AN ECLECTIC RESOURCE FOR DEATH VALLEY KNOWLEDGE, ODDITIES, STORIES, and MOVIES

Lost in Butte Valley

Here is a modern mystery that adds to the legend of this territory. During the fourth week of July in 1996, four German tourists set out in a minivan for an adventurous expedition into the wilds of Death Valley National Park. Thirty-three year old Egbert Rimkus, along with his girlfriend Cornelia Meyer, and his two sons, Georg and Max, drove up the Warm Spring Canyon road into Butte Valley, a road that is not suited for a standard automobile due to the rough terrain.

Daytime temperatures that week were in the mid 120s. From a logbook at an old mining camp on the way up the road, was a German entry written by Egbert, stating “We are going through the pass.” –well, that pass is Mengel, with class-4 obstacles (large rocks) requiring a capable 4wd vehicle, something that a minivan is not. Egbert was reportedly known for his adventurous daring by his friends and family in Germany.

The group stopped at Geologist Cabin, allegedly took unlawful possession of the American flag and other goods (found later in their abandoned vehicle), and then mysteriously turned off the Mengel Pass road and headed down Anvil Spring Canyon. Their rented minivan was found in the sandy wash, after it was reported stolen by the rental company several weeks later. Three months passed before the car was found.

The four Germans have never been found (although recent discoveries may have just changed the status of this case). All evidence was studied, search parties thoroughly combed the region, and despite efforts of many people, only theories exist as to what happened to this family.

Abundant and detailed text covering the incident can be found online, as well as many opinions by folks who claim they know what must have happened. Did they perish from dehydration? Did they go underground to start a new life in this country? Were they murdered by ruthless outlaws who happened by? Did they walk for help, get lost in a canyon, perish from the elements, and escape detection by rescue personnel? Read all about it, and then form an opinion!

An online search may well solve the puzzle today, however. Or then again, it may not. Give it a shot, and come back here to leave a comment on this post about what you find! Should prove interesting for those of you who have some time on your hands.

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3 responses

  1. John Michaels

    Geologist’s Cabin: 35 55’29″N 117 04’55″W, 4400 feet elevation
    Van: 35 55′ 37.86N 117 01′ 06.91W, 3100′ elevation
    Remains: 35 49′ 10.17N 116 57′ 38.93W, 2400′ elevation (8 miles away as the crow flies!)
    Cause of death: use your imagination
    Remains not yet identified but assumed the missing tourists.

    March 31, 2010 at 11:40 pm

  2. Thanks John for the info. I’m sure all our friends with GPS devices will be right there. See ya’ …
    -Steve

    April 2, 2010 at 10:29 am

  3. random dude

    their bodies were actually found a couple months after your post
    http://www.otherhand.org/home-page/search-and-rescue/the-hunt-for-the-death-valley-germans/

    March 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

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