Family says missing Arizona teen may have been inspired by 'Into the Wild'

Investigators are trying to find an Arizona teenager whose car was abandoned in southwest Oregon.

A Douglas County sheriff's spokesman says the sport utility vehicle driven by 18-year-old Johnathan Croom was found Wednesday in the small town of Riddle, not far from Interstate 5.

He was traveling alone on his way back from Seattle where he had visited a friend. Croom originally left Arizona on July 30 and was due to begin classes last Monday at Mesa Community College.

Croom's family is worried that their son, possibly inspired by the movie "Into the Wild," may have attempted to embark on an adventure without being properly dressed.

"He was talking to another friend that it would be great to just leave penniless and just work along the way and get resources like they did in the movie," David Croom, the teen's father, told

"As far as we know he left in shorts and a T-shirt and a backpack with some socks in it and he left the car and that's all we know," he told the website.

Monica Croom says her son is "super smart" and has Boy Scout experience. She says his car didn't break down, wasn't out of gas and was unlocked with money inside.

Hutson says Croom's SUV wasn't vandalized and officers have searched the general area.

A friend reportedly told David that the teen may have planned this.

"She said 'he had left to go on an adventure and I haven't been able to get ahold of him for two days,'" Croom told

David is in Oregon putting up missing posters around town and hoping someone will recognize Johnathan.

"I'm just trying to stay busy and proactive and asking a lot of people to pray -- that's my way of coping," David told

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.