Jul

1

Yesterday afternoon while hiking I found a white recent model Nissan Pathfinder with Arizona plates current to December, 2021 in the remote desert outside Slab City. It is located off-road where other vehicles may not spot it but so that it would eventually be found. The abandoned vehicle's owner is a mystery that perhaps you may help to solve with the clues of the find.

The Pathfinder is perched on a bluff such that a hiker or person on an ATV would find it. The current plates indicate it belongs to a Slabber or tourist from whom it was stolen. It is likely the owner is still alive because a vehicle of value with current plates usually means the owner's demise in order to use a 4-wheel drive such as this to scrap the range or to use as a Slab rental. I have found one nice vehicle per year out here for six years and know how the game usually works. The owner could not have walked away because there were no tracks, and he wouldn't' have bothered to slash his own tires. Yet the car was apparently towed there across the open desert before the tires were slashed, in reading the tracks.

All the tires had been slashed by a large knife after it had been laid to rest. It was cleaned of it's spare, all items from the interior and glove box, and the ignition key removed. Nothing else on the car was damaged except under the hood the battery and belts had been removed. It was placed here within the last two days from when I last passed this way.

My impression is it was a revenge theft where the vehicle had been taken last night, towed to another spot, cleaned of its valuables and the spare tire, and towed to drop in the desert for the owner to eventually find with the tires slashed and battery missing. The other indication that it was intended to be found is the tower left a soap clue on the front windshield in 2' block letters 'KMK' where the second K is written in mirror to make the mysterious acronym symmetrical. It appeared to have been written by a tall male because there were no smudges on the hood. He brushed his tracks on the sand out.

I walked a small circle around the car and found nothing of consequence. I followed the tow tracks across the desert to a Slab stem where nothing could be discerned. Then, while sliding down the cliff past Salvation Mountain, I stopped at one of the near residents to inquire if she knew who it belonged to. 'No.' So I asked, 'Do you want to call the police?' 'No. Do you?' 'No, I don't want to get involved either.' I walked on toward Niland in the 110F day for ice and came across the second find of the day, a sheriff parked off-road in the middle of nowhere with a Corona mask on and his nose to the ground as if sniffing out something. I did something I never would have on another day.

'Hello,' I greeted, and when he glanced up, I raised my hands and he told me to put on a mask. I obeyed to look like a bandito, and continued to walk within ten steps of him. I felt a need to explain myself in hobo rope suspenders and ankle weights. 'My name is Keeley, a retired schoolteacher, and I live in Slab City.' 'Go on.'

His bald plate was pouring sweat onto his scrub mask. 'I was wondering if you had found a body for the missing car I just located four miles over your shoulder?' 'Body? Body!' Where?' 'I have the car, do you have the body?' 'I can't tell you. You go first.'

So I described the site, pointed to the direction, and asked if he wanted the license number. He wrote it in blue ink on his green scrub glove that ran in the sweat. So I wrote it down for him on a notepaper. 'I'll call it in.' He went to his vehicle, and after the radio crackled a couple of minutes, returned with the information that the car is not reported stolen but belongs to a lady named Josephine (no last name) out of Bullhead, AZ.

He told me he couldn't leave the call he was on now, but that after he would drive in the direction I pointed to look for it. He thanked me and put his mask back on, and his nose to the ground. I hiked three miles into Niland, CA to sniff around yesterday's fire that put Niland on the map wiping out forty homes and turning 120 people homeless. There was no ice because all the store workers had been burned out.


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