Walter Scheib's autopsy revealed his death was indeed accidental.
On Wednesday, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety confirmed the former White House chef drowned in a drainage ditch near the Yerba Canyon hiking trail. Authorities said they have no reason to suspect foul play.
According to reports, Scheib began his hike June 13 and planned to return home the same evening. The 61-year-old man was reported missing when he failed to return home as expected.
As reported by CNN, authorities tracked Walter Scheib's cell phone to the Yerba Canyon hiking trail. On June 16, his vehicle was located near the Yerba Canyon Trailhead. However, the former White House chef was nowhere to be found.
The NYT obituary for Walter Scheib, former White House chef for Clinton and Bush http://t.co/c2X5gkVZdw pic.twitter.com/2EoDFOpg0DAlthough search parties were dispatched to the trail, their efforts were complicated by the weather and terrain.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 23, 2015
As reported by USA Today, the four-mile trail reaches altitudes of more than 12,000 feet, and features deep canyons, thick vegetation, and snow covered peaks.
A representative with the New Mexico State Police confirmed the former White House chef's body was eventually located "in a mountain drainage flowing with surface runoff" on Sunday June 21. Walter Scheib's autopsy later confirmed his death was caused by an accidental drowning.
Former White House chef drowned, autopsy shows: http://t.co/vWp6Hld3Pk pic.twitter.com/3eY833lgRFWalter Scheib, known as The American Chef, served as White House executive chef from 1994 to 2005. Although he was hired by Bill and Hillary Clinton, his services were retained by Barbara and George W. Bush.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 24, 2015
On Monday, former President Bill Clinton said he and Hillary were saddened by the tragic passing of their former chef. He also praised Scheib's talents and "support of numerous charities."
Former first Lady Laura Bush echoed Clinton's sentiments.
"Walter was an outstanding talent. He prepared magnificent dinners for world leaders and delicious family fare for our family and friends."Following his stint at the White House, Walter Scheib founded The American Chef. As discussed on the company website, The American Chef specialized in unique cooking events.
"His educational and entertaining sessions and demonstrations are filled with fascinating White House insider's anecdotes, culinary insights, team building and bonding, as well as, exercises with a culinary twist. Sessions frequently feature hands-on cooking demonstrations with audience participation and interaction."Walter Scheib's autopsy results provided his friends and family with a sense of closure. However, they continue to mourn a tremendous loss.
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