What Happened to Cody Roman Dial?

Lost in the jungle, abducted, or murdered?

National Geographic launches a covert investigation into the disappearance of adventurer Cody Dial in riveting true-crime series, Missing Dial.

When Cody Roman Dial, son of world-famous National Geographic explorer Roman Dial, embarked on his first solo expedition into the jungles of Costa Rica, he vanished without a trace. Days before Cody entered the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, he emailed his father Roman to tell him he would continue the correspondence once he reached the other side… but he was never heard from again.

After searching hundreds of square miles of the country’s Corcovado National Rain Forest hoping to find his son alive, Roman never found him. Finding no evidence of his son in the jungle, Roman believes his son was the victim of foul play.

In the quest for answers, Roman and his wife Peggy return to Costa Rica with two American investigators: Carson & Ken.



Kenneth Fornier

A retired USAF pararescue jumper, Ken is a highly skilled wilderness expert in search, rescue and recovery. He is known for infiltrating into dangerous environments, dealing with local populations and building networks of information to achieve results.



Carson Ulrich

A former DEA special agent, Carson has worked in Central America for the past two decades. He knows all the players on the ground, as this is his area of operation. Just back from two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Carson is highly skilled at getting results in hostile situations and is fluent in Spanish, which helped him get information from locals while investigating.

Together, the team retraces Cody’s steps to uncover what happened to their son. They visit the hostel where Cody stayed before disappearing to interview the original owner, Dona Berta, who spoke with Cody just before he vanished. She remembers how Cody made the dangerous decision to journey into the jungles of the Corcovado National Park without a licensed guide. The team later questions a professional tour guide who tells them Cody probably snuck into the park alone far from any ranger stations so he wouldn’t get detected. The team locates Gustavo, a licensed guide who tells them typically when someone goes missing in the jungle they usually find physical evidence: backpack, clothes, shoes—even the missing person’s body. But in Cody’s case… they found nothing.


You don’t know how bad agony can be until your son has gone missing and no one can tell you what’s happened. It’s a pain that keeps me awake every night, and it’s the same pain that drives me on my search for answers. — Roman Dial

The team visits a local miner named Jenkins who claims to have seen Cody alone deep inside the jungle around the time he left the hostel. Jenkins takes the team on a five-hour trek to the location where he spotted Roman and Peggy’s son. Hours from civilization and bounded by several raging rivers, a massive thunderstorm erupts and pins the team down. If the downpour continues, the team could be trapped by rising floodwaters in the nearby riverbeds, so they turn back.

As the team retreats from the raging conditions, the rains halts and they manage to reach the last known place Cody Roman Dial was seen in the jungle. Jenkins takes them through his encounter: Cody was cooking breakfast, debating whether to journey deeper into the jungle or return to the village. Jenkins offered as much guidance as he could to Cody, then the two parted and Jenkins continued on his path. After visiting the area where Cody was last seen, Roman believes his son could handle such extreme terrain… and the jungle did not claim his son.


Roman Dial and his son Cody explored the world together prior to Cody Dial’s mysterious disappearance.

The next day, the team learns the U.S. Embassy has Cody Roman’s backpack. Embassy representatives admit they’ve had his pack for 60 days. The backpack was found inside the hostel where Cody was staying in town and turned in to the Federal Police who transferred it to the Embassy. The team races to the Embassy to collect Cody’s pack and analyze the contents: his tent, his stove, and most of his clothing are in the pack. The only items missing are the clothes on Cody’s back.

For Roman and Peggy, this confirms their theory: Cody made it out of the jungle after Jenkins saw him, and disappeared later. But how? The investigation kicks off tonight.

Don’t miss the series premiere of the six-part series Missing Dial Sunday, May 22, at 10/9c on the National Geographic Channel.


  1. Regina Marie
    May 23, 2016, 3:51 pm

    Family in my prayers.

  2. Chaz54
    July 21, 2016, 8:55 pm

    One understands the parents grief; it is real and for some, the desire to KNOW details possibly helps them.
    Cody Dial decided ON HIS OWN to go into the jungle ON HIS OWN….
    He was warned to take a guide. He seems to have snuck into the park, disregarding the regulations and determined to do things HIS WAY.
    These are all his rights and sadly parents can tend to overlook their children’s desires and wishes.
    What I wish for them is to have peace. Roman Dial is a scientist, or at the very least has a scientific mind and wants FACTS.
    Life is a wonder and wonderment is a vast and spectacular and multifaceted as the universe.
    The kid is dead. The kid made decisions that lead to his death. His parents don’t want him dead. So, they cling to facts, they accuse others in their grief.
    For me personally, it all, seems like more of a hurtful process… that which they decided to do… Sheer Agony.
    We live in a world where one must unfortunately look over one’s shoulder constantly… or not. Cody seems to have had faith in humanity which is blessed but not everyone cares about others in that same way.
    People have been denied a quality of life for centuries,now and the greedy get rich off the backs
    of those who have nothing. Cody didn’t look over his shoulder. Roman has not looked over his shoulder.
    The Dial’s choose to put their trust in a military guy who interrogates people regardless of their condition or the conditions that have led them to dire situations. They put their trust in Costa Ricans, poor ones, living in the jungle panning for gold…
    I just do not understand why the Dial’s put themselves through all, of this… there is really no one they can really trust in this scenario; everyone involved, I mean everyone was out to benefit themselves period.
    He made a remark that he was tired of drinking the Cody (military guys) kool-aide. Well… He was drinking a kool-aide of his own concoction the entire time…
    Sometimes there can be beauty in just letting things alone. Too much stirring can spoil the sauce…
    I hope they are at peace… What they did would have turned me permanently insane….