- Special Sections
A massive search effort to locate a California resident who mysteriously disappeared in Death Valley earlier this month come to a tragic conclusion Tuesday.
George Kohler, a 67-year-old San Francisco resident who went missing in Death Valley March 12, was found deceased Tuesday afternoon between Mesquite Spring Campground and Scottyâ€™s Castle Road.
â€śIt appears that Mr. Kohler left the campfire and took off cross-country on foot,â€ť said Inyo Count Search and Rescue Coordinator Corporal Terry Waterbury.
Inyo County Sheriffâ€™s Public Information Officer Carma Roper said Kohler was located within a two-mile expanse of desert between the road and campground.
It is currently unknown why Kohler began walking through the desert.
â€śThere is not a store out there or anything,â€ť Roper said. â€śAt this point, it would be speculation to say that he was going somewhereâ€ť specific.
Kohler had been exploring Death Valley with a bicycle touring group and was last seen at a campfire at the Mesquite Spring Campground at about 8 p.m. Monday, March 12.
Authorities believe Kohler signed up for the tour group alone and, aside from tour group members he met, he did not have a companion with him in Death Valley.
â€śAccording to interviews conducted with the bicycle group, Kohler departed from the campfire after saying he was tired,â€ť a press release from the Sheriffâ€™s Department states. â€śIn 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.â€ť
A massive, multi-agency search was launched when Kohler was reported missing on Tuesday, March 13.
The search effort included the Inyo County Sheriffâ€™s Search and Rescue, Death Valley National Park, California Rescue Dog Association, San Bernardino Sheriffâ€™s Search and Rescue, Kern County Sheriffâ€™s Search and Rescue, Mono County Sheriffâ€™s Search and Rescue and Tulare County Sheriffâ€™s Search and Rescue.
Air support was provided by Nellis Air Force Base, China Lake Naval Weapons Base and the California Highway Patrol.
â€śAt this time foul play is not suspected,â€ť the press release states. â€śAn autopsy has been scheduled and cause of death will be determined by the Inyo County Coroner.â€ť
Kohler was a personal, certified fitness trainer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Roper noted previously that as a personal trainer, Kohler was in â€śvery good shape,â€ť and considered healthy for his age.