After being missing for more than a week, the body of former White House chef Walter Scheib was discovered off a hiking trail near Taos, New Mexico.
Reports say Scheib was new to the area but was no stranger to hiking. He was reportedly wearing a light jacket and running shoes, however, which made him ill-prepared to spend the night in the wilderness.
UPDATE: Rescue crews have revealed they found Scheib submerged in a mountain drainage that was flowing with runoff. An autopsy has revealed Scheib died of drowning and his death has been ruled accidental.
Scheib, who served as White House head chef from 1994 to 2005 under both Clinton and Bush administrations, was reported missing when his car was found unattended at the Yerba Canyon Trail near the Taos ski area. The trail climbs 3,700 feet in just four miles. Investigators did not reveal yet how Scheib lost his life. Search crews found his location after receiving a ping from his cell phone.
Along with being a White House chef, Scheib was well known in the culinary world having appeared on Iron Chef and The Daily Show. On his website, TheAmericanChef.com, Scheib said he was honored to be White House chef.
“For the last eleven years, I have had the honor of doing daily what most chefs would be lucky to do once in their life time. That honor was serving the First Family of the United States,” he wrote.
In statements issued to the media, Bill Clinton and Laura Bush expressed their condolences.
“Hillary and I are saddened by the tragic passing of former White House executive chef Walter Scheib,” the Clintons said in a statement.
“Our family was grateful to have Walter with us in the White House for six years, where we and visitors from around the world loved his delicious and creative meals,” the statement said. “Walter used his immense talents not only to represent the very best of American cuisine to visiting leaders, but to make a difference in people’s lives across the country through his support of numerous charities. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends.
Former first Lady Laura Bush also expressed sympathies.
“Walter was an outstanding talent. He prepared magnificent dinners for world leaders and delicious family fare for our family and friends,” Bush said.
For more on hiking New Mexico click here.
Photo credit: TheAmericaChef.com