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Mysterious Deaths in the Cast of Discovery’s Gold Rush

Back in August, Jesse Goins, a cast member of Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine passed away at the age of 60. He joined the cast of the show – which chronicles Dave Turin and his pursuit of hidden riches in old abandoned mines – back in 2019. Goins was a gold miner and gold room operator by trade and appeared in 15 episodes of the series.

His death wasn’t the first tragedy to take place on the set of the reality series. In fact, quite a few people associated with the series have met some rather untimely deaths. Stick around to find out about the numerous other fatalities that have haunted the show since its inception, but first let’s take a look at what happened to Jesse.

Goins Died On Set

Goins was on the set of Gold Rush in Colorado on August 18 when another crew member found him unconscious. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival. His cause of death has never been officially revealed but TMZ speculated that he may have suffered from a heart attack.

Discovery Channel issued a statement of support for Jesse Goins family while adding that they were ‘heartbroken’ to hear about his untimely death. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to truly see his dreams come true. Landing the spot on Gold Rush must have been life-changing for him but he passed away before he could really appreciate the spoils of being on TV.

He Wasn’t The Only One To Die On Gold Rush’s Set

It’s a tale that sounds like it came straight out of This American Life or something. A fledgling young TV producer vanishes without a trace while filming an episode of Gold Rush on location In the abandoned mines of Idaho County, Idaho.

Two years later and there are still no leads in his case. Not an ounce of evidence about his whereabouts or what might have happened to him has come to light. Instead of answers, his family has received nothing but grief and more questions. The local sheriff remains perplexed and at a loss and the UK-based production company in charge of the show has been inundated with unanswered questions.

Woods was only 27 when he went missing on October 5th of 2018. At the time of his vanishing, very little mention was made of his disappearance in the press other than by local news outlets. A campaign of Woods supporters has since formed on social media platforms demanding that more effort be made to figure out what happened to him.

Renewed interest in his case exploded in the wake of national protests carried out by the Black Lives Matter movement last summer. Terrence’s disappearance has been discussed rather passionately by freelancers and investigators in closed Facebook groups. Meanwhile, production company Raw TV has come under a great deal of pressure to provide new pieces of information and support for those that are actively seeking new leads in their search for answers.

Granted, they actually have to have new pieces of information in order to share it with the public, and Raw has consistently denied any more knowledge in the matter than what they have already provided to law enforcement.

Wood’s Parents Suspect Foul Play

Terrence Wood’s family did an interview with Deadline where they suggested that Wood’s disappearance might have been connected in some kind of way with the way he was allegedly mistreated while on the shoot. They also expressed skepticism whether the production company taking the lead on the show had actually given a full and accurate retelling of the events that happened. Woods’ father has especially been vocal about his belief that something sketchy happened on that cool October day.

Raw TV strongly denied that Woods was mistreated while on the set of their show. They also pointed out that they actively helped out in the search-and-rescue effort to find him, fully cooperated with the authorities and actively supported Woods’ parents in the months after his vanishing.

According to the official police report, Woods vanished while filming at Penman Mine in Idaho Country. Supposedly, he suddenly bolted down a steep cliff and ran off into the woods never to be seen again. According to a witness, Woods’ had seemed a bit ‘out of it’ that day and one of his co-workers even suggested that he might have had some kind of mental breakdown earlier that morning.

Woods father, Terrence Sr, has expressed repeated confusion about how his 97-pound son could run down a cliff without tripping, falling, or hurting himself in any kind of way. Authorities were never able to retrieve any traces of his blood or clothing and apparently, he ran so fast that nobody was able to catch up with him.

“My son saw something.” Terrence Sr. speculates.

“Something happened of foul play and they’re trying to cover it up.”

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And don’t go anywhere just yet. We’ve still got to hear what Gold Rush’s production company has to say about Woods disappearance. Spoiler alert: they don’t have much to say about the whole thing.

RAW TV Say’s There’s No Evidence Of Foul Play

The production company at the center of all of this controversy has expressed repeated sadness for the tragedy of Woods’ disappearance but they’ve also continuously denied that there is anything to support the ‘speculative claims’ of foul play made by Woods family and supporters.

