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The body of a missing Carlsbad man was found by park staff this morning at approximately 10:50 a.m., in North Slaughter Canyon, less than one day after Carlsbad Caverns National Park staff was notified that he was missing and possibly in the park.
Area law enforcement were first contacted by the man’s supervisor when he failed to show up for work on Tuesday. A welfare check of the man’s home turned up three hiking “itineraries”—two were in Guadalupe Mountains National Park and one was in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, specifically from the Slaughter Canyon Trailhead to Putnam Cabin, an 11-mile one-way trip. Eddy County Sherriff’s Office personnel conducted fixed-wing flights over the area and spotted the missing man’s car late yesterday afternoon parked in the Slaughter Canyon Cave/Trail parking area.
Park staff began searching the main trails in Slaughter Canyon late Wednesday night, but did not proceed into North Slaughter Canyon until Thursday morning due to difficult terrain. Local search and rescue officials joined park staff in the search and set up a command center in nearby Queen on Thursday morning.
Tentative identification has been made, but release of his name is pending positive identification and notification of next of kin. The scene is currently being investigated to gather as much information as possible to aid in determining the cause of death. After the scene has been documented by law enforcement personnel, the body will be flown out of the park via National Guard helicopter.
For more information, please contact park superintendent John Benjamin at 505.785.3020.