After a week-long search for a missing couple merely found an empty RV in Nevada, the couple was located, but 72-year-old Ronnie Barker was already dead.

For about the last week, the Las Vegas area has been gripped with the story of an Indiana couple who’d disappeared on an RV trip, Ronnie and Beverly Barker. On Tuesday, their distraught nephew Travis Peters told Las Vegas station KLAS that Nevada law enforcement authorities had “discovered the RV this afternoon around noon your time,” and that “Ronnie and Beverly were not with the RV, and the car was gone. All the Deputy could tell us is that it was buried in the mud.”


The couple was located later that day nearly 200 miles north of Las Vegas, but it’s not a particularly happy ending. KRON4 reports that the husband had already died, but wife 69-year-old Beverly Barker was airlifted to a Reno hospital and is recovering.

The pair were reportedly on an RV trip from Oregon to Arizona, but lost GPS service, and their text messages pleading for help did not go through. The RV got stuck in gravel and sand on a country road, so they unhooked the Kia Soul they were towing behind them, yet that got stuck before long, too, and the couple lived in that Kia for a week. This took a turn for the much worse when 72-year-old Ronnie Barker started having breathing problems.

“Beverly Barker said she would balance against her walker and use an N-95 face mask to scoop snow to bring back to her husband [for drinking water],” KRON4 reports. “The pair were also taking turns honking the horn in an SOS pattern.”

Nephew Travis Peters told KLAS, “Eventually peace came upon the both of them and Ronnie Barker passed away at 3:12 p.m. on Monday April 4.” This was only about 24 hours before the couple was found.

There are some questions being raised about the effectiveness of Nevada's Silver Alert System. “It’s our hope that Ronnie Barker’s legacy will be changing policy that will allow for a more expeditious approach to locating missing persons of all ages for both non-residents and residents of the state of Nevada,” the family said in a statement to KLAS. “We call upon the citizens of Nevada to stand up and demand that changes be made at ALL levels of Public Safety to avoid the hurdles that our family faced as we attempted to bring resources into the search of our loved ones.”

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