Nearly 40 Years After Paul Fugate Disappeared, Effort Renewed To Find Missing Ranger

Nearly four decades ago, on January 13, 1980, Ranger Paul Fugate took a break from his job at Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona to take a hike, and vanished.

Now renewed interested in the case has prompted the National Park Service to triple its reward to $60,000 for information that could solve the mystery.

Without providing details, the Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch announced Tuesday that new information has prompted NPS investigators and Cochise County (AZ) Sheriff Mark Dannels to renew their request for the public’s help in solving the 38-year-old mystery.

Ranger Fugate, then age 41, was working in the monument’s visitor center on the day he disappeared. At about 2 p.m. that day, he left the building to hike a park trail and was never seen again. Ranger Fugate was wearing his “green and gray” Park Service uniform, including the official NPS Arrowhead patch on his upper shirtsleeve and a gold-colored ranger badge pinned over his heart.

Although search teams combed the surrounding area extensively multiple times, they found no sign of the missing ranger, a Park Service release said. Investigators suspected foul play early on, and a formal missing-person case remains open.

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