Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Egbert Rimkus, his girlfriend, Cornelia Meyer, his son Georg Weber and Meyer's son Max, disappeared from Death Valley on July 22, 1996.
The four had arrived from Germany in the US earlier in July and were going through California to Las Vegas in a minivan rented in Los Angeles. They were expected to return to Germany on July 29 but their reserved seats aboard a Transworld Airways flight remained empty.
T hey were listed as missing persons by Interpol on August 14.
On October 26, 1996 a Park Ranger on an aerial surveillance mission spotted their van stuck in a wash at Anvil Spring Canyon, a wilderness area closed to vehicular traffic. Three of its four tires were flat. Despite extensive searches in the surrounding area no trace of the tourists -but an empty beer bottle a half-mile away matching bottles in the vehicle- was found. The search was called off on October 26 but in the following years numerous other searches, organized by private parties and search-and-rescue groups took place.
Investigators managed to retrace some of their steps. The foursome checked out of their Treasure Island hotel, in Nevada, room on July 22 and drove that same day to Death Valley. A cash-register receipt from the Furnace Creek Visitor Centers store indicates they bought an informational booklet on July 22, 1996. The following day, they drove toward the Panamint Mountains. They let an entry in a visitor's guest book in an abandoned mining camp in the national park, in German, it read: "7-23-96. Conny Egbert Georg Max. We are going through the pass.". Rimkus was probably referring to Mengel Pass on the southwest border of Death Valley National Park. The minivan then turned about a mile short of the pass and headed east along a sandy wash into Anvil Spring Canyon where it was later found.
Several theories have emerged to explain the tourists disappearance. The first is that they decided to abandon the vehicle and then succumbed to the heat,
the temperatures averaged 1200 most of that summer.
They could also have walked back to Butte Valley, about five miles from where the van was found where they had bought an American flag that investigators found in the vehicle.
Another is that they met with foul play, their bodies were dumped and the van abandoned in Anvil Spring.
Cornelia and her son Max have been declared deceased.
Remains found in Death Valley have been identified as Egbert Rimkus. There were remains that were possibly those of Cornelia Meyer found as well, but they have not been identified.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Inyo County Sheriff's Office
The Daily Bulletin
The Las Vegas Sun
The San Bernardino Sun