Published: 7:06 pm, Tue. Jun. 20th, 2017
Robert Stuart Pluta, 57, and his son, Robert Neal Pluta, 21, both of Corpus Christi, Texas, were reported missing around 3 p.m. Tuesday by their wife and mother. She told police she had not heard from the two since the evening of June 14, and after several failed attempts to contact them and a phone call to their hotel to verify they had not checked out, she contacted the authorities.
The National Parks Service located the Plutas’ vehicle on a trailhead just northwest of the Caverns, and a search was immediately initiated.
The NMSP says an additional search of the hikers’ hotel room for clues as to their whereabouts yielded no results, and police were unsuccessful in attempts to locate them via cellular tracking methods.
Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, the body of one of the men was discovered approximately two miles northwest of the Caverns, and the second man was discovered deceased around 10:40 a.m. today approximately one mile from the location of the first hiker.
The NMSP, Parks Service, N.M. State Search and Rescue, Eddy County Search and Rescue, Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue, Organ Mountains Technical Rescue, Eddy County Fire Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Border Patrol and Native Air Ambulance were all involved in the search and subsequent recovery of the bodies.
No cause of death has been released at this time; however, temperatures in the area have been well in excess of 100 degrees for the past several days.