LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Now that the search has ended for an Indiana couple who went missing in the Nevada desert, their family members are calling for a change in Nevada law enforcement policies.
The Nye County Sheriff’s office confirmed Tuesday that 72-year-old Ronnie Barker and 69-year-old Beverly Barker had been found. Beverly was airlifted to a hospital in Reno, and Ronnie was found dead.
The Barker family tells 13 Action News Ronnie and Beverly were taking a west coast RV trip. They say the couple left Albany, Oregon, on March 26. They were bound for Tucson, Arizona, but didn’t make it that far.
The family says the couple traveled south toward Las Vegas. The last cell phone ping for the couple was near Coaldale on March 28, according to Esmeralda County Sheriff's Office. Family members say the cell phone ping happened on March 27.
A Silver Alert was issued by Nevada State Police on April 4.
Travis Peters is the nephew of Ronnie and Beverly. He describes his uncle and aunt as intelligent, tech-savvy, wonderful people.
Peters and other family members were frustrated a Silver Alert wasn’t issued sooner.
Nevada State Police made an exception for this case by issuing the alert. NSP procedures require the missing person to be from the state of Nevada in order to issue a Silver Alert.
That rule is something Peters wants to change.
“It flabbergasts me that a state that depends on tourism is not willing to take care of the tourists and that’s what it comes down to. To me, a life is a life. Who cares where they live? It makes no sense to me,” Peters added.
The search for the Barkers was a joint effort from Nye and Esmeralda counties as well as Nevada State Police.
Here’s a closer look at the criteria for a Silver Alert in Nevada:
- The person missing must be 60 years of age or older and diagnosed with a medical or mental condition.
- It also fits the criteria if the person goes missing under suspicious circumstances.
- The missing person must be from the state of Nevada.
- Law enforcement has to rule out an impaired mental state as a reason for the disappearance.
- The request for a Silver Alert must happen within 72 hours of the disappearance.