Cyclist found dead in Death Valley


George Kohler of San Francisco, found dead in Death Valley.

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.”

dvsarMassive 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.

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7 Responses to Cyclist found dead in Death Valley

  1. George Derrick March 23, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    We talked about George Kohler and his wife Prudy so much I feel like I knew them. Everyone did a great job on the search effort. I am glad we have people who volunteer for this work. everyone who was involved.

    George in Big Pine

    • Uff-Da March 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      George- You are talking with first hand knowledge. You are fortunate people volunteered to pull you out of that cave on the Inyo range!

      • George Derrick March 24, 2012 at 8:43 am #

        You hit the nail on the head. Although In my case I had no good excuse. SAR is amazing. I had some knowledge of their abilities but unless you see them in action first hand you don’t appreciate how good they really are.

  2. Wayne Deja March 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    IMO ,for what it’s worth,the SAR teams did a good job finding Mr.Kohler…There was no direction to where he had gone,apparently,no footprints to follow,no debris field of things he might have been dropping,or losing along the way,no sightings to the direction he was headed.Just a vast area of desert and having to look for him,even if it was not that far from the campground.Good job,SAR….If he were not found,I’m sure the “theories”would have started popping up to where he might be,or where he could had gone,on his own volition or otherwise.Closure for the family…He died in a peaceful place doing what he loved doing.My bet is he had a heart attack or stroke the night he went for the walk,not out there lost trying to find his way back to the campsite.

  3. Jusin Case March 22, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Why would a guy who said he was tired go on a “cross country ” trek on foot while he was there with a bicycling group? Something sounds fishy about this. I am NOT implying murder, I am however implying that maybe something medical was happening that caused him not to be rational, and I wonder why nobody noticed that. I hope the autopsy finds the answers for his poor family and not leave them with more questions instead, which is very ofton the case.

    • Ex-Resident March 22, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      It was also reported that during the warm up ride a day or two earlier he had fallen three times which was considered abnormal. The person in charge of this group should have axed him from participating in a ride like this right then and there. Poor decision making if you ask me.

  4. Cindy March 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    How very sad, condolences to his family & friends. And a big thank you to all the SAR personnel, we all hoped for a better outcome.
    Big Pine


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