Home News Local News Missing Corpus Christi hikers found dead near Carlsbad Caverns

Missing Corpus Christi hikers found dead near Carlsbad Caverns


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The bodies of two missing hikers from Corpus Christi have been found by authorities near Carlsbad Caverns.

Searchers discovered the body of Robert Neal Pluta, 21, at around 10:05 p.m. Monday, about 2 miles northwest of the caverns.
Police said the search for his father was postponed until light of day on Tuesday, when, at about 11 a.m., the body of Robert Stuart Pluta, 57, was found about a mile from the location of the first hiker.
Both the father and son were avid, experienced hikers, according to family members.
State police said they were notified around 2:52 p.m. Monday by a Texas woman trying to locate her husband and son, who had not been heard from since June 14.
The NMSP said the woman, Lillian Pluta, had attempted to contact her family numerous times throughout the weekend unsuccessfully.
Authorities said Lillian Pluta then called the hotel they were staying, only to find out that the father and son had not checked out, and notified law enforcement.
The National Park Service said park rangers scoured the park’s roads, locating the hiker’s red F-150 truck at the beginning of Rattlesnake Canyon Trail.
A search and rescue was then initiated.
A search was also done at the hotel for indications of where the lost hikers could be, along with an attempt to locate them through cellular tracking methods, which police said yielded no results.
The multi-agency emergency search involved the National Park Service, the Carlsbad Fire Department, the Joel Volunteer Fire Department, New Mexico State Police, the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department, U.S. Border Patrol, and New Mexico Search and Rescue teams.
The park also summoned Air Methods for a helicopter to aid in the search.
The NPS said weekend temperatures at the park can reach 105 to 110 degrees.
The NMSP said the investigation is ongoing. The Eddy County Medical Examiner’s office is investigating both deaths.