RENO (KLAS) — The RV and car where an Indiana couple, lost in a remote area of Nevada, spent their final moments together before one of them died have both been recovered. Dave Sparks is with a group called Heavy D out of Moab, Utah, and called the recovery of the vehicles “one of our most bittersweet recoveries yet.”
The story of Ronnie and Beverly Barker’s ill-fated journey through Nevada has captured interest across the country. The couple, who left Oregon, was headed to Tucson, Arizona but never made it.
They got lost in the remote mountains of Esmeralda County after their GPS directed them on a road leading up a mountain. Their RV became stuck in the gravel on March 27 and their survival ordeal began. They were towing a Kia Soul and decided to go for help in that vehicle the next morning but after taking another wrong turn, they were stuck again.
They would spend seven days in that vehicle. It was too much for 72-year-old Ronnie who died on April 4, one day before the couple was rescued. Although 70-year-old Beverly had not eaten for nine days and had little water, she survived.
Barker family members have questioned what they say was a slow response by some Nevada authorities to reports of the missing couple.
The recovery of the RV and Kia Soul was a challenging mission for Dave Sparks and his search and rescue team. Over the weekend he and his team were able to recover both of the Barker’s vehicles that had been stuck on a rural Nevada mountain for days.
“It was awful to see because you can feel their stress,” Dave Sparks who led the recovery told 8 News Now. “Coming across their stress with items and water bottles. The masks she was using to collect water.”
Sparks is a mechanic on the Discovery “Diesel Brothers” TV show and runs a YouTube channel with close to 2 million subscribers. He says the series of mistakes were clear, but heartbreaking as the elderly couple did what they could to survive. “I got choked up when I saw her walker sitting there by the door of the car after trying to climb up and down the mountain.”
Sparks and his team returned the RV to Beverly Barker Sunday night in Reno. He also had the following piece of advice for anyone, “Even driving in your regular car, buy one of those medical care kits. You can never be over-prepared.”