New Netflix series explores the mysterious ‘Murder Mountain’ where hundreds go missing each year
For anyone with a penchant for true crime documentaries, Netflix is a goldmine of entertainment. It's got hit series such as Making a Murderer, binge-worthy case studies in the form of Forensic Files, and literally hundreds of one-off investigations into specific crimes or offenders. And now it's added one more show to its collection: Murder Mountain.
"In Humboldt County, California, the big business of legal marijuana brings in visitors from around the world. Some are never seen again," the series description teases.
The documentary speaks of the disappearances of hundreds of people in the area, but follows one particular mystery: the case of Garret Rodriguez, a 29-year-old cannabis grower who was murdered in the region in 2013.
The name "Murder Mountain" comes from a serial-killing couple, James and Suzan Carson, who lived in the area in the 1980s. Their first murder took place in San Francisco, but they fled to Humboldt County (the real name of the "Murder Mountain" region) in order to evade capture. They were eventually caught in 1983, however, and the name stuck.
But this wasn't the only crime to be associated with the area. Since 1977, 35 people have remained missing in the area. A mix of men and women, the youngest disappearance victim was just a year old, while the oldest was 94. Some of the group, dubbed the The Humboldt 35, are suspected to have been victims of the same serial killer, whereas the circumstances of other disappearances remain a total mystery.
Despite it's legitimately creepy past, though, the show has come under fire for sensationalising the story of the area.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office have claimed that the producers relied on "unofficial and biased sources" in order to change the narrative of the show, and claim that the premise of the documentary was changed after filming started.
"The original plot line of this series, as presented to the Sheriff's Office upon consideration of our participation, was to examine the changes in the county as a result of marijuana legalization, highlight the challenges of law enforcement in rural jurisdictions, and present a historic comparison of the county's 'green rush' and timber rushes," said the Sheriff's Department. "At some point during their time in Humboldt County, the producers of 'Murder Mountain' decided to change the scope of the series to focus on the ongoing homicide investigation of Garret Rodriguez."
Law enforcement have also argued that, though "Murder Mountain" is an area in which hundreds go missing, it's also true that most of those hundreds are found again. Indeed, while Humboldt County has the highest per-capita missing persons rate in California, it also has the highest per-capita rate of found people in the state.
The filmmaker, Josh Zeman, is aware of this, too, and said to Rolling Stone that Humboldt is "a place where people love to go off the grid."
If you want to decide for yourself what you think is going on with Murder Mountain, the series is available to stream now.