« The Generation Why Podcast

Ben McDaniel - 328


August 18, 2010. Vortex Spring, Florida. Thirty year old Ben McDaniel went scuba diving at Vortex Spring. The spring features a cave that has been mapped to a length of over 1600 feet but is said to be longer than that. Ben should not have been in the cave as only divers with the necessary certification can acquire a key to get past the gate, but after he was discovered to be missing an employee admitted to letting him in. Ben did dive in with his equipment but never came out. At least, no one witnessed him leaving. His truck and some of his possessions remained in his truck that was parked in the lot nearby. Rescue attempts were made but as time went on, some began to doubt that Ben was in the cave. Did Ben fool everyone to start over somewhere else? In the two years prior, he had several substantial setbacks. Could he have taken his own life? Could there have been foul play? A real life mystery, Ben McDaniel's disappearance has everyone wondering, where did he really go?


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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We have a man who dived down into a cave and disappeared either he's for a horrible accident or he fell victim to foul play war. He faked his own death and he's living a luxurious life in some foreign country. Now other options So what are we talking about tonight tonight? We're talking about the mysterious disappearance of Ben mcdaniel. This was August eighteen, twenty two been mcdaniel was diving in the vortex spring, which is near pants daily. On its in florida it was around seven thirty p m. You never seen again, two days later, an employee notices. His truck is in the parking lot untouched. It's locked. The same employ had witnessed
then diving. So everything pointed to Ben had round in this underwater cave that he was going into. scoured all the divers around and they all went to the spring, trying to find his body, but They couldn't recover any body they couldn't find most of his equipment or anything. So that's where we left off is he goes driving into a cave and no one sees him again now vortex spring. That's just sounds kind of ominous to me. What is this place? overtake spring is a popular spot for divers, though anders and it is it's the largest diving facility in florida and its
changed ownership over the years here and there for different reasons. Dv idea about. Why is popular, though one, I think is the shape of it. The vortex has this. Large bowl shape where you dive in at, and it goes pretty deep down at the bottom of that there's a gate You need to have special permission to get past the gay because it gets dangerous because, depending on the depth you go, you might require a different mix of air in your tanks, and you need to understand what to do when things don't go right. Cuz, it's not even a permission. You have to leave your certified diver certificate, license at the front desk to get the key to go to that gate. Certifications are important. It live it. This way you can read a book all day long, but in working, and I t you met people who didn't have hands on experience. They only had book experience
and then they were asked to do certain activities that you probably thought were menial, but then they couldn't perform those duties because lol They knew the concepts, but they didn't know the practice. absolutely I mean I, I looked into getting microsoft certified and a plus certified network plus certified all these different things, but I was already doing the job and running circles around people that were certified and after reading about the licensing from microsoft, it became apparent to me that it was kind of a racket, but one when it's your life on the line. I would hope that you would take some training get certified to dive git certified cave dive, which is a whole other level of diving Ben was an avid diver
he started diving at a young age, but then gave the hobby up for most of his life and then took it up later on that he wasn't a certified. cave diver. Yet there are several certifications he would have needed to get. It doesn't see like money was an issue He seemed to be somewhat successful with his construction business that he owned and then his family seem to support him if he needed money any additional money as well. I guess we should kind of cover bands family a bit to give you some background because it may have an influence and how you look at this case. You know you say kay so someone disappeared, but who were they and the more you know about them. The more you feel like you can make that call. Ben's parents were shelby and patty mcdaniel. He had three brothers, Paul TIM and brad,
now then, and his family suffered a tragedy on September fourteen two thousand eight, when his twenty two, her old brother Paul died, and it was said that, he had died from having multiple folks, at the same time, in both hemispheres of his brain notice, hit been pretty hard because he empower very close. They We used to do mountain, climbing and rock climbing together lots of what I would call out. For the adventurous things. border lining adrenaline, junkie, kind of stuff. They were best friends. So when his brother dies, this is devastating to him after Paul died, Ben and his brother, ten started Paul a mcdaniel stroke in organ donation, research foundation in two thousand nine now I dont know
this exists anymore, but what I do oh, is that Paul was passionate about rock climbing mountain, climbing He would even climb frozen waterfalls at the time he had been attending university, he was majoring in finance, hoping to get into law and, according to his dad, shelby Paul was listed as being in oregon bone and tissue donor and more than eighty people's lives were affected positively because of his donations. That's pretty cool. More of the story is Donnie. You can't do anything with those organs when you die. I think it's pretty incredible. I know I've marked my little boxes on my driver's license, saying I'm an organ donor. If it's against, religion and don't do it but for everyone else go ahead well said it's a good thing, but if you our reading up on this case, you may come across
