Men's Journal

A Father’s Story

The disappeara­nce of a young man in Costa Rica becomes something much more than a simple mystery in a moving new memoir: a father’s search for solace after losing his adventurou­s son.


ON JULY 10, 2014, Cody Roman Dial, a 27-yearold graduate student from Alaska, set out into Costa Rica’s imposing Corcovado National Park, a 164-square-mile jungle on the country’s western flank. He never returned. His disappeara­nce spurred his mother, Peggy, and his father, Roman Dial—a National Geographic Explorer and wellknown figure in Alaska’s outdoor circles— into a relentless two-year quest to find their son. It was a tortuous search, with contradict­ing clues, a dubious murder confession, and the ever-diminishin­g hope that Cody, who went by his middle name, Roman, might be found alive. Dial’s search was first chronicled in this magazine in 2016. It also became the subject of a sixepisode National Geographic “true-crime series,” Missing Dial, which traced Dial’s repeated efforts to discover what happened to his intrepid son. Now, nearly four years after Cody Roman’s remains were discovered in the jungle, Dial has carefully, agonizingl­y written down his version of events for the book The Adventurer’s Son. It’s a moving portrait of an inspired young man and a firsthand account of a father’s desperate hunt for his missing son. But the heart of the book is Dial’s detailed accounts of his and Cody Roman’s exploits around the globe—and a father’s close bond with his only son, a friendship forged through shared adventures. When I spoke to Dial last fall, he told me, despite so much media coverage of his son’s story, that he knew he’d want the final word. “I wanted to make sure that the right story was out there because the TV show just seemed wrong to me,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a documentar­y, but it ended up being a reality TV show.” In the series, filmed with Dial in Costa Rica, there are “re-created” scenes, including one with a local walking with what looks like a blood-stained machete. Dial was flown to Los Angeles to read narration that the show’s producers had written

 ??  ?? Dial, above in 2015, searched for his son, Cody Roman, for two years before a miner found his body in Costa Rica.
Dial, above in 2015, searched for his son, Cody Roman, for two years before a miner found his body in Costa Rica.
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