On January 26th, law enforcement rangers received a report from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office regarding a possible suicidal person in in Death Valley. The sheriff’s office had few details other than that he was posting ominous messages to Facebook about his intention to end his life in the park, adding that he was just searching for the right location.
Through investigation, rangers determined that he owned and might be in possession of three handguns, a 12 gauge shotgun, knives, and medieval weaponry. It was also learned that he might be intending to harm law enforcement officers.
Rangers monitored the man’s Facebook page and began searching areas with enough connectivity to post messages and pictures to the internet. Drawing from the terrain features in the background of his photographs, rangers put together a likely search area. They also contacted the man’s cell phone provider and requested that they attempt to geo-locate the phone through “pinging”, which was unsuccessful.
On January 27th, the man posted a photograph of himself pointing to his chosen area. Rangers quickly identified the area where the photograph was taken and responded. A short time later the cell phone provider located the man’s cell phone in the same area identified in the photograph.
The rangers found him and made a high-risk traffic stop. An Inyo County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived on scene after the stop was made and placed the man in custody on a California Welfare and Institutions Code 5150 for a mental health assessment.
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