Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 17 News List

Lost Frontier

Fred Frontier came to Taiwan with a job and a well-researched plan for his time on the island. Then within days of his arrival, he vanished from sight

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

In the following weeks, Hess provided information about Frontier's disappearance to media outlets and met with AIT officials to discuss alternative courses of action for finding him. On July 17, Barbara Klita came to Taiwan to assist in the search for her son and investigators turned their gaze on Frontier's past in the hopes of shedding light on the present.

Eeciting new experiences

Born July 9, 1974, Frontier lived in Italy, Poland, Austria and Buffalo, New York before moving to Alaska when he was 11. He earned a cum laude degree in anthropology from the University of Alaska in the spring of 2000. That fall he even ran for the Alaskan House of Representatives on the Green Party ticket, garnering 108 votes or some 10 percent of his district. At age 26, he moved to Seattle. "Now I'm on the west coast," his Web page says, "but [I'm] willing to travel almost anywhere for the truly exciting offer of new experiences."

Frontier was gregarious. While in Seattle he was active in various Slavic organizations and hosted a monthly vegan potluck. Before leaving for Taiwan, his friends threw him a party on May 8 where DJs played Russian, Polish, Latino and American disco. There was free bread, chips and vegan salsa.

His Web page (http://www.fredfrontier.tk/) offers a wealth of insight into Frontier's psyche, with links to his "mix of religions," art he's created and photos, including one of a tattoo surrounding a pierced nipple. He explains that he's "just a collection of positive and negative atomic energy based on the solar model of a star nucleus orbited by negative moons separated by the great unknowable nothingness ? and since we are all descendants of the same African Yve [sic] of 200,000 years ago, I'd say I' m your brother and therefore want to reunite with you at the fun social vegan potlucks with music and drinkable spirits at my place every first Wednesday of the month."

Frontier was gregarious enough to look for friends in Taiwan while he was still in Seattle. On April 29, he responded to a Taiwan-based Internet forum posting authored by "Val," who claimed to have been in Taiwan for a while and was "looking for a man to spend a little time with ? not particularly looking for a relationship, but more for sexual pleasure."

Frontier's posted response to Val's query was earnest: "Sure this Val may not be for real and sure we have no proof of her physical appearance and health but ... this forum just serves as the first step towards introduction and no one so far has given her offer a nibble. I'm not too humble, so here are my stats ?" He goes on to list his physical attributes (186cm tall, 86kg, brown hair, brown eyes), sexual experience (experimental, though only with women), hobbies and interests (the almanac and encyclopedia ? hiking and camping) and employable skills (including proficiency in Polish, Spanish and Russian, commercial driving and fish processing).

Val ended her original query, posted on Feb. 18, with an eerily prescient warning: "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." Frontier ended his response, Carpe Diem! He copied and pasted the same response to another solicitation from

"Hotmama."

New leads

Armed with better insight and information, police continued their investigation. But it was Frontier's mother who turned the investigation around. To assist in the search, the Catholic hostel at which she was staying in Taipei had contacted a Catholic hostel in Tienhsiang, Taroko Gorge, which had possession of his bag and wallet. As quickly as Frontier had disappeared, his mother had found the first traces of him.

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