Walter Scheib, who served as the White House executive chef from 1994 to 2005 has been missing for over a week after hiking a mountain trail alone in Taos, New Mexico. Authorities searching for the chef were able to trace his cellphone signal into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains the day he disappeared, but so far there has been no news about his exact whereabouts or condition.
Walter Scheib, the chef who was personally hired by Hillary Clinton, has been missing since June 13. His cellphone last made contact with a cell tower that same day. Cellular signal triangulation places the chef around the Lobo Peak area at about 3 p.m. on June 13, informed Bob Rodgers, who is leading the operation for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
The chef had recently relocated to Taos, New Mexico from Florida and had reportedly gone for a leisure hike in the mountains near the Taos Ski Valley. The mountain trail isn’t listed as dangerous; but unlike other popular trails in the region, the mountains are generally avoided by inexperienced hikers.
When the chef didn’t return, his girlfriend filed a missing person report, subsequent to which concerned authorities launched a preliminary manhunt, but soon realized it would take a lot to look for a man in the mountains. Moreover, after a week of searching, investigators have resorted to hunting for clues that might indicate possible areas where they could concentrate their efforts. This is because the treacherous terrain and deep canyons have been interfering with their efforts.
The metadata analysis of his cellphone indicated that the chef was descending the mountain trail as he was supposed to, but abruptly disappeared. Though the authorities are yet to suspect foul play, they fear Scheib could have encountered trouble while descending around Lobo Peak. Thunderstorms had hit the area at around 2 p.m., an hour before the chef’s cellphone last made contact with a cell tower and the search party officials feel he might have encountered a lot of difficulty maneuvering the trail and might have met with an accident.
However, they added that nothing can be said for sure until additional clues surface. Meanwhile Scheib’s car was discovered parked at the Yerba Canyon trailhead. A quick search yielded his wallet and the vehicle was securely locked.
According to the officials, the former White House chef must have took off on the Yerba Canyon Trail in mountains above the Taos Ski Valley on Saturday when he disappeared. He was supposed to meet his girlfriend on Monday. When he failed to do so, she reported him missing on Tuesday night.
[Update] CNN has confirmed the worst of fears. Ex-White House chef Walter Scheib died while hiking, and his body has been found about 1.7 miles from the base of the hiking trial he presumably took.
[Image Credit | Getty Images, KRQE]