Retired Marine Found Dead In Death Valley

REUTERS/Bridget Bennett

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The body of retired Marine Corps Capt. David Kelleher, 67, was found Tuesday at a popular viewpoint in Death Valley National Park.

Kelleher’s body was discovered by park visitors near Zabriskie Point, where it appears he was attempting to walk toward Furnace Creek after his car ran out of gas, according to a news release from the National Park Service (NPS). Kelleher left a crumpled note that read “out of gas,” before he left the vehicle.

A park ranger noticed Kelleher’s vehicle at Zabriskie Point on June 8 and found it there again on June 11. The weather during that time had reached temperatures up to 123°F, the NPS statement continued

Kelleher told a park ranger that he was running low on gas after he was cited for off-road driving at the park on May 30, according to CBS. His body was found in the early afternoon about 30 feet away from California State Route 190, which was obscured by terrain and a mesquite tree, according to the report.

A Facebook page dedicated to Kelleher described him as a “proud veteran who served in the US Marine Corps for 22 years.” Kelleher retired as a captain in 1994, the page noted.

His was the second fatality in the park in June after John McCarry, 69, from Long Beach, was discovered dead in Panamint Valley, the NPS noted. (RELATED: America Is Burning: Insane Videos Show ‘Disaster’ Impact Of Extreme Weather Caused By ‘Heat Dome’)

The search for a third man, Peter Harootunian, whose vehicle was found abandoned at the Emigrant Campground, has been scaled back after starting in late May, NPS reported. The National Park Service is encouraging visitors to stay safe by not hiking at low elevations after 10 a.m., staying within a short walk of air conditioning, eating salty snacks and drinking plenty of water.