The disappearance of Discovery television producer Terrence Woods is receiving renewed media attention thanks to social media. And it’s right on time since his parents are desperate for answers.
According to Deadline, Woods, 27, vanished while working on Discovery’s Gold Rush franchise in Idaho County, Idaho, on October 5, 2018. The shoot involved filming a spin-off called Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine in Penman Mine, a deserted gold mine. The location was surrounded by jagged terrain.
In the nearly two years that have followed, the case has gone cold, but many television production professionals have taken to private Facebook groups and other social media channels to demand that Raw TV, which produces the show and is also owned by Discovery, and its parent network work harder to find out the details of what happened.
Woods’s parents have also accused them of mistreating their child, and openly doubted that they reported the incident of his disappearance accurately.
Discovery denied that Woods was mistreated and outlined the variety of ways it had cooperated in the investigation and cooperated in search and rescue efforts. “We have the deepest sympathy for Terrence’s family and friends. It is truly heartbreaking that Terrence has not been found, and we continue to hope that he will be,” said a spokesperson for Discovery.
“In such a tragic case, there will inevitably be speculation about his disappearance, which is neither helpful or fair to Terrence, his family or the crew who worked so hard to try and help. The thorough police investigation has found no evidence to support any of the speculative claims, and this remains a tragedy,” they added.
Sheriff Doug Giddings, who led the investigation, reported that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the company.
The day that Woods disappeared, he informed his father that he would be returning weeks early from the shoot. He did not explain why he made this choice to leave in the thread. He reportedly informed Raw TV that he would be visiting his mother, Valerie Woods, due to concerns about her health even though she had told him she would not need surgery for an issue they had discussed previously. Later that day, he allegedly tossed his radio onto the ground and spontaneously took off running “down the side of a steep cliff. ” He was last seen by “multiple witnesses” vanishing into a forest. Reportedly several people tried to chase him as he ran. His colleagues were surprised and confused by his actions.
Woods’s parents doubt the credibility of the accepted version of events. “You say my 97-pound son ran down the cliff without tripping, falling, hurting himself. You don’t have a trace of his blood or piece of his clothing, and he ran like a hare and ran so fast, nobody could catch him,” said his father, Terrence Woods, Sr.
They also doubt the credibility of one of the central witnesses, associate producer Simon Gee, who reportedly helped with the efforts to locate Woods. He supposedly has been trained in search and rescue. Gee met with Woods’s parents, who flew to Idaho shortly after they were informed that their son was missing. The meeting took place at Giddings’s office with two other Raw executives present. Valerie remembered Gee’s demeanor as “cold.” Woods Sr. recalled Gee calling his son a “disappointment” and saying he “didn’t live up to my expectations.”
Discovery denied that Gee used the term “disappointment.” Gee claims he only mentioned that Woods was distracted in an effort to apparently find out if that was a normal character trait, and try to understand his mental state at the time he ran down the cliff. Assertions have been made that Woods had a tough time fitting into the culture of the production. In a 911 report after his disappearance, one person wrote, “Terrence has been having a really hard time emotionally and had a mental breakdown earlier today.” Others working on the show called him “weird.”
Woods was characterized as a “completely reliable and intelligent man” by those close to him. He had gotten a foothold in his career in the U.K., where he worked on popular programs, including The Voice UK and BBC One’s Saving Africa’s Elephants: Hugh and the Ivory War. He was well traveled and used to high-pressure environments. He had never been labeled “weird” in previous workplaces.
“It doesn’t make sense when I hear people say that he struggled with his mental health or that he didn’t live up to expectations,” said his friend Cassandra Hall-Alexander. “I spent six months on a TV production course with him, and he always exceeded expectations and never ever showed signs of having any mental health problems.”
His parents also denied ever seeing him exhibit erratic behavior.
Giddings acknowledged his parents’ skepticism and admitted that Woods managing to sprint down the cliff would have been tough, but he also noted that other team members did the same in their pursuit of Woods.
The family remains unconvinced that they are getting the full story.
“Something happened of foul play and they’re trying to cover it up,” Woods Sr. said. “My son saw something, or heard something that he didn’t agree with, and he wanted to leave.”