Local police also have reiterated that there were no signs that the show’s production company had anything to do with his disappearance. Some have speculated that Woods might have been dealing with some troubling mental health issues before he went missing, but his family says that simply isn’t the case.

Terrence Sr. says that he never knew his son to have any mental issues. He added that he spent 6 months on set of one of his son”s productions and that never once did he express any emotional instability nor did he ever fall short of the expectations laid out for him. According to him, Terrence was always bubbly and optimistic and was always willing to go above and beyond what was asked of him.

Sheriff Doug Giddings of Idaho County did however mention that Woods had just started working on the show and that he had an uneasy relationship with some of his colleagues. Sheriff Giddings further revealed that Woods wasn’t happy there and that some people weren’t exactly thrilled that he was there either. Apparently, some people found some of his behaviors to be a little strange. It was clear that there was some personality conflict at play while he was a crew member but nothing suggests that he had made any specific enemies.

Some have speculated – albeit it with no evidence – that Woods’ might have been the victim of some kind of racially motivated violence. Truth be told, there are quite a few racist individuals in backwoods rural Idaho but without further evidence indicating that he was attacked or harassed in some kind of way for his skin color then there really isn’t much that can be inferred by those claims.

Another Piece Of The Puzzle?

On the same day as Woods; disappearance, another individual went missing just 50 miles of his his last known location. Connie Johnson was out walking her dog, Ace, near a hunting camp in nearby Fog Mountain when she went missing. The dog was later recovered but Johnson hasn’t been seen since.

Some have tried to connect the two disappearances speculating that Woods perhaps was either kidnapped or the victim of some kind of serial killer, but Sheriff Giddings has been adamant that there is no evidence connecting the two cases and that any suggestion to the contrary demonstrates that the speculator must not have any first-hand knowledge of the terrain in that area or of the incident.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped would-be keyboard private eyes from coming up with a whole slew of theories trying to connect the two events.

Unfortunately, enough time has gone by that it’s safe to say that Woods’ isn’t going to be found alive. That’s not to say that it couldn’t happen, but the odds are increasingly more unlikely as time goes on that he will be found.

The most likely theory is that after he ran down the cliff and into the woods – presumably while having some kind of mental breakdown – Woods might have fallen into an abandoned mine shaft and was unable to call for help. Perhaps he was buried alive, or maybe he died from injuries he sustained after taking such a hard fall.

But one thing is for certain. Unless new evidence is found or if Terrence Woods comes back and reveals that he has been living in hiding for the last two years, theories and speculation regarding his mysterious disappearance will continue to capture people’s imaginations for years to come.

James Harness Death in 2014

James Harness was the mechanic of the Hoffman Crew. He was Mr. Fix-it to the extreme. He would fix anything and everything while out at the mines. A decade before he started mining, he was severely injured in a car accident that left him with a horrifically painful spinal injury. He was unable to pay for the surgery that he needed and ended up living with chronic pain until a Boston medical center reached out to him to perform the surgery pro bono during the show’s off-season.

Three months after the premiere of the second season, Todd Hoffman fired James from the crew citing his repeated absences and pain pill addiction as justification for the move.

Harness died at the age of 57 on July 3rd, 2014. It was later determined that he had suffered from a stroke. His death was revealed on Season 5’s eighth episode, Gold Blodded. The moment that Todd revealed his death to his crew was a very obviously scripted moment. In the scene, Todd informs the men that Harness died yesterday, but the miners are all seen wearing heavy jackets sitting around a campfire at sundown. If he had actually passed away the day before the sun wouldn’t have gone down until after 1 am and the crew wouldn’t need to wear such heavy clothing.

Hopefully Terrence Woods family can eventually receive the answers they deserve. Not knowing what happened to a loved one has to be more painful in many ways than knowing that they died.

What do you think? Do you think Mr. Woods got lost in the woods and died in a mine shaft or do you think that something a little fishier went down? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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