Guest / Limited Access /

Thirty-two years ago, Billy Graham was preaching in central California about broken homes, human wickedness, and the "necessity of a rebirth in Christ."

Four young men attended his Fresno crusade, then climbed into a rented 1959 Piper Comanche for their return flight to Sacramento—and were never seen again.

On August 7, near the rim of Stubblefield Canyon in the northern part of Yosemite National Park, a trail worker's discovery ended the three-decade-old mystery concerning the disappearance or Alvie Taylor, 26; Ben Amegin, 27; Nick Lokteff, 17; and Paul Sokol, 23.

"Ben wanted to be a minister," Glen Taylor, the pilot's brother, said. "He begged my brother to take him to see Billy Graham."

Wanting to help friends who had recently emigrated from Russia, and to get some more hours in his favorite airplane, Alvie Taylor agreed. That was the last time Glen Taylor saw his brother.

"The family was always waiting, waiting for them to come back, [hoping] that somehow they would come back alive," says Nina Amegin, who married Ben's brother Tony.

Investigators and archaeologists called in to study the crash doubt whether they will ever know what happened. The crushed fuselage confirmed the airplane's serial number. Flight gear, records, and Sokol's laminated immigration card offered more verification.

Nina Amegin, whose family worships at First Slavic Baptist Church in Sacramento, says the family's faith has not been shaken by the disappearance. "God gives just so much time to live

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only EDITORIAL: Uncle Sam Wants Your Tithes
Courts should keep creditors' hands out of the collection plate.
RecommendedI Went From Fighting in a Cage to Living in a Hut
I Went From Fighting in a Cage to Living in a Hut
How an MMA fighter found Jesus—and discovered his calling in the Congo.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickLatasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
Latasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
The founder of Be the Bridge reveals her vision for solving America's race problem.
Christianity Today
Plane Found 32 Years Later
hide thisOctober 3 October 3

In the Magazine

October 3, 1994

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.