Details of Disappearance Barbara was last seen in San Bernardino County, California on July 12, 2019. She was hiking in the Mojave Desert with her husband of fourteen years, Robert Thomas, when she disappeared. A photo of Robert is posted with this case summary. The couple is from Bullhead City, Arizona and had taken a short trip in their camper when they parked off Kelbaker Road and went for a two-mile hike to explore rock formations.
They only had a backpack, beer and a gallon of water with them, and Barbara was wearing a bikini due to the extreme heat. Temperatures that day were over 100 degrees. According to Robert, they were on the way back to their camper when he stopped to take a photo and his wife walked on ahead of him and vanished. He assumed he would find her when he arrived at the camper in a few minutes, but she wasn't there and the door was still locked. After calling for Barbara and searching the area for her, he called 911 and the police launched a search.
An extensive search turned up no indication of Barbara's whereabouts. She had no supplies, identification or cellular phone with her when she disappeared. Robert speculated that someone picked her up after he lost sight of her. In an interview with the media he stated he had failed a polygraph test and investigators viewed him as the prime suspect in her case. Barbara's relatives characterized Robert's story as "highly improbable" and said she had no history of illness and no reason to leave of her own accord.
It's not clear whether Barbara became lost in the desert or if there were other factors involved in her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.
- San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 5, 2020; casefile added.