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Apparently, there was a fatality at the Saline Valley warm springs source pool on December 20. 

I don't recall hearing about this, and I don't know why the NPS waited so long to announce it.

This first came to my attention via an Las Vegas Review-Journal headline (the article is behind a paywall) that was posted today on their website.

Quote:News Release Date: January 15, 2021

Contact: Abby Wines

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service report an accidental death of a man at Saline Valley Warm Springs on December 20, 2020. Donald Vanneman III was a 63-year-old resident of San Francisco.

Warm Springs Campground, along with all other Death Valley National Park campgrounds, is temporarily closed due to California’s Regional Stay at Home Orders. The volunteer campground host noticed Mr. Vanneman’s vehicle, but was unable to find him early on December 20. Later that day, two park visitors discovered his body in the Palm Springs source pool.

National Park Service regulations prohibit entry directly into the source pool at Palm Springs. Bathing is normally allowed in the man-made soaking tubs, however those are currently drained and closed due to COVID restrictions.


I also found the following January 8 public post on Facebook, on the page of Donna Kerr Vanneman:

Quote:My brother, 63 years old, passed away Dec. 20, 2020.  Donald was camping in Death Valley, CA.  Some campers found him, but his phone was dead and the computer was wiped out.  The coroner from Bishop, CA finally got a hold of me a week ago.  It is with sadness that I know he's in a better place.  
He graduated from Cornell Univ. and had a wonderful job at the Plaza Hotel.  Because he had AID's, he was the first 500 men to get the new drug in this study.  A year later, he was the only one that was alive.  He took those meds until he passed, some 40 years. 
Allen said he had some problem with his heart, but we don't what happened to him.  His dog was alive, but old, so they had to put him down.  For a long time, I will pray for Shakespreare and my brother.
Finally, he was a good man and loved to travel and camp.  He was generous and loving.  His service dog, Shakespeare was the love of his life along with his partner, Allen Sanchez.  Allen stayed with him for 29 years and believe me, he was a saint.  For me, I'm really sad that I didn't reach out to him earlier.  That is something I will have to live with.  Thanks for reading this.


She says they don't know what happened to him.  Isn't an autopsy required in a situation like this?  Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what she is referring to.
A recent Inyo Register, in its BADGE BