A retired military officer from California was found dead in Death Valley National Park after running out of gas and getting out of his car to walk in the searing heat, authorities said Wednesday.
The body of 67-year-old David Kelleher — a former Marine Corps captain — was found amid 123-degree temperatures, just 30 feet from an obscured highway, the National Park Service said in a statement.
A crumpled note inside his vehicle, which was parked near a popular viewpoint, read, “Out of gas,” the agency said.
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Kelleher was roughly 2 1/2 miles from his vehicle, and apparently walking from Zabriskie Point toward Furnace Creek when he collapsed near State Route 190, which was blocked by a large tree, the park service said.
He had been ticketed for driving off-road in the scorched park on May 30, and told a park ranger at the time that he was low on gas, according to KLAS, a CBS affiliate in Las Vegas.
An air and ground search for the military man, who was from Southern California, was later limited by the extreme heat.
A Facebook page honoring Kelleher described him as “A proud veteran who served in the US Marine Corps for 22 years.”
“He retired as Captain in 1994 at his last duty station at Camp Futenma in Okinawa, Japan,” the post says. It adds, “Those who wish to express sympathy” should consider donating to the Wounded Warriors Family Support.
Earlier this month, the body of John McCarry, 69, of Long Beach, was also found in the area amid soaring temperatures.
Park rangers this week warned people to wait inside broken-down vehicles during extreme heat rather than trying to walk for help.