Yesterday late afternoon George Kohler, a 67-year old San Francisco man, was discovered deceased between the Mesquite Spring campground and Scotty’s Castle Road in Death Valley National Park.
Kohler had been exploring Death Valley with a bicycle touring group and was last seen at a campfire at the Mesquite Spring campground Monday March 12th at approximately 8:00 PM. According to interviews conducted with the bicycle group, Kohler departed from the campfire after saying he was tired. In the morning when Kohler did not meet up with the rest of the group, his tent was opened up; but there was no sign of Kohler or any indication that he slept in his tent.
“It appears that Mr. Kohler left the campfire and took off cross-country on foot,” stated Inyo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Coordinator, Corporal Watterbury. “This is a very tragic situation.”
Massive multiagency search efforts had been ongoing since Tuesday March 13th. Agencies that assisted in the search included: Inyo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Death Valley National Park Service, California Rescue Dog Association, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Kern County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and Tulare County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue. Air support was provided by Nellis Air Force Base, China Lake Naval Weapons Base and California Highway Patrol.
At this time foul play is not suspected. An autopsy has been scheduled and cause of death will be determined by the Inyo County Coroner.