Investigators looking for a former White House executive chef traced his cellphone signal to a mountain in New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley the day he disappeared last week, ABC News has learned.
Walter Scheib, 61, was reported missing by his girlfriend when he did not return home from a hike 10 miles outside of Taos last Saturday. He had worked for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Investigators traced his cellphone signal near Lobo Peak, which rises to 12,000 feet, said Bob Rodgers, who is leading the operation for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
Searchers believe Scheib was hiking down the mountain when he disappeared, said Rodgers.
A search of Scheib’s home found that his fishing gear was missing, said New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo. It’s unclear whether he took it on his hike as he was known to be a boating and fishing enthusiast.
Armijo said a search of his car found nothing abnormal. The car was locked and his wallet was underneath a seat.
So far, investigators have found no evidence of foul play.
“As time progresses, the mission is less hopeful,” she said.
His family told police that he enjoyed hiking but qualified as an amateur, said Armijo. They also told police he had no known health issues.
Scheib, who authored a White House cooking memoir and appeared on the cooking show “Iron Chef America,” was hired by Hillary Clinton to work in the White House kitchen in 1994 after serving her a pecan-crusted rack of Australian lamb, he once said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
He went on to serve as the president’s top chef for 11 years, preparing daily meals and state dinners alike for Clinton and Bush.
SOURCE: DEVIN DWYER and BENJAMIN SIEGEL