Missing hikers found dead near Carlsbad Caverns, NMSP says

J.R. Oppenheim and Stefan Dill
June 21, 2017 07:27 AM

CARLSBAD, N.M. -- The remains of two hikers have been located near Carlsbad Caverns, according to the New Mexico State Police.


New Mexico State Police received reports Monday afternoon that two hikers -- 57-year-old Robert Stuart Pluta and his 21-year-old son Robert Neal Pluta, both of Corpus Christi, Texas -- were missing. Several agencies then began looking for them.

NMSP said that search and rescue teams found one deceased hiker around 10:05 p.m. Monday night about two miles northwest of the caverns. The second hiker was found dead around 10:42 a.m. Tuesday morning about one mile from where the first hiker was located.

According to information from her Facebook post, Lill Pluta said Robert and her oldest son Bobby left for Carlsbad Caverns on June 14. She posted that she last spoke to them that night and since then, all calls have gone to voice mail.

Lill posted that she spoke with the Fairfield Inn in Carlsbad and that the men did not check out and that their belongings are still in the room. Hotel staff told her that there has been no door lock, phone or debit card activity related to the men's account with the hotel since Thursday.

National Park Service rangers found a red F-150 truck belonging to the Plutas on Monday afternoon at the Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead, and a search party was sent out that night.

KOB will update this story as it develops.


J.R. Oppenheim and Stefan Dill

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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