Body of Missing Man Found in Death Valley National Park Wilderness

by Jon D. B.

The 69-year-old traveled to Death Valley National Park on May 15 and was not heard from again, sparking an extensive search. On June 1, searchers would locate the body of John McCarry (69) of Long Beach, CA. According to the park’s media release, McCarry’s remains were found in a “remote section” of Death Valley National Park via Panamint Valley.

In his last contact with family, McCarry sent a text message on May 15 stating he was heading to Death Valley. The text, sent from Olancha, California, is the only tip officials had in locating him.

Always let someone know where you’re heading if you plan to visit a National Park alone. Provide as many specifics as possible.

The Long Beach Police Department wouldn’t issue a public information bulletin until May 26. It is unclear how long they had been searching for McCarry prior.

But on May 31, Death Valley National Park rangers would locate the 69-year-old’s vehicle. It sat isolated on Lake Hill Road in Panamint Valley. But McCarry was nowhere to be found.

Then, after two days of air and ground searches by National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management rangers, California Highway Patrol’s A-81 airplane, and U.S. Navy’s VX-31 SAR helicopter, the body of John McCarry was found about a quarter-mile from his vehicle on June 1.

Inyo County Coroner’s office assisted with the body recovery once located Thursday afternoon. Foul play is not suspected in McCarry’s death at this time.

Safety is Paramount in Death Valley National Park

According to the park, the main cause of death in Death Valley is single-car accidents. More people die in this way than by any other means. To avoid an accident, follow the speed limits. The park also asks that visitors shift to a lower gear on steep downhill grades, and always wear your seatbelt.

McCarry, however, was not located within his vehicle. His cause of death is currently unknown, but there are many other safety risks present in Death Valley National Park. Following park safety advice can, and will, save your life.

Drink plenty of water: Drink at least one gallon (4 liters) of water per day to replace loss from sweat, more if you are active. Be aware of balancing fluid and electrolyte levels.

Avoid hiking in the heat: Do not hike in the low elevations when temperatures are hot. The mountains are cooler in summer, but can have snow and ice in winter.

Travel prepared to survive: Stay on paved roads in summer. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes. Carry extra drinking water in your car in case of emergency.

Watch for signs of trouble: If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or a headache, get out of the sun immediately and drink water or sports drinks. Dampen clothing to lower body temperature. Be alert for symptoms in others.

Dangerous Animals: Never place your hands or feet where you cannot see first. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, or black widow spiders may be sheltered there.