Former White House chef, 61, 'drowned during fatal hike in New Mexico', autopsy reveals
- Walter Scheib, 61, found dead in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Taos
- He had set off to go fishing on Saturday June 13 but failed to return
- Police say Scheib drowned in a mountain drainage 25 yards from trail
- He was executive chef at the White House chef for 11 years under presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush
A former White House chef accidentally drowned on a New Mexico fishing trip before rescue workers found him more than a week after his disappearance, according to an autopsy.
Walter Scheib, 61, was last seen on Saturday June 13 before he headed to hike a trail in the Taos Ski Valley near Taos, where he had recently moved.
After his concerned girlfriend raised the alarm about his disappearance on Tuesday, search teams scoured the mountains from land and air but found no trace of him.
But cell phone data revealed Scheib's last known location in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and his body was found on Sunday in a mountain drainage flowing with water from a recent storm.
Police say they do not suspect foul play in his death.
Tragic: Former White House chef Walter Scheib, pictured in 2013, was found drowned in mountains in New Mexico more than a week after he headed there for a hike but failed to return
His body was discovered approximately 1.7 miles from the base of the Yerba Canyon trail where he had been hiking, authorities said in a statement.
He was 'submerged in a mountain drainage flowing with surface runoff.'
The area had seen treacherous conditions reported as thunderstorms shook the mountains on the day Scheib was descending around a mountain called Lobo Peak.
Police said that the chef, who was wearing a windbreaker jacket, running pants and sneakers, was found 25 yards away from the trail.
They said his body was hidden from those searching along the trail by 'dense vegetation and a steep, rocky decline'.
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety previously told the Taos News that data obtained from Scheib's cellphone suggested he could have encountered trouble during his descent.
'It's very dangerous to get down to the river,' incident commander Richard Goldstein said. ''The water is running very fast.'
Search: His girlfriend reported him missing on Tuesday and search teams (pictured) began looking for him on Wednesday, after bad weather passed. His body was located 25 yards from the trail on Sunday
Concerns: Authorities said could have encountered trouble on the trail while trying to descend to the river to go fishing, but never suspected foul play. Pictured, search teams plot their course of action
Scheib was hired by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1994 before also working for the family of president George W Bush
His phone last made contact with a cellular signal around the Lobo Peak area at about 3pm on June 13, the day he set off for his hike.
Scheib, a former White House chef for 11 years under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush, did not tell anyone where he was going when he headed to the trail but authorities believe he had gone there to fish.
Following a search of his home, investigators discovered that his fishing gear was missing, New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo told ABC News.
Police did not find any provisions or items with Scheib when his body was discovered.
A search of his car, which was parked at the Yerba Canyon trailhead, found nothing 'abnormal' as his wallet was located underneath a seat in the locked vehicle, Armijo told ABC.
When he failed to meet his girlfriend as planned on Monday, she grew concerned and the family reported him missing last Tuesday. A search began on that Wednesday.
Scheib's vehicle was found parked at the bottom of the trail, where attitudes reach above 12,000ft (3,658 meters), and teams used helicopters, horses and K-9 units to search the area.
KRQE reported that searchers could not rely on typical tracking methods because the wet weather may have washed away many clues.
The chef was new to the area, and had recently moved to Taos from Florida.
Laura Bush, right, ultimately let Scheib, right, go in 2005 and he became a consultant and author. He recently moved to New Mexico from Florida
A search of his car, which was parked at the Yerba Canyon trailhead, pictured, found nothing 'abnormal'
He first rose to national attention as White House executive chef under President Clinton after Hillary Clinton hired him in 1994.
He caught the former First Lady's eye after she was 'impressed by the comprehensive spa menu Scheib had developed for the Greenbrier resort, as well as his highlighting of American cuisine', according to his website.
'I loved working for the Bushes and the Clintons,' he told The Washington Post in a 2006 interview. 'It's the greatest honor a chef can have to work for the First families.'
He remained in the role until 2005, when Laura Bush let him go.
After working for the presidents, he became a food consultant and speaker and appeared on the Food Network's 'Iron Chef' in 2006.
He also wrote a book about his experiences, 'White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen,' which was published in 2007.
The 61-year-old did not tell anyone his plans and set off in the Taos Ski Valley, pictured, on Saturday June 13
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3136992/Former-White-House-chef-61-believed-accidentally-drowned-New-Mexico-hike-mountain-drainage-filled-runoff-thunderstorm.html#ixzz3eap5fXtb