Dateline   |  January 01, 1910

‘Miles From Nowhere’ part 1

Deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a family's idyllic vacation home is threatened when an unknown car enters their property in the dead of the night.  

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> it looked so innocent now, closed up, dead quiet, empty here at the end of the 100-yard dirt track that snakes off this lonely country road deep in the sierra nevada . but this was not how it was or was ever meant to be. no. before it happened, before that summer night in july, 2011 , this was, well, let them tell it.

>> a magical place.

>> awesome.

>> it's fun.

>> we would do a snowball fight . and then we would come inside and eat and have some hot coco a.

>> these are the children. darylin and georgia and little gregory. mostly they lived in reno, nevada, but this at the end of a two-hour drive into the woods was the applies they lived.

>> we'd go on hikes and there was like a lake that was very close.

>> we'd fish.

>> we'd fish and go up there and fish and swim. it was awesome. here they discovered a world far more magical than any city could ever be. it was their father's cabin, really. chad wallin reed. chad's grandparents built the cabin in the '70s when he was just a baby.

>> my children were definitely, daddy, we love the place. they've all grown up, diapers, all the way through going up there, fishing, boating, you know, swimming.

>> mind you, this was truly remote. their only electricity came from a generator. there was no cell phone service, no phone at all, which was just fine with chad's wife, carrie .

>> it was very enjoyable to be away from the phones and traffic and, you know, work.

>> yes.

>> this is where chad taught his children how to exist in the natural world , how to catch a fish, swim in a mountain lake , feel safe in the dark.

>> he's an amazing father. he loves his children so much. he's my best buddy.

>> he's really funny. he's really loving. he likes people to laugh a lot.

>> the children saw the world and certainly their retreat here in the country as a safe place for them just as it should be. and keeping it that way was chad's particular preoccupation. chad worried a lot about safety, about security, which may have come in part at least from his time in the military. he was, he said, an army ranger , one of the elite few. like a lot of vets, he seemed to carry some baggage.

>> there are just some things i'd rather not talk about and things that i've tried to get over.

>> carrie didn't pry. let him deal with it his own way.

>> between himself and the lord. he loves this country, you know, he fought for his freedom. that means a lot to him.

>> and now, between the children and whatever was out there in the woods, the nearest sheriff's office just an hour's drive away . had to be your own policeman. that was how you felt.

>> yes. we had to protect ourselves. there was nobody out there to protect us.

>> out here, that was no idle worry. break-ins are not uncommon in the isolated cabins out here in the wilderness. and there?

>> the cabin has been broken in numerous times.

>> one of the most recent ones somebody just pretty much ransacked the whole place.

>> there is something very invasive about that, too, when somebody goes into property that's yours and takes something of yours.

>> it is. it's not just invasive. it robs you of security.

>> security was why he gave carrie a revolver and taught her to use it and stocked the cabin with guns. one a lot like his military weapon. security and pleasure. what is the attraction of those?

>> i think just the fun of shooting them. it's just, you know, being able to put in a 30-round magazine and set up a target and just go at it.

>> chad planted signs at the edge of his property, out by the road. stern warnings to would-be vandals and thieves. and he watched vigilant, didn't rest easy, especially because one of those break-ins had been just that very year.

>> if he did fall asleep it was very lightly and every noise would wake you up. very easily.

>> then the 4th of july weekend, 2011 , they were joined by some friends who set up a little camp site on the property near the road.

>> just enjoying each other's company, hanging out.

>> early on saturday morning at 2:00 a.m . chad was jolted awake.

>> all of a sudden i heard all this yelling and commotion and sounded like somebody was fighting. i looked out and i saw this spotlight being shined all over the place. i was like, what the heck is going on? then i walk out and as i'm looking down, this car goes speeding away.

>> chad hopped in his truck, drove to the end of the driveway.

>> that's when i noticed one of the solar lights had been taken.

>> a solar light , one of several attached to metal poles marking the edge of the property, a cheap item, but, still. why would somebody want one of those?

>> i don't know.

>> when morning came, chad inspected his friend's camp site near the bottom of the property. are those foot prints of strangers around their trailer?

>> it put us all on edge, you know, basically high alert.

>> the commotion, the stolen light, the foot prints of people who had no business being there, the children picked up the anxiety.

>> i remember asking my dad and mom, what are you going to do if they come back and what would happen if somebody got hurt?

>> when it's your children and they're scared like that and insecure, you as a parent have failed, you know, and that's how i felt as a father, as a person that is supposed to protect your family. all they could do was offer words. honey, if they come back daddy will protect you. daddy will take care of it.

>> a promise he intended to