San Francisco Chronicle
August 12, 1969, p. 4
Desert Heat Kills 2 Men and Boy
The blazing summer heat of the Death Valley area has killed two men and a youth who tried to reach habitation by setting out afoot across the desert.
Sheriff's deputies said they found the bodies 7, 14 and 17 miles from an abandoned car.
"They were kind of strung out like a black line," said deputy Red Landergren. "The heat just turned them black."
Tragically, they had headed in the wrong direction, apparently toward a ranch house they had passed 30 miles back on their way into the desolate area. Just a mile the other way was a grove of willows with a spring.
Officers said Arnold Dobson, 65, of Irvine, and Harold Mast Sr., and his son, Harold Jr., 16, both of Corona, visited friends here Thursday and set out Friday over an abandoned road to visit the El Capitan Mine in Eureka Valley, east of Death Valley.
Temperatures in the area are 120 degrees or more.
They apparently got into the barren Saline Valley by mistake and became stranded, officers said, at a point where a flash flood washed out the abandoned road. Their trailer turned over when they tried to make a U-turn.
The three carried no water when they started walking, apparently some time Saturday, deputies said.
"It looks like they just went the wrong way," Landergren said. "No one could have made it across the desert without water."
He said Dobson may have become crazed by heat "because we found he had taken his shoes off to walk barefoot."
Dobson was found seven miles from the car, the youth's body 14 and the father's 17. Two of the bodies were located Sunday night and the third yesterday.