Disappearance of ‘Gold Rush’ producer Terrence Woods gets renewed attention; family still searching for answers

The mysterious 2018 disappearance of a TV producer working on the Discovery Channel hit “Gold Rush” is gaining renewed attention on social media.

Terrence Woods was working on “Gold Rush” in Idaho in 2018 when witnesses say he spontaneously dropped his radio and took off running down a steep cliff into the nearby forest where he was never seen nor heard from again.

Although an extensive search effort took place at the time, the case remains a mystery that’s gained new attention in closed TV freelance social media groups in the wake of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, prompting an in-depth report on the case by Deadline.

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At the heart of the story is the production company Raw TV, which produces “Gold Rush” for Discovery. Woods’ family points to a text message sent to his father on the morning of his disappearance in which he revealed that he planned to come home to Maryland several weeks earlier than expected. Although he did not explain why, the text prompted speculation that there was more to the 27-year-old producer’s relationship with Raw TV than the family was being told.

Terrence Woods went missing while working as a TV producer on the Discovery hit 'Gold Rush' in 2018. 

Terrence Woods went missing while working as a TV producer on the Discovery hit ‘Gold Rush’ in 2018.  (Twitter)

Although Raw flew family members to Idaho to join in the search efforts, Terrence Woods Sr. previously told Fox 5 that’s where the company’s helpfulness ended and he maintains that there was foul play.

“My son saw something, heard something he shouldn’t have seen or heard and didn’t like it. My son is not in the woods. Someone picked my son up,” he said at the time. “What for? What’s going on? That’s what I need to know. My son is not in the woods.”

Raw denies that there was any animosity between it and Woods Jr., telling Fox News in a statement that it cooperated with the local Sheriff’s office for every step of the investigation.

“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,” a spokesperson for Raw said in a statement. “In such a tragic case there will inevitably be speculation about his disappearance, which is neither helpful nor 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.”

Discovery echoed those sentiments in a statement provided to Deadline that read: “This is a tragic situation. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends.”

“They wanted to believe that the movie company was guilty of something and we couldn’t determine that the movie company was guilty of anything,” Sheriff Doug Giddings, who was in charge of the investigation at the time, told the outlet.

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He added: “It’s rough country and there are mine shafts up there. All kinds of things could have happened, but we searched for him.”

Idaho County spans more than 8,500 square miles (13,670 square kilometers) and more than 80 percent of the land is part of a national forest. It’s a rugged landscape with dense forests and steep mountain ranges and is also sparsely populated, with about 16,000 residents.

'Gold Rush: Dave Turin's Lost Mine' is a spinoff to the popular Discovery Channel series 'Gold Rush.'

‘Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine’ is a spinoff to the popular Discovery Channel series ‘Gold Rush.’ (Discovery)

To add to the already difficult search, a local woman, 76-year-old Connie Johnson, went missing in the area the same day. However, authorities maintain that the two incidents are unrelated and took place several miles apart.

Deadline notes that rumors circulated among the “Gold Rush” crew and the local community that Woods was in a difficult mental state prior to his disappearance. A 911 call reporting the incident noted that, “Terrence has been having a really hard time emotionally and had a mental breakdown earlier today.”

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However, Woods’ father and friends say that he never had any mental health struggles in the past and find the very claim to be somewhat outrageous. While no one can truly speak to his mental state at the moment he took off running down the side of a cliff, Giddings does acknowledge that there was some kind of off-putting dynamic between Woods and the rest of the tight-knit crew.

“My interpretation of what they said is that the kid was a little bit different. He came into the group late and there were questions about some of his behaviors, but nothing that was blown up as big as what they [the family] tried to make out of it,” he told Deadline. “We determined that he wasn’t happy there and there were several people who weren’t happy with him.”

The case remains a mystery but, after more than two years, the search is no longer ongoing. Although Woods Sr. still suspects foul play, he and the rest of Woods Jr.’s family and friends are simply hoping that they’ll get closure one day.

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“It eats me up every day. With death you get closure and you can heal, but with the unknown, you know nothing. All you can do is pray and have faith,” Woods Sr. concluded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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