Searchers have found additional human remains that appear to be connected to the four German tourists who disappeared in Death Valley in 1996.
In July of 1996, 34-year-old Egbert Rimkus, his 10-year-old son, his girl friend Cornelia Meyer and her 4-year-old son Max traveled to Death Valley. Relatives expected them to return home at the end of July.
Their rental car was found stuck on a closed road in Anvil Spring Canyon in the Panamint Mountains in October of 1996.A large search at the time turned up few clues. The mystery of the disappearance of four people prompted search volunteers from various teams, along with other individuals, to keep up the search over the years.
In November of this year, two Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit team members who had researched the case, found human remains and photo identification in a remote area south of the Goler Wash in the Panamint Mountains of Death Valley National Park.
As investigators went to work to identify the remains found in November, the Inyo County Sheriffs Department organized a major search operation to find additional remains. Over the weekend, searchers from Inyo County Search and Rescue, Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, China Lake Mountain Rescue Group, San Bernardino Desert Search and Rescue, Calaveras County Search and Rescue, the National Park Service, and a US Customs helicopter crew spent two days covering the remote terrain.
Carma Roper with the Inyo Sheriffs Department reports that additional remains were found during this recent search effort. Investigations into the identity of these newly found remains continue.
It also remains uncertain who was found in November. Tom Mahood, one of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit members that found the first remains in November told the Idyllwild Town Crier that he and his partner Les Walker found a wallet with the remains that contained the ID of Cornelia Meyer.
With sun bleached bones scattered in the area, its unclear how many people were found with the ID. Its also now unclear how many people were found with this latest search effort. Investigations into this tragic incident continue. Carma Roper says that the Inyo Sheriffs Department will have further public updates as information becomes available.