Douglas AZ - On Saturday, August 21, 2010, the Cochise County Search and Rescue Team deployed on a training mission in the Pinery Canyon Road area. Information was received by Sheriff’s Office Investigators that several wells in the area should be searched to ensure there was no evidence and/or a body in that area related to an open 1980 Missing Persons case
In that case, Paul Fugate (a Chiricahua National Monument Park Ranger) went on foot patrol to check the Nature Trail on January 13, 1980 at approximately 3:00 pm and never returned home. Once Paul Fugate did not return, an extensive search began involving multiple agencies to include Cochise County Sheriff’s Office; employees of the National Monument, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, US Border Patrol, Customs, Southern Arizona Search and Rescue, and many of Paul Fugate’s friends.
Paul Fugate, to this date has not been found, and his disappearance is feared foul play. The only items missing were his uniform and his keys. Nothing has been discovered to explain Paul Fugate’s mysterious disappearance. The Chiricahua National Park encompasses 12000 acres of various terrain, canyons, caves, arroyos, mines and caves to include mammals, such as mountain lions and bears.
Speculations surrounding the disappearance of Paul Fugate are many and reported “eye witnesses” said they saw Paul Fugate in a pick up truck between two male subjects while others believe he might have become the victim of a very large female mountain lion who lived in the area at that time.
A lead was developed and it believed, Paul Fugate’s body might have been disposed of in a well located off Pinery Canyon Road and The Cochise County Search and Rescue team, with the assistance of a Pima County SAR Coordinator searched two wells for the remains of Fugate. The search was not successful in finding any skeletal remains. The wells were checked via camera and with a grappling hook.
Any additional leads will be followed accordingly and the Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information on this cold case to call 520-432-9500. All information received will remain confidential