Inside The Chilling Disappearance Of The Yuba County Five

By Sarah Norman | September 6, 2023

The Yuba County Five - California's Greatest Mystery

In the dimly lit and fog-enshrouded annals of mysterious disappearances, the case of the Yuba County 5 stands out as one that can send a chill down the spine of even the most hardened investigator. Let's go back in time to 1978, in a remote region of Northern California in 1978 - which is when and where this unnerving occurrence unfolded.

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(Twitter/Generation Why Podcast)

On February 24, 1978, five friends – Gary Mathias, Jack Madruga, Jack Huett, Theodore Weiher, and William Sterling – set off to a basketball game in Chico, California. They were all part of a special education project and were described as having mild mental or psychiatric disabilities.

That night, after attending the game, the men stopped at a local convenience store to buy snacks. This would be the last confirmed sighting of them alive. What happened next remains a tale of confusion and fear, woven with inexplicable events and unsettling discoveries.

The Background

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The Yuba County Five were five friends from Yuba City and Marysville, California, most of whom were  part of a program for men with various mental disabilities, and all played basketball together at the Yuba City Vocational Rehabilitation Center on a team called "The Gateway Gators". All of the five men lived with their families - who affectionally referred to the group as "The Boys", but   with the exception of Gary Mathias, who suffered from schizophrenia but was not developmentally disabled.