Sandia Mountains, NM Hiking Accident, June 1938
EXPECT TO FIND BODY OF MISSING YOUTH IN CANYON.
THAT OF HIKING COMPANION RECOVERED FROM MOUNTAIN LEDGE.
EVIDENCE INDICATES BOTH KILLED IN FALL FROM CLIFF IN NEW MEXICO.
Albuquerque, N.M., June 25 -- (UP) -- Searchers led by Governor Clyde L. Tingley go into the Sandia Mountains at dawn today in search for the body of MEDILL McCORMICK, 21, a son of one of America's most prominent families. They already had found the body of his hiking companion, RICHARD WHITMER, 20, and all evidence indicated that both had been killed in a fall from a mountain cliff.
Accompanying the searchers was Mrs. Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms, widow of senator and newspaper publisher, Medill McCormick, wife of Albert G. Simmons, wealthy Albuquerque lawyer and land owner, and the boy's mother. Daughter of Mark Hanna, she is a former member of Congress.
The body of WHITMER was found on a ledge on a 2,000 foot cliff in the rugged Sandia Mountains 18 miles from here, about 200 feet from the top. It appeared that he had been scaling the cliff and had fallen when about to climb over the top. Darkness was falling when the searchers came upon his body and the search for McCORMICK'S body had to be postponed until today.
McCORMICK and WHITMER set out Wednesday by automobile for a hike in the mountains, some of which are in Los Pobkinos, the vast ranch of his stepfather. They planned to return the same day. Thursday, Mrs. Simms reported her son missing, but was not alarmed, believing he and his companion had been lost in a storm.
Friday, when nothing had been heard from them, Mrs. Simms appealed to authorities. National Guard Cavalry, directed by Adjutant General R. C. Charlton and Governor Tingley, CCC members, and civilians entered the mountains. In mid-afternoon, they found McCORMICK'S automobile, its windows up and its doors locked, parked in Pussywillow Canyon, which leads directly to the almost sheer side of the great cliff.
The surmise seemed justified that the boys had attempted to climb it. At dusk, searchers reached its top and from that point saw WHITMER'S body on the ledge. They could not see McCORMICK'S body. The falling light made cliff-climbing extremely hazardous. They recovered the body and took it to the National Guard camp, where it was identified by Mrs. Simms.
WHITMER'S body was crushed. He was the son of a wealthy Albuquerque business man and a former student at Princeton University.
Chester Times Pennsylvania 1938-06-25