some information on the internet that says that Paul didn't die of any kind of stroke that he died because of an overdose. Now I haven't been able to find proof of that Just then did you find anything. No, I think, there's somebody, nay my princess buttercup or something that says they saw his autopsy report and he died of a drug overdose. But we can't find his autopsy report and we were going to take the time to do a freedom of information act just to find out how his brother died, because it's not that pertinent to the story. But there is a tie in here, so it
it's either that he died of a stroke or he died of a drug overdose, but the parents and everywhere you look say it was a stroke. So if it really was like they say, a drug overdose, then are the parents shameful about that fact? Are they trying to cover it up? Something to that effect again, I don't want to give this much credence cause, I just believe the parents and how he died or we could leave it as a lot of people. Lives were improved because had donated is organs and his tissue in his bones find the positive in it, but this had a detrimental effect on Ben and the family. And then has a lot of other setbacks of life to Van went through divorce from his wife. they say he also had trouble with his businesses. Construction, business, he'd, hired a guy that decided to create a competitor business,
and he stole all bins, clients, and then it was right at these. two thousand seven, two thousand and eight you no real estate bubble bursting so between that and his employee screwing him over his business, under and then it said he got into a real estate business with somebody, what kind of shady that got him in even more debt on top of his divorce and his construction company going under So he said minimum he was fifty thousand was in debt? Probably more, I heard half a million It was the number that I read so he ends up selling his hat house and if he was in real estate, he had a nice house, so he loses his house or sells it and he pays off a lot of his debt and he has to move back in with his parents
it's it's pretty defeating. The mental state of somebody who has to move back is probably not good but having a supportive family that has to make a difference. But still his family, his parents. They could recognize any needed something more than just moving back home. Sure it's a safety net, but they really wanted him to get back on its feet and Ben seems to be a capable guy right back and so what they do is they arrange to have him move into another house. It they have condo out in florida That sounds pretty awesome, so He gets to have his. Him again and he'll get some time and some money to try and get back on its feet and get his life going, which again, family can do wonders if they support each other and he refines region. Covers his old love of diving, scuba, diving and starts work.
in time and dies at the vortex spring, which is not too far from the congo that Parents are allowing him to stay out, so diving isn't a casual sport mean you're, not in your natural environment anymore, no no a few divers one of em caleb. I had around the peripheral once she's a a diver and she's very experienced, and she Posts at once, and it looks pretty scary and everyone was like yeah- don't think I would want to do that I would be to claustrophobic were I would panic and if you Hannah underwater you die and that's the whole process of learning how to divers to stay, calm, stay cool and don't panic. So I think it's a testament to. ben staying come under pressure. He went through some rough batches, but the fact that he's dead-
again shows that he's getting back on that horse and he's dating. He has a girlfriend by all accounts he's taken care of his debt situation. He sold his house he's been paying his debts down according to his family. it paid it all off or at least garden it too
such a minimal amount that it wasn't anything worth a mention. He also has a dog named spooner who's. His best friend takes care of the dog, hangs out with the dog all the time. His a girlfriend he's getting his life back online. So he had this. I dunno. If you'd call it a trifecta or would have horrible things that happened to him. His brother dies. He loses his company, he gets into real estate. That goes belly up and he gets a divorce. This is a whole list of horrible things that could drive anyone to a deep pit of depression, but he looks where gives the appearance he's pulling himself out of this. Let's go back to the k because then disappeared after you went diving in the cave on august, eighteenth, two thousand ten. Now the divers see Ben at around seven
thirty, but this resort actually close around five to six p m on the summer hours. So this is after hours that been is going down. This cave has been measured, but Let us be clear about this. The measurement just in is what they ve been able to measure, because it goes further back than the number were going to give you by the measure distance, is one thousand six hundred and forty two feet because it's as shelby, says shoving mcdaniel. He said is one way in one way out now there are crevices and he's like that, along the way there larger areas, smaller areas, but literally you go in and you can follow a path all away back. So imagine this is a bull shape spring. That then, is sort of, I guess cylindrical and it just goes down deep
hundreds of feet and then off to one of the sides at the bottom there's this cave. They say that from the entrance point at the top of the vortex to the cave, gate could be almost three hundred feet. Underwater That's crazy, yeah! This isn't for thee amateur! No! So over the course of several months it said that Ben has logged hundreds of dives, my two hundred fifty dives or something this is multiple dies a day. That's what his logbooks
as in now, you can track what they've been doing. They can track what they've been doing. Maybe they're setting personal goals they're just keeping a record, so he goes down on this day. There is a gate, as we said before, to the cave and you're supposed to leave your dive certification at the front desk to get a key to the gate. There's an employ their name Eduardo, I think, is name's, tehran or terrain, and he claims that he's seen Ben go under the gate or jimmy his way through the gate to get into the cave So, on this day at borders, driving around in the vortex with another diver, he sees been going to the cave gate and instead
deterring him more telling him hey. I know what you been up to what is at war. It oh do form. I had wired o unlocks the gate, for him some through because he feels like Ben could get stuck on the gate. Somehow, if he's trying to cheat through there So he's he's just going to let him in because he At safer When I get in there any ways or something to that effect right that there's a The reason why they have that policy, because, if you're not cave dive certified then you probably don't belong in the cave yeah, you should just stick to the the spring part. There's this. You know before the cave, there's a a sign at the entrance of the cave with the grim reaper on it saying don't go any further, it's not worth it. The sign that you're talking about says this, stop prevent your death. Go no further. More than three hundred divers include
An open water, scuba instructors have died in caves. Just like this one fact you needed training to dive. You need cave training and cave equipment to cave dive fact without cave training and cave equipment divers can die here fact it can happen to you. There's nothing in this cave worth dying for do now go beyond this point. I don't know how much more clear they could make it, but apparently Eduardo thought. Well all does let him go, and this cave in this reaper is creepy because, the reaper is standing there holding a size and has a finger. That's beckoning! You forward with these dead divers below him. It's kind of metal yeah that could be a metal t, shirt. if you're in adrenaline junkie, and no going into the cave is way more
citing away more dangerous and you think you can handle it. That's where you want to be this, the signs going to be enticing not warning everything if you're at that gate, everything behind you probably feel like a kitty pool if you're looking for adventure. So what we do know is that, according to Eduardo, he let Ben pass the gate, even though that's breaking policy and the state of Florida had been considering banning cave diving because of the deaths. I understand that there is a debate about that, because there are divers who know what they're doing who are certified and should have that right, and you also hate to tell people can't do something, but it's like anything else. If you know they, your odds aren't good, then maybe you need to have some regulation on that. I look at cave, diving and I think
If this is a hobby, you want to do, even though it's super dangerous. I kind of like riding a motorcycle. It's super dangerous, but if you want to do it, you can do it. You know when I think of an air show. Those are super dangerous and you can have a huge jet flying into a crowd or a building. Maybe we should ban. Airshow has not diverse sooner right and so vortex spring has their own policy. So they regulate themselves right. But if and employ is letting some one pass the gate, even though their not qualified and their opening themselves up to a lawsuit. Potentially they just put somebody's life in danger right, so it's not even get. The government involved is just if you business. You think you'd be see why yeah sometimes at Otto would wait and just look for the bubbles of guys,
Is that where d compressing just so, he knew hey they're going to come up now I can go well. This was after hours. I wonder if Eduardo was thinking They can do it every once, I'm off shift see later by nobody waited for Ben that day. So he goes into the cave. We have two days later Eduardo notices truck park in the parking lot and it hasn't moved still locked. They essentially call the police to report a missing person de homes, county sheriff department shows up again access to his truck, they find his wallet with a large sum of money in it was like almost seven hundred dollars they find his iD in all the stuff. In his truck that looks like somebody was planning, they come back.
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investigators pull security, camera footage from the resort they find the cctv footage of been walking from his truck over to the vortex is not enough We pointed at the vortex. It's the the security cameras seemed to be more pointed just outward or on the buildings to protect the property, but not to protect the vortex. So that shows been in the vortex doesn't show him leaving the vortex did the police pole single day for the next month. I know well now I had footage of him getting air for some of this tanks. Multiple divers from vortex brings, they say, hey will go down to the cave, will look form so they start doing dies down to the cave. The surest parliament.
notifies the family, hey nobody senior son for two days and his truck was found at vortex springs and that's when the family goes to the condo, because they know that he was taking care of schooner his dog at the condo find spooner drink, all our water and ate all her food, but he left spooner. So this is obviously he's met. Some sort of fate in this cave at the bottom of vortex springs and all they have to do is just go, find them and pull his body up, and this is a terrible tragedy, but you know, will move forward while they do have looking for Ben and they found three things pretty quickly. Didn't they they found. Decompression takes oxygen tanks that you use to decompress, while your surfacing, because you can't just dive down-
and then just come up because you'll get the bends because of the concentrated nitrogen in your bloodstream. So you have to stagger yourself as you rise with these decompression tanks. Now it said that one was full And the other two were half full. There is so a difference in the tanks, though wasn't there like one of the tanks, clearly had his name and information on it, but then the two other air tanks that were found. What do you know about these tanks? Its claim that there, his is just claim that these were the ones he was using But psych his family would know what tanks belonged to him were, assuming that he took three decompression tanks down with them
the investigators think. Why would you take two half full tanks down? There's some debate about this so. These tanks even belong to him also do you need a full tank to decompress? Not really you're better off with a full tank in case something goes wrong, but you don't need probably a lot of scuba divers out their screaming right now, but you need to do pressed for a certain amount of time in a full tank has more than ample amount of for you, but if you just compressing, Hafela probably would work So there's a lot of debate about why the tanks would be found where they were found and a lot of people can. makes sense, though the placement, but.
It's weird on one hand, everybody wants to criticize Ben for being, you know, maybe not the best diver but then there is saying, but why would he do this. or maybe he has his own system- that maybe you don't get that perhaps it works for him and maybe all through the tanks were full and some other diver I came across them and use them as their own decompression tanks. You know- or maybe they use them, and that's why they're half full of now, the question of did they even belong to Ben will that will come up a little bit see. I find it strange that when the school divers are going down. Looking for Ben, they notice at the gate is unlocks still.
This gate is supposed to be locked. This means that if he disappeared on that wednesday, that it wasn't until friday that anybody checked the gate well, they wouldn't have locked the gate behind them and maybe just nobody dived down. to do the cave dive, but I would just assume that they would have gone down because even if they let him in and he left on his own, they would want to lock that behind them being that it was unlocked. Well, if you unlock the gate for one person or one person unlocks, it doesn't get locked again, then the whole time that diving in their anybody, can come along and dive in the cave seems like an hour it it's not a very good system. No, I will not disagree with you there. did your does letting people into the cave and leaving the gate a marked for days than what's the point of the gate obviously,
Cape diving is dangerous and even sending die. Those who know what they're doing there is risk and they dive or it seems like thirty six days off and on looking for and looking for any sign of Ben remember. If he's got tanks with him, maybe they could find a tank or they could find a thin yeah. They could find something some evidence that he was even there, but they don't so. After almost a month of experienced drivers at work at vortex spring, they are not finding him, so they start calling in the big guns and bends family. Is why some sort of closure wanting to know that something than wanting to know. where their son is and give him a proper burial and also the not knowing they need an answer.
So, as you go deeper into this cave, it can get tighter and tighter. In fact, at as each restriction is come to in this dive, especially by the fourth one it gets down to eight hundred and ten in in height, be kind of a tight fit, and so you'll have to maneuver your tanks from your back to your sides. So a restriction is essentially a small opening or a where the cave is just not easily passable. So you can't just go with a tank on your back because your you know twenty to thirty inches wide, so you have to take your tanks off and then shove the through the whole, hopefully with your respirator still in your mouth and then go through on your own and then pick up your tanks and drag him along or put him back on your back to continue down into this cave. Meanwhile theirs.
sand or whether call silt on the floor of the cave, as your turning that up? It's called a silt out and you can go blind like you. Just have no this, ability whatsoever and you get turned around you dont know which weighs up and you're in a cave in the dark. This sounds like one of those. Claustrophobic inducing horrible nightmares. One could do, but if you're into it cool, so Ben Mcdaniel, not a small guy he's probably about my size, he's six one over two hundred pounds, yeah up to two hundred and fifty pounds, big guy, so these restrictions he absolutely would have to take off most of his gear to get through where there is a will, there is a way right in some of the d, members are saying: well, if you don't have cave guiding experience, then how would you know to do this? I'm thinking it's not rocket science
you want to go through the small hole you take off your equipment and you go through the whole. Now is their training to do this properly. So lately is their training to do this, so it's not as dangerous. I'm there is. But, like you said, there is a will. There is way the homes county sheriff's office. They did probably the smart thing right if something really dangerous send a robot and so they send in an hour of ie, and they take that into the cave, but In summary, it sounds like it's going to solve. This whole thing was ended, an r o b and you'll, find evidence a ban, and then we can report back. We'll know what happened, but. taking this, are we in to the vortex spring? It it didn't work out like they hoped woe it's tethered to a cable again. This cave is hundreds of feet down.
You have hundreds of feet of cable and I'm assuming that this cables a little bit beef year than say a co acts cable like on the back your tv, so it weighs hundreds of hounds in this little submersible you can go. Maybe ten twenty feet down. Maybe a hundred feet down with this cable and as long as you're in a open area, it's great, but once you're getting around these small nooks and crannies in this cables, getting hung up on rocks its little engines, its little propellers can't really pull the weight of this cable, so the divers are having to feed the cable to it. The cable goes taught it spends the submersible around it gets stuck, and now it's sorting out it can't see anything. It's a fail. I'd rather, this cord is to thank. Ten feet long. So I can only imagine having to deal with this
as a diver, where you're having to be turned about your own oxygen and you're going into through these restrictions. So this is no easy task and, according to the sheriff's office, they ve net. Taken in our over ye. Into an underwater cave before so this is this all new to them, so the divers have sort of done something like this before this is no easy feet and they're doing this week as there is concern for Ben mcdaniel. Where is he and they're doing the best they can for the family in the family? Help make this happened because they said we understand this underwater, our avi camera set up costs. Fifty four thousand dollars will pay you back if its damaged, but
some point. The divers you're saying you know what we ve tried, but this is becoming unfeasible. They bring in a very experienced diver on august twenty third, his name is ed Sorenson. He has over twenty five hundred dives and was The go to for recovery, divers in florida, Andy owns a dive shop, name cave adventures. He thinks well I'm going to go in here, I'll go past where everyone else has gone. He says that he goes two hundred feet passed the point where the official map ends so there's more. of this cave and only go so far- and this is like you still being discussed word or something like that at the end of this map, and he says he goes to energy pass. That now add is six foot a hundred nine,
he pounds so he's a little smaller than Ben, but he's going through. his cave and he hits these restrictions and he's like I I can't fit through there. I don't know how bin would fit through there. It should be said because you- and I talked about this- that Ed can have his opinion and he has his experience and he'll say I can't go through this part here. That's not say that Ben maybe feeling like I'm going to conquer this restriction. What have you? That's? Not to say he wouldn't try it I'm sure he would it's one tunnel, so you would think that there would be markings
it'd be some. Some sort of evidence that Ben had been through here and according to ed is no scuff marks on the limestone there's. No, it doesn't look like it's been passed through, but ed is doing this over a month later or so thing settle. I don't know if you would actually see any the scuff marks. I don't know if you'd actually find any of these things at he's describing yeah. I don't know how he would know for sure so between Sorenson in this hour of the experiment. There are really no closer to knowing happened to bend mcdaniel, except for edson, nonsense of the opinion that bans not in the cave- I've, never
I've never gone on a dive to recover a body and not recovered the body, so I don't think he's in there. The other thing that the ad did was. He read the logbook of bends and in the book Ben had been mapping for tech spring the cave system and according to ed- and this is edward, two ds by the way, if you're searching for it, he said that the map that then was drawing is an accurate, in fact, is nothing like the actual caves system. So he doesn't even believe that bennet ever been that deep. the cave system. He said there was like a left turn or something that Ben had drawn and where that places in the cave, its wall there's no turn their there's. Nothing
no. If he really emphasizes that it doesn't match at all or if you just says that there's discrepancies between the two, but then that brings into question: what was been mapping. Was he mapping it correctly or all these logs he's been keeping accurate at, doesn't think so. Once again, people are criticised Ben saying yeah he's a diver reason I cave diver and then well, his young matt maker, in other words, people might be reading too much into this. In fact, I go so far as to say, let's just say that ben made it up. Let's say he had never been that deep Does it mean he doesn't try this time right? It's not proof it. He won't do it any hasn't done at this time. That's that's where I mad. I think that if, if you truly were
as going under this gate to get into this cave, while he was doing it and according to Waldo he'd been doing it, he had done it several times, so he's a determined guy and speaking of determined, shelby and patty bends parents they are not giving up, they put a reward out for ten thousand dollars and ed had Sorenson. He thinks sets a dangerous thing. He thinks that you're putting a pie gold at the end of a dangerous cave. So he really is against this reward money that the parents are putting out. What else did the parents do? Will the parents also hired a man named Steve king to look for Ben and keen in two thousand three was the guy that laid the line, the dive line they extended into the cave
Here that making seven dives to search for Ben and even went past, the fifth restriction were ed, says you can't get past again. Is you know? I don't know? how big steve keen is maybe he's smaller me. The air is just so experienced. He says I know where I'm not gonna go I know where no one should go that isn't me no one will it means some people will we talked about. that you say someone can't do something someone will say hold my beer and they'll be then they'll be trying it in speaking of the fifth restriction. This is really where shall be believes ban is, he believes, he's pass that point, And that's why no one's found his son is because he so deep in their debt. No one's willing to go there to get him, and even if he is there, he could be buried
member of the cell, the sand it can get stirred up. move around. It can rise and it can lower depending on conditions, but but it doesn't think he's back there and it does have compelling reasons. He says that its there's no evidence that a divers been back. Far because there's no scuff marks, there's no prince in the sill ter. Anything like that. He says that There was no sign of fish or any Their animals swarming back their essentially to eat on the decaying body, and she gives another grim detail of when you're done water. You can taste the decay in your respirator and he says he didn't detect anything that he didn't see any fish and he didn't see any scuff marks but steve keen as a detail. That, I think, is the reason why shelby mcdaniel
please at his son is back their past that fit restriction, and that is he said it appeared as if there may have been a cave in their where if it had actually collapsed, and so he thinks if Ben had made it past that point he would never been able to turn around even when he possibly caused the cave. If he was struggling or hit some rocks with his equipment and they were just loose, you know who knows most of you know. I've been an audible subscriber for like a decade now, audible offers an incredible selection. audio books across every genre. I personally love the audible originals. They have everything from top celebrities. Down experts and as an audible member, I get access to a growing selection of audio books, the originals podcast, it's all included in my membership I get one title a month to keep and I get to hear exclusive podcast that I can't find anywhere else. I just
But the audio book, anti social about online extremism, techno utopians and the hijacking of the american conversation. audible, hope you discover new ways to laugh, be inspired or be entertained. New members contrived for free for thirty days does audible dot com, slash gaeta, BP were text gaeta, BP, two five hundred five hundred, that's audible, dot com, slash cheetah, BP or text gaeta BP, two five hundred five hundred to try audible, free for thirty days, audible, dot, com, slash gaeta beauty in august twenty twelve. Your highness and robert Mc Helen had made a documentary where they went into the cave and film the whole thing on their video. They come across a shovel. That's towards the fifth restricts,
and none of the other divers had found a shovel according to bins parents. He took a shovel with them in the shovel, looks like a trenching tool. So they're, like oh, my gosh, that's been shovel, nobody else had found, it there was, the tv show came out is called disappeared. I watched it pretty interesting and they mentioned the shovel, and this gave the parents hope of well known. I also found the shovel, so that means been got that far back and he got stuck, but not everything is what it appears, so Heiner them excel Then there are married couple. They make documentaries, they became fastening, This case this whole with the shovel seem like a lead until it was discovered that steve keen the diver had actually dropped the shovel. It was his and it's so dangerous in the back of his cave, that he didn't go by
for he just left it. This shovel was actually left in two thousand three, so it had been there long time in it, it's really telling, because it shows you that most people never go that far back this area right before the fifth restriction is known as the trash room. So we already, we already talked about how dangerous. It is and how Ed Sorenson was concerned that a ten thousand I'll reward might be. Like you said, a pot of gold at the end of this cave system, People really shouldn't be diving through unless they're certified and experienced, but in two thousand twelve a diver died in the cave. He got stuck in the fourth restriction and drowned, and the rumors were that he was looking for Ben. He that money now word came out later that I think of his according to his wife that he was
Actually, looking for Ben, but that story still took- and I think a lot of people to this probably still believe that this man wary higginbotham died looking for ban, but according to his wife, he was not looking for better, Yeah, and by that time it had actually gone up to a thirty thousand dollars. Reward. It did cause them again animals to withdraw their reward, because the idea that might cause someone else to lose their son, their husband, their father, was horrific to them, so his parents and his family, they are left with more questions. This system has been explored. Many divers of through very experienced divers have gone as far as they can, and I think there e relying on sea king. I think they believe that the possibility of a cave
is why no one's ever found the body of their son and, if you think about it, they brought in at one point cadaver dogs to look for Ben, because what if it was foul play, justin right yeah if he died and or somebody murdered him something to that effect, and then they drug his body away. While the dogs they picked up a scent, didn't they soon after his disappearance and then a month after they picked it up again, the dogs are picking it around the spring on the shore line, essentially This is a large property, but the dogs they're not picking up the scent anywhere else. So the idea is, if you trust the dogs that then didn't leave. This brings at least he wasn't dragged out of there, but you know we're talking about this before If someone wrist heave them,
the water and right into a truck or something. Oh, let's get into the theory of foul play. Then I guess weaken. We can look at it two ways: somebody murdered Ben and then disposed of his body, which I don't know why anyone would murder him. I don't know why anyone would have anything against him so kind of set that aside, and whatever the let's assume that eduardo led him into the cave and then been died in the cave will now vortex spring is liable there on the hook for this death. So is it possible that then met an accident and then the employees or somebody decided to get rid of his body to cover themselves, so that would still be foul play. Maybe they took his body up to.
Surface backed a truck up to the shoreline lifted him up into the back. The truck and left the dogs would still hit on the shore line they wouldn't go chasing down the road or anything. Also, these are cadaver docks, so they're, only picking up on decay really not specifically bends sent so they tested water for decay, they found that there were particles. Molecules over that were present, but they couldn't distinguish if they were human or animal bihar creatures down. There are fish to me it's so it's very plausible hat. He died and Eduardo, or somebody like we re, can't take this head. There is a lot of speculation out there on the internet about this
even one of the past owners of vortex spring had died, what they call a mysterious death The story of Lowell kelly is pretty interesting because at the time he had owned vortex spring, he had also gotten in some trouble. He had allegedly kidnapped and beat and employ what had happened was his employ was accused of stealing thirty thousand dollars. But Lowell didn't just come out and confront him about it. He said hey jump in my vehicle. We're gonna go look at a job and well and drive into a remote location they got out and he went in retreat. a baseball bat from the truck, and then he beat him with it. So he was charged with aggravated battery and released on bond.
He ended up dying later. What people say was he fell from a balcony at a party and he died from his injuries. That dozens of very mysterious its mysterious, because there are people who of course jumped to oh well. He had attacked and employ probably try to kill him and now he's mysteriously died. and so it was a goal. Maybe he knew something about bends death here if you touch anything if you're into any kind of illegal business at all. Now people can jump to all sorts of conclusions. They can connect all those dots and come up with that, but It's just a random occurrence that happened that people are connecting to vortex the thing he's in this case are then ran away. Now he couldn't take it, but we are
went over that it doesnt seem likely because he had taken care of most. If not all, of this debt, and His family was helping to support him and he was back on its feet. It seem like and he was dating. He had a girlfriend. And he was also exploring his passion of diving. He left his dog schooner at his place and he had me he had, I guess, twenty thousand dollars in his bank count and yet about eleven hundred in his truck. This is a guy who was falling apart financially more and it wasn't. It. I who didn't have relationships. He had people around him it's not safe, not depressed, but I believe his parents, I believe from the evidence that I dont think he's running away. I don't use faking this owen. His bank accounts have been monitored. His phone activities been monitored. The money in his truck like why, wouldn't you take them,
ass. Nobody knew that cash existed. He could just asked his parents girlfriend hey. Can you look? Can you take care of spoon or for me this weekend, aright thanks, but he didn't. If he's planning this elaborate hoax of his own death, he could have done. Some bare minimum thing suggest tie up some loose ends. That would not have been that suspicious this also foul play or an accident. I guess this comes down to. How do you feel about Eduardo? I mean he broke policy By letting Ben pass the gate- and he didn't have to now I haven't been there either of you, but when I look at the gate, and there videos of it looks like it's chained and locked, but according to Eduardo. It was happening, then, was getting past it. We do have bends log book,
showing that he's been in the cave system. There we know he's not hey certified. Just in so eduardo. Let him in once. Where did he let him in every time you know, sorry to think that maybe Eduardo was letting him in every time ages. It's you like he's, trying to sort of cover his bite, but he's also put himself at risk. What's to say that the mcdaniels don't sue him or sue vortex sprang and say: look you respond to keep people like Van out of there, but I think since they haven't I'm guessing here, but my speculation is that they haven't thing about it simply because they understood bans, passion for diving and they wanted him to do what he loved. This is support and I think if they went ensue, for tat spring. Maybe that's breaking that support somehow were they dont have about?
so they're not sure that they could actually sue, because they can't prove that he died in this cave yeah? That's that's true, but we do know that shelby believes that Ben is in that cave system. So let's talk about that. Is he crammed away in some crevice in the very back of this case system beyond and all the restrictions at any one else could get through according to Ed there's no way the hour of eden, fight.
There is no sign of any one getting back that far. He didn't taste any decay and his respirator and there weren't any fish swarming back there. I get that an eye for the most part agree with his analysis, but if been Mcdaniel got way far back beyond, where any one else could get too well, you know you're not going to see the fish swarming. They might be going back there, but you're unable to see this feeding frenzy notes kind of gross. He didn't tasted decay in his respirator it. This vortex spring, is constantly being fed by an underground, for the water is constantly churning. So it's always fresh water. It's not stagnant water, so he's coming in a month later, maybe he's not tasting it
the place is so big. Are you going to be able to taste that pointing to Ed? Yes, I'm thinking? Maybe not. I think it has point. I think it only works. If then was stuck in a crevice. If you believe what steve keen said and he suspects there might have been a cave in at the very end back there. I think, of your buried under all that sand, and so I dont think you would notice anything we don't know how much sand and silt landed on him if he was back there he could be buried and no one would know anything because they can't go back there anyway. I think as possible, that
and could have gone further than most it. This is going off of. I dont believe somebody disposed of his body and I dont believe that he's off sitting on some beach drinking pina calot as living this other life. So I have to go with this was an accident or we could even go with. He knew he wasn't coming back, People can make decisions moments before they are gone. They can make a decision of you know what I'm just gonna keep pushing or even though I know I don't have enough air anymore, would The situation is remember those air tanks, we're talking about two of them were different than the third, so it's speculate,
that it warder were one of the employees faked these air tanks, or at least two of them. I planted them now to show that he was planning on coming back any just, didn't and then they just figured or no one stupid enough or daring enough to go back. That far in the cave to question are our motives here to question whether or not there was foul play involved them again. Family had hired an investigator to look into this. His finding was that Ben Mcdaniel met foul play. a and was removed from the spring and buried on the property somewhere. I think they said it's an eight hundred acre property, so sizeable property, but shelby despite hiring this guy doesn't believe it. No. He he still believes that Ben is at the back of the case.
If stock somewhere. So if you go at the foul play angle or somebody disposed of his body, sure they could lifted his body onto a truck and then driven anywhere on this property or turn anywhere in florida for that matter, and dumped Ben and the dogs wouldn't have hit on that because he has put in a car and driven away So again you can speculate how you want here, but it's some weird db, cooper, stefon, you say oh Ben faked his own death and is off on his own doing something else when he had so many ties said had such a strong family structure, the other thing is: there's that tion of his brother that passed away
He says he died of a stroke, but then there's this internet rumour, and I want to emphasise that internet rumour his I haven't, seen the autopsy report that his brother died of an overdose and his family and his parents are miss reporting that were lying. So would they in turn lie for and if he took off and started a new life or something I don't know how that logic works. But this is the the internet talking and I'm just trying to convey what the theory is neither so many ways you could run with that, but I think in it like this, it's better to keep it simple. We know best went into the vortex and we know he and- tended to go into the cave. Beyond that, we don't know a lot and we were trusted. the word of the divers
gone down, there were trusting the employees who said that they saw then and their reporting things based on what they said they saw, but they witnessed. I do have my doubts about eduardo about these employees, because I don't really believe that he only let him in one time, I'm just going to say that I don't believe it was one time you know ed Sorenson can say now the map Ben drew wasn't accurate if there are problems with it. Whatever he's gonna matchmaker, you know, so I believe Ben was probably going back in there and he decided push himself further. That's what people like Ben, like his brother, Paul, that's what Do they dont settle for you have done, is for me to do it again. Now they ramping up right. So they push further to me if there really was a cave in
I think that's the only thing that really explains why we haven't found Ben unless he died in their hand. someone removed his body and they carried him off. But that to me seems more difficult, because now people have to be quite, and we're talking about at least two to three people who would know about this, just based on who was there and what was going on
No easiest explanation is that he went into the cave and didn't come out right, yeah, and I I just I hate it when people say. Oh, that's some! That thing is impossible. I you know. Unless it's pigs flying I'm like, I think people can put themselves in a really bad situation. You don't have to be a certified cave diver to know enough to be dangerous, and if Ben's not at the back of the cave, then I have to go with the foul play angle or at least a cover up of sorts. I get the foul play angle from the fat from just from the point that they don't want negative publicity there. I get that by it. Judging by the way things went down if it didn't seem as though anyone felt that Eduardo had done anything like that. I just
still am fascinated by the fact that he broke policy and it doesn't to be a big talking point with this case and even the family doesn't seem to hold him liable right. they had some sort of a marker with you know for Ben and Eduardo swam it down. He drove it down and placed it down there they're working together. Essentially did I mean it's like this- is for Ben and Eduardo like yeah I'll take her. That, but really he should not have done when he did now. As you say, earlier, though there is this idea that people should be free to make their own. he'll, be decisions and Ben wrist himself, but as no when you risk yourself and you disappear or something happens and you need help now. Other people are at risk, but not everybody's worry about that kind of stuff. In the moment
So can we really blame ban and say well if he rested south an ice risking always divers- oh he's, not thinking about the other divers, but if he risks himself that will impact as family something terrible happens. That should be acknowledged at least. If we haven't mention that been wasn't certified enough. During this episode, I've just said one more time. Sadly, the inner abs out there, people bash on Ben for doing this and not being certified, which I get it yeah. You do something stupid or you're, putting your life and danger, but I just feel like his parents are out there reading these things be nice. If we can't feel any empathy for anyone any more than what's to stop us every time
If somebody dies in a you know a daredevil on t v or an astronaut burns up in the atmosphere. It's like! Oh don't do that and you don't die so I think people are a little a little harsh about been out there. The guy was pretty much self taught for the most part. I couldn't do that you, I think the empathy angles important but is it should still be said? If you're going to be diving at all, you need certification and really what that says is don't just read a book. You need to work with an instructor. You need to get your feet wet after Ben Mcdaniel disappeared. His parents shall be an patty prepared, Paul's grave site. So they could very ban over his brother, so Paul was reinterred deeper into that grave and then later
his parents held a memorial for Ben and they buried a suitcase full. of mementos and notes where Paul was buried now they dont have bans body, but in june of two thousand thirteen, they received Ben's death certificate from the state of florida. two further illustrate just the current young, the kind of grief that his parents have been through and continue to experience. It is said that they keep both Paul's, and Ben's places where they were at when they died? You know like where they were staying, just as they were, because their sons are gone frozen in time, they're frozen in time.
it feels like we're living in the golden age of scammers, from Anna delve ii to the tender swindler. These stories are almost impossible to believe their amateurs. Next october, sickly from wonderingly and pineapple street studios comes the new true crime, podcast persona, the french deception, the untold story of one of the greatest criminals of the twenty first century, a man who caused the world's most powerful billionaires corporations, corporations and even religious leaders out of hundreds of millions of dollars. They all thought were were smart enough spot a con, but they had no idea today, dealing with. Do you hear the full story? Follow persona the french deception, wherever you get your pike ass or you can listen early on amazon, music for early and ad free by subscribing to wondering, plus it apple pod gas, for the wonder, YAP.
Transcript generated on 2022-07-09.