Reward triples in decades-old disappearance of Chiricahua National Monument ranger

middle aged man with beard wearing glasses
US Park Ranger Paul Fugate went for a hike and vanished without a trace on January 13, 1980. He was wearing his NPS uniform with the official NPS Arrowhead patch and a gold-colored NPS ranger badge.

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News Release Date: June 19, 2018

Contact: Libby Schaaf, 520-824-3560 x9307

Contact: Tip Line, 888-653-0009

Contact: Patrick O'Driscoll, 303-969-2839

Almost 40 years after Chiricahua National Monument Ranger Paul Fugate went for a hike and vanished without a trace, the National Park Service (NPS) has raised its reward fund in the case to $60,000. Decades after initial leads in Fugate’s disappearance grew cold, new information has prompted NPS investigators and Cochise County (AZ) Sheriff Mark Dannels to renew their request for the public’s help in solving the 38-year-old mystery.

On January 13, 1980, Paul Braxton Fugate, then age 41, was working in the monument’s visitor center in southeastern Arizona. At about 2 p.m. that day, he left the building to hike a park trail and was never seen again. Ranger Fugate was wearing his “green and gray” Park Service uniform, including the official NPS Arrowhead patch on his upper shirtsleeve and a gold-colored ranger badge pinned over his heart.

Although search teams combed the surrounding area extensively multiple times, they found no sign of the missing ranger. Investigators suspected foul play early on, and a formal missing-person case remains open. During the first few years after Fugate’s disappearance, the reward fund grew to $20,000. With this renewed focus, the NPS is now offering up to $60,000 for information leading to Fugate’s whereabouts and/or the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for his disappearance.

If you have information that can help, please contact the NPS Investigative Services Branch (ISB) in any of the following ways. Your identity will remain confidential:

  • PHONE or TEXT the ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009

  • Go ONLINE to www.nps.gov/ISB and click “Submit a Tip”

  • EMAIL the ISB at nps_isb@nps.gov

  • MESSAGE investigators via Facebook @InvestigativeServicesNPS or via Twitter @SpecialAgentNPS

 



Last updated: June 19, 2018

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