Friday, June 14, 2024

Crews return to California desert in search for missing Williamsburg woman

Susan Schmierer, 65, and her husband, William, 64, went missing near Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark in Southern California. (WYDaily/Courtesy San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)
Susan Schmierer, 65, and her husband, William, 64, went missing near Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark in Southern California. (WYDaily/Courtesy San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

Crews returned to California’s Mojave Desert on Saturday to resume searching for a Williamsburg woman who disappeared almost two months ago while on a cross-country road trip with her husband.

Susan Schmierer, 65, and her husband, William, 64, were last seen June 2 at the visitor center at Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark. The couple had left Williamsburg on May 27 and were headed to Palm Springs, California, about 100 miles from Amboy Crater.

Crews scoured the area around the crater from daybreak until noon Saturday, but the search did not turn up any signs of the missing woman, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department told WYDaily on Monday.

The Schmierers’ abandoned car was found June 13 at a trailhead near the crater. Three days later, authorities discovered the body of William Schmierer about a quarter of a mile away from the trailhead but found no signs of Susan Schmierer.

Foul play is not suspected in William Schmierer’s death, the sheriff’s department said.

A search for Susan Schmierer was called off June 25 after ground temperatures in the area reached 165 degrees and two rescue vehicles became bogged down in the rugged terrain near the crater.

Amboy Crater is an extinct volcano in the high desert of California about 100 miles from Palm Springs. (WYDaily/Wikicommons)
Amboy Crater is an extinct volcano in the high desert of California about 100 miles from Palm Springs. (WYDaily/File photo)

Amboy Crater is a 250-foot-tall extinct volcano. The terrain around the crater is covered with dark lava rock, which can intensify the desert’s high heat.

Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said last week that the search is now a recovery mission instead of a rescue.

In addition to William Schmierer, three others have died at Amboy Crater in the past 12 months, according to the sheriff’s department.

In August 2017, a husband and wife were found dead after going hiking in 113-degree heat.

On May 30, just days before the Schmierers went missing, a hiker found the body of a 61-year-old man near one of the park’s trails.

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Managing Editor Bryan DeVasher can be reached at bryan@localvoicemedia.com

Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasherhttp://wydaily.com
Bryan DeVasher is the managing editor-digital of WYDaily. A resident of Hampton Roads for more than two decades, he has worked for news organizations in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. He most recently was a member of the public relations staff for Virginia State Police.

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