Pilot finds missing man

The Churchill County Sheriff’s Office is awaiting autopsy results on a Fallon man who was found in the desert about 15 miles northeast of Fallon.

Sheriff Ben Trotter said the CCSO is investigating the death of Michael Gutierrez, 45, of Fallon who had been reported missing on Sept. 24. Trotter said the CCSO and Churchill County Search and Rescue combed the area for several days before finding Gutierrez.

“He was found in a bowl in the middle of the sand,” Trotter said. “It appeared that he had been there for a period of time.”

Trotter said Gutierrez had traveled on foot about three miles from his vehicle.

“He was wearing sandals, shorts and a T-shirt,” Trotter said. “The investigation is waiting on the full autopsy report from Washoe County, but it states no foul play.”

Trotter, though, said he understood Gutierrez may have had a medical condition.

An on-going community effort had been underway since the date of the report. Trotter said pilot Charlie Gomes spotted Gutierrez’s body on his third flight over the area.

Trotter said Gutierrez last spoke to family on Sept. 19 and did not report to work on Sept. 23. His family reported him missing the next day, and Trotter said an extensive air and land search was initiated.

Eight days ago, Trotter said Gutierrez’s 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser was located in the desert, and the search continued through Saturday.

Trotter thanked the Churchill County Search and Rescue (SAR), Gomes, CCSO Capt. Mark Joseph and numerous deputies for their numerous hours dedicated to the search.

Others Trotter cited for their assistance included Fire Chief Fred Rogne, pilot Jerry Frey, George Pomeroy, Willis Kroepelin, Joe Ranbo, Bill Lawry and Frank Gomes.

“This kind of responsiveness and citizen involvement is what make this community such a great place in which to live” Trotter said.


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