine Ray.
There’s footage of Alkire from as recently as Tuesday, which came from a hiker’s smartphone video, where she appears to be licking the head of a mountain lion, as if to mimic a mother’s cleaning.
Alkire’s roommate will be holding a candlelight vigil every Saturday until she’s found, or until he can find another roommate. Experts say that with her limited supplies she should be returning shortly, if nothing else then to get some more stuff at the 99 Cent Store. However, it should be mentioned that when left to their own devices, it can be astounding what politically hopeless people are capable of. There’s no telling what this year’s election will do to feral human population counts in forests nationwide, but scientists are predicting an abnormally large incline in numbers.
Alkire was last seen wearing many different animal furs, which is apparently uncharacteristic according to claims that she was a vegan before turning vegetarian after school budget cuts.
If you spot Cassie Alkire in the wild, authorities ask that you remain calm, don’t make any sudden movements, make no attempts to touch her, but rather make note of her location and call Mike Bloomberg.
*The last sentence of the article was sponsored by Mike Bloomberg. Mike Bloomberg: you hear about him a lot, so he must be a great guy.
Image: Montem Outdoor Gear