A missing couple managed to survive in the car after being lost in Nevada’s high desert for over a week; unfortunately, one of them passed away before they were eventually found.
According to local news reports, the family of Ronnie and Beverly Barker are still trying to figure out how they got lost in Nevada’s high desert. After being missing for seven days, Beverly Barker survived, but her husband, Ronnie, didn’t.
Authorities say the 72-year-old was dead when a search team reached the couple on Apr. 12, about 177 miles northwest of Las Vegas. They also said that 69-year-old Beverley Barker was airlifted to a Reno hospital, where she was reportedly in good shape.
By all accounts, the pair had been traveling from Oregon to Arizona. A nephew said Beverly Barker’s text message pleading for help was delayed and didn’t go through until the night after the Barkers had already been found and her uncle had passed.
A long social media post from Ronnie and Beverly Barker’s nephew Travis Peters tells the story of what happened and how his Uncle Ronnie died. The story was told to Peters by his aunt Beverly, who he said has been released from a Reno hospital.
A GPS Setting Error Was All It Took!
Peters said it was the couple’s GPS that told them to take a road that would eventually point them up a mountain west of Silver Peak, Nevada, about 30 miles west of Goldfield. Beverly said the “highway” option in the GPS setting was not selected, and that led it to point them to a county road.
“Bev recalls they … saw other cars, I believe she even mentioned another motorhome was seen,” Peters wrote. “The directions had them making turns and they knew they were going up a mountain, but I don’t think they ever had a fear that they were doing anything wrong. Bev said that the RV was doing just fine on the road other than the fact that they had to slow down because the trailer dolly that was bouncing around if they went too fast. Eventually, the motorhome became stuck in the gravel and sand.”
Once they knew they were stuck, the couple decided to just sleep in the RV and go for help in the morning. Then on the morning of Monday, Mar. 28, they unhooked the Kia Soul they were towing and began driving to get help. Beverly Barker said they took a wrong turn and quickly became stuck. That’s where they would spend the next week.
Beverly Barker told her family she and her husband remained in relatively good spirits, reading the Bible they had with them, watching planes fly overhead, marveling at the clear night sky, and melting snow for water. Eventually, Ronnie Barker began having breathing problems, according to his wife, and she was left to provide water.
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. The pair were also taking turns honking the horn in an SOS pattern.
“Ronnie blamed himself for getting them into the situation, but I do not think that there was any blame for him to shoulder,” Peters wrote. “Eventually, peace came upon the both of them, and Ronnie Barker passed away at 3:12 p.m. on Monday, Apr. 4.”
Beverly Barker said she remained in the car with her husband for the next day and a half until they were found Tuesday afternoon.
Travis Parker also released a statement on behalf of the family, which read in part:
“The family of Ronnie and Beverly Barker wish to thank those who participated in the search and rescue operations to locate our beloved family members. The outpouring of support was nothing short of incredible by the members of the local community. Our hearts are full because of the efforts that were put forth to help us bring Ron and Bev back home again to Indiana.”
Travis’s statement went on to express his love for his Aunt and Uncle and describe Ron’s military service – he was an Air Force veteran who served close to 30 years – and his deep faith in God. Travis concluded his statement, however with a bit of an admonishment to roadway issues that hampered the search for his beloved relatives.
“Our family grieves over this news, and we question the roadblocks that seemed to stifle the search from the moment we were made aware of their disappearance. 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. 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.”