WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — The remains of a Williamsburg woman who’d been missing for nearly a year were found Sunday east of the Amboy Crater National Landmark in the Eastern Mojave Desert of California.
After thousands of hours of searches covering a 36-square mile area around the landmark, search and rescue personnel found Susan Schmierer’s remains in the desert wilderness.
The 65-year-old and her husband William were reported missed on June 13, 2018, after U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rangers found their vehicle abandoned near the site.
Crews found William three days later on June 16, and an autopsy confirmed he died of heat exposure, and no foul play was suspected.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office says dozens of volunteers, sheriff’s helicopters and K9s, as well as private companies hired by the Schmierers’ family, took part in the search. They say around the time the couple went missing, ground temperatures in the area could reach up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
An autopsy on Susan’s remains hasn’t been completed, but the sheriff’s office believes it will also point to heat exposure.
Both Susan and William were well known at the College of William & Mary, with Susan working part time in undergraduate admissions from 2010 to 2017, and William serving as a member of the Swem Library Board from 2014 to 2016.
In a press release, the sheriff’s office reminded the public that hiking the Amboy Crater during the summer months involves substantial risk, and adequate precautions should be taken.