The body of a California man was found in Death Valley National Park this week. The man had left a note in his vehicle, indicating it had run out of gas and presumably began walking to find help, in triple-digit heat.
Park visitors found the body of David Kelleher, 67, of Huntington Beach on Tuesday, according to a press release from Death Valley National Park.
A park ranger first cited Kelleher for off-road driving on May 30, according to park records, and Kelleher had told the ranger that he was low on gas.
On the morning of June 8, a park ranger noticed that there was only one vehicle in Zabriskie Point parking lot. On June 11, the same park ranger again noticed the same vehicle as the only one in the same lot at a time when a heat wave was causing record temperatures of up to 123 degrees.
An investigation found the vehicle registered to Kelleher, and a crumpled note was found inside reading, "Out of gas."
A ground and air search was undertaken, but not in the area where Kelleher's body was eventually found on Tuesday less than 30 feet from California Highway 190 and less than three miles from where his car was parked, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Though Kelleher's body was so close to the road, it was obscured by terrain and a mesquite tree, the park said.
"The National Park Service encourages park visitors to stay safe in the summer by not hiking at low elevations after 10 a.m., staying within a short walk of air conditioning, drinking plenty of water, and eating salty snacks," the national park's press release read.
Kelleher is the second recent fatality at the park. John McCarry, 69, of Long Beach, was found dead on June 1.
A search has been underway for Peter Harootunian since May 23 when his vehicle was noticed by National Park Service staff abandoned.
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