Carl Steven Sanders

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Above Images: Carl, circa 2002

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: July 7, 2002 from Lander County, Nevada
  • Classification: Lost/Injured Missing
  • Date of Birth: October 20, 1953
  • Age: 48 years old
  • Height and Weight: 6'3, 230 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Biracial (Caucasian/Native American) male. Black hair, brown eyes. Carl may have a mustache.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A gold wedding band on his left hand.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Carl was last seen in the Big Smoky Valley in Lander County, Nevada on July 7, 2002. He and his wife, Debra Jean Sanders, were sightseeing east of Highway 376 when their car ran out of gas on a Forest Service road. The temperatures during that time reached 125 degrees, and Carl and Debra had no water or other provisions with them. They decided to walk to the main road for assistance.

    Debra was found in a delirious state by a motorist two days later and airlifted to the Washoe Medical Center in Reno, Nevada for treatment. She was suffering from dehydration and severe sunburn and was in critical condition. Carl was not with her and he has never been heard from again. Debra told authorities that they became lost and walked back and forth for three or four miles before separating. Searchers found Carl's shirt, cutoff shorts, and one of his sandals; it is common for individuals suffering from heat stroke to take off their clothes. He is believed to be still wearing his wedding band, however.

    Although the circumstances surrounding Carl's disappearance indicate that he got lost and perished in the desert, foul play is not being ruled out in his disappearance. His case remains unsolved. California police are assisting in the investigation; Carl and Debra lived in Fairfield, California in 2002.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Lander County Sheriff's Department
    775-635-5161

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    Source Information
    California Attorney General's Office
    NamUs
    North American Missing Persons Network
    The Reno Gazette-Journal

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated April 29, 2005.

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