A Tennessee man and his on-off girlfriend who vanished last week while on a trip to Alaska were found alive and rushed to a hospital, a close family friend and the man’s business partner told The Daily Beast.
Jonas Bare, 50, and Cynthia Hovsepian, 37, had been missing since Aug. 11, when they were due to check out of their Airbnb in Fairbanks but failed to do so, according to the Fairbanks Police Department. They then missed their return flight and didn’t contact their families, after which officers searched the property and found the couple’s luggage. Their rented Jeep was found abandoned at the Chena Hot Springs Resort on Saturday, the same day they were reported missing.
Details on what exactly happened to the two were not immediately clear, though they were said to be receiving treatment for hypothermia. The Daily Beast obtained a photograph of Bare with his father on Friday evening after his rescue, via a friend who is married to Bare’s college roommate.
Reached by phone, Bare’s business partner said, “They’ve been found, they’re at the hospital, I don’t have any further information.”
Their disappearance was particularly concerning for loved ones, since, as one friend said, their relationship had long been surrounded by “a lot of controversy and a lot of weirdness.”
Bare’s longtime friend said Hovsepian had recently emerged from a debilitating battle with drugs and underwent open-heart surgery in June 2022.
She said she first introduced Bare and Hovsepian to each other and although their romantic relationship had recently cooled, they remained close. She last saw them in mid-April, when Bare and Hovsepian stayed with her and her husband for two nights shortly after Hovsepian’s father died. It has been a rough 10 months for Hovsepian, who lost her mother last October, according to the friend.
“I think if she took anything else [drug-wise], it would have killed her,” she said. “She was trying not to even drink, her body was still so fragile.”
Bare and Hovsepian, who is visually impaired and sometimes uses a cane to navigate while walking, had moved to Nashville from Florida together, according to the friend. The two liked to hike, and Hovsepian was “very excited, trying to get healthier, exercising a lot, eating healthy,” according to the friend. They both “seemed happy,” although things appeared “very platonic, not romantic at all. It seemed like they were very good friends, just kind of helping each other.”
She declined to provide full details about any ongoing tensions between Bare and Hovsepian, saying, “We kind of got some of the scoop, but I don’t want to say too much.”
A YouTube channel in Hovsepian’s name provides more questions than answers about the nature of their relationship, featuring a raft of eerie videos alleging violent behavior by Bare—who in 2008 was charged in Pinellas County, Florida with misdemeanor domestic battery, according to court records. (The case did not go to trial, but Bare was charged the following year with violating a related order of protection. Hovsepian, for her part, was found guilty in 2018 of violating an order of protection; the identity of the other person involved is unclear.)
“Jonas Bare killed me if I die 1/8/2020,” Hovsepian’s YouTube channel description reads, cryptically.
The Alaska trip was a birthday gift to himself, Bare wrote on Facebook.
Posting about it on Aug. 9, Bare wrote: “If a Kodiak gets me, I’ll consider that an honorable death.”
Bare mysteriously left his cellphone behind in Nashville before taking off on the 3,300-mile jaunt. The friend said her husband texted Bare’s phone on Aug. 14, three days after he and Hovsepian disappeared, and was shocked to see that his message had been read. He came to discover that Bare had given the phone to his business partner, and was using Hovsepian’s while they were in Alaska.
“So, that’s a big question,” the friend said, adding that she spoke two days ago with Bare’s father, who went to Alaska to help with the search. (Bare’s number doubles as his company’s main contact, and he left behind the phone so it could be used for work purposes, according to his business partner.)
The friend said she heard from Bare’s father on Sunday via Facebook Messenger that Bare and Hovsepian had vanished, which she described as “surreal.” It’s not unlike Bare to be out of touch for a while, but “for him to go missing like this is not like him at all,” she continued.
“I don’t think there’s any foul play between the two of them,” she continued. “I really believe that… Maybe they just got hurt, or they’re stuck somewhere. I’m just trying to keep positive and hope for the best, but it’s been a week now.”
Before her health began to fail, Hovsepian worked in a restaurant, the friend noted. Bare, who has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Akron University, now runs a car service, according to another woman who was previously in a romantic relationship with Bare.
He started the business after working as a vendor at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, after which he ran a bar that has since closed down, she told The Daily Beast.
“I don’t know if there are bears in this area where they were, but I would not be surprised if he got super drunk and tried to approach a bear, or something like that,” she said. “He’s stupid when he’s drunk, and would try to go do something stupid.”
The old friend who introduced Bare and Hovsepian stayed hopeful throughout their disappearance, saying: “A lot of people go missing, some people do it on purpose, they don’t want to be found. But that’s not them. I know they say the first 48 hours are the most important, but I’m still hopeful. Jonas can be very resourceful.”
On Friday night, following news of their discovery, the friend said, “I told you Jonas was resourceful.”
—with additional reporting by Dan Ladden-Hall