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Updated June 20, 2007
Jason Wayne McVean
The great Southwest manhunt of 1998 came to a quiet close on June 10, 2007.
The Great Southwest Manhunt of 1998 came to an end on June 10, 2007, not with blazing gunfire, but when a solitary cowboy got off his horse, walked over and tugged on what he thought might be a saddle blanket, partially buried in the soil of southeast Utah. He found what over 500 officers from 75 law-enforcement agencies, the FBI and National Guard units, using helicopters search dogs and Navajo trackers, could not find nine years earlier.
When the cowboy, Eric Bayles, of Blanding, Utah, pulled the material out of the dirt, it turned out to be a bulletproof vest. Further searching revealed a backpack. He saw some things in the backpack and noticed some other items, also mostly buried, that caused him immediately to contact the San Juan County, Utah, sheriff's office.
Teams of deputies and police officers searched the area and found a rusted AK-47 rifle with magazines holding about 500 rounds of ammunition, five pipe bombs, several bottles with water still in them, some survival food, a jacket, a hat, camouflage gear, amber-colored glasses, a watch that stopped at 6:35 on May 30, 1998 and most importantly, parts of a human skeleton including pieces of a skull and a jawbone with teeth.