ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Authorities found two bodies and a vehicle in a remote stretch of eastern New Mexico on Tuesday, following a weekslong search for a missing elderly couple from Texas, a sheriff’s deputy said.
The deceased include a man and a woman, and investigators are awaiting a medical examiner’s report to determine whether they are Rosendo and Hortencia Lara, of Bovina, Texas, said Chaves County Chief Deputy Shane Baker. The Laras, both in their 80s, were last seen Jan. 19 in the small Texas town just east of the New Mexico border.
They were reported missing by family members who said they had planned to drive to Clovis, a New Mexico town 30 miles (48 kilometers) from their home.
Authorities said a rancher discovered the bodies Tuesday roughly 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Clovis in an area only accessible by dirt roads.
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“It’s slow going in there,” Baker said. “The rancher doesn’t go out there every day.”
Baker could not confirm whether the vehicle that was found matched the description of one belonging to the Laras, saying that investigators were working in an area where even radio transmissions have been known to fail and that he was awaiting details in the case.
There was no sign of foul play, and authorities suspect exposure was the likely cause of death, according to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office.
It also appeared the man and woman had been dead for a few days, although it remained unclear how long they may have been in the location before they died, the sheriff said.
Anna De La Cruz, the couple’s daughter, told KAMR-TV in Amarillo, Texas, last month that she last saw the couple when she went to their home to give her father dementia medication.
Texas authorities issued a Silver alert for the couple, but discontinued it before the end of January.