The bodies of three family members who wanted to live off the grid have been discovered, posing many questions about when led to their tragic deaths. On July 25, authorities were alerted that the mummified remains of 41-year-old Christine Vance, her 42-year-old sister Rebecca Vance, and her 14-year-old son were found in the Gunnison National Forest in Colorado. Led by Rebecca in hopes of providing a better life for her young son, the family ventured out deep into the woods to start anew away from civilization. Minimal research was done, with the trio only watching wilderness survival videos on YouTube in preparation for their excursion.
The pristine Rocky Mountains seemed like the perfect place for Rebecca and her loved ones to live. Amid growing concerns about the state of the world, the mother was determined to raise her son away from all of the chaos and turmoil. After deciding that living off the grid was their only option, Rebecca set out into the forest. It is believed that her sister had reservations about living off the grid but she thought their chances of survival would increase if she joined the journey.
Other members of Vance’s family became privy to their plans to live off the grid and tried to stop them, but Rebecca was steadfast in her decision that would ultimately result in her demise. Autopsies are still underway, but officials are confident that harsh winter weather conditions, starvation, and carbon monoxide poisoning are all likely factors in their deaths. The scene where they were discovered also indicated that the family was burning common items like soup cans inside their tent, which could become toxic when inhaled.
While Rebecca was a single mom with few friends who dreamt about living in the woods, she was not particularly knowledgeable of the outdoors. Christine was an extrovert who was more confident in her ability to survive the wild. But it was Rebecca’s distrust of the government that overruled common sense, and she became fixated on leaving society. Rebecca’s son was homeschooled and showed little interest in living off the grid, but had no choice but to follow his mother’s lead. When officials investigated the campsite scene, they found two bodies inside of a tent with a third body outside. All three bodies appeared to be malnourished and heavily decomposing.
According to the women’s step-sister, Trevala Jara, the family attempted to educate themselves by watching videos on YouTube, but wilderness survival is more complex than one might assume. She revealed that they watched clips on how to live off the grid but lacked real-life experience on the subject. “YouTube and the internet are not enough,” she said. Jara clarified that her sister’s intentions were pure, saying, “[Rebecca] really thought she was saving her son and Christine by living by themselves and being off the grid,” before admitting that she never could have imagined their decision to live in the Colorado wilderness would have such a tragic ending.