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Sierra Valley
February 2nd, 2007, 10:40 AM
These old folks got stuck up behind Loyalton/Sierraville by Bear Valley Camp Ground and froze to death trying to walk out.

Couple's bodies found near car
DON COX
RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL


Edwin and Margaret Zabel left their Reno home Sunday for a drive on snow-covered back roads in the Sierra.

At least, that's what Sierra County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Eich figured.

"In talking with family members, they typically went for a drive on Sundays, to wherever," Eich said Thursday. "Just for a drive."

The bodies of Edwin Zabel, 84, and wife Margaret, 65, were discovered Wednesday in Tahoe National Forest, about 10 miles southeast of Sierraville,

Calif., Eich said.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation showed no trauma to either victim.

The couple's abandoned vehicle, a four-wheel drive station wagon, was stuck in a ditch, about one mile from Bear Valley Campground, 12 miles north of Interstate 80, Eich said.

"They got stuck somehow," Eich said. "They were in probably 6 to 8 inches of snow."

It's not unusual for motorists to get stuck in Sierra County in winter, even on nice days.

"There are probably six roads that will take you into Bear Valley Campground," Eich said. "They are pretty much snowbound. In the winter, they aren't plowed. People do, they go off four-wheeling, playing in the snow."

Eich wasn't sure when the station wagon was stuck or how long Edwin and Margaret Zabel stayed with the vehicle after it went into the ditch next to an unplowed dirt road.

Two people from Sparks who were driving a four-wheel vehicle in the snow found Edwin Zabel, Eich said. Zabel's body was about a mile from the abandoned station wagon.

"The couple from Sparks, they were driving from Reno over to Quincy," said Eich, who did not identify the couple. "They were taking the back roads. We've had beautiful weather up here. They were out enjoying the country."

Nobody around

The Sparks couple spotted the abandoned station wagon and stopped, Eich said. There was nobody around. They yelled. There was no response, Eich said.

"They continued on their route, which would have eventually taken them to Sierraville," Eich said. "These folks drive another mile."

They saw something.

"They discovered Mr. Zabel alongside the roadway," Eich said. "He was deceased."

The Sparks couple continued toward Sierraville, making an emergency call on a cell phone as soon as they could, Eich said.

"I met with the couple that found (Edwin Zabel)," Eich said. "They led me back to Mr. Zabel. We started our investigation from there."

Tragic ending

A search and rescue team from the Washoe County Sheriff's Department was called in. The group included three trackers, two search dogs and several all-terrain vehicles.

Two searchers on one of the all-terrain vehicles found the body of Margaret Zabel, about eight-tenths of a mile from her husband, Eich said.

"The woman was eight-tenths of a mile ahead of (Edwin Zabel)," Eich said. "He walked a mile (from the station wagon). She was eight-tenths ahead of that."

In other incidents, people have gotten stuck and lost, Eich said. They've been rescued.

"Those things happen," Eich said. "In this event, it turned tragic."

72 Virginians
February 2nd, 2007, 11:07 AM
I read that last night. :(

RUNITOVER
February 2nd, 2007, 11:14 AM
yeah their son goes to my church and he is devistated! :(

Sierra Valley
February 2nd, 2007, 11:29 AM
Im sure he is. Best of luck to him:(

Connect
February 2nd, 2007, 12:48 PM
That's real sad, Especially since whenever I'm up in that area there is a high amount of traffic. Be it quads or jeeps, there is usually a couple people up there driving around.

Charlie
February 3rd, 2007, 06:12 AM
:worthless

72 Virginians
February 3rd, 2007, 10:05 AM
:worthless

Charlie is now going to Hell. :pissed: