The body of a man missing since September has been positively identified as that of Charles L. “Chuck” Harper, 60, of Moapa.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said the identification was made this week by the Clark County Coroner’s office in Las Vegas.
Harper had been missing since Sept. 24 when he left home following an argument with his wife.
Lee said the body was found, “sitting under a tree in the Brown Water Springs area near the Atlanta Mines. He was found March 17 by “a shed hunter from Utah, looking for shed antlers.”
The hunter was following a game trail and came upon the body resting against a tree. Lee said it was in fairly good condition, the clothing was intact and did not look as it had been disturbed by animals. He immediately contacted the Sheriff’s department and by using GPS coordinates was able to lead deputies to the scene. Positive identification was made through dental and medical records.
Lee declined to give the cause of death, other than to say it was self-inflicted.
The Moapa Valley Progress reported in an article in late September that Harper’s wife, Bella, said following an argument between the couple, he left their home, “basically with just the clothes on his back. The only thing he had with him was his driver’s license and a debit card.” Harper had done this before, his wife said, “but usually he would go into Overton to the Red Rooster or some other destination fairly close to home. He had never stayed away overnight before.” Las Vegas Metro issued a statewide bulletin for a missing person.
On November 4, 2016, Lee said a Fish and Wildlife ranger patrolling the Atlanta Mines area reported finding Harper’s vehicle, a 2000 white Ford F-250. The ranger said he had seen the vehicle in that spot a couple of weeks before, but thought it might just be hunters. However, after seeing the same vehicle, in the same location, much later, he became suspicious and investigated. He ran the plates and it came back a missing person out of the Las Vegas jurisdiction. The ranger said the “keys were still in the vehicle, but no wallet or anything else.”
Lee said a three-day search covering wider and wider areas, was initiated eventually involving some 40 people from Lincoln County Search and Rescue, Washington County Search and Rescue, Iron County, with dogs, a four-horse mounted unit, a drone, ATVs and others on foot, but found nothing.
Lee said the body was found about two miles away from his vehicle and half-a- mile beyond the search area that had been covered in November. “I expected hunters or hikers would eventually find it, and am surprised, as well as pleased, the discovery was made this soon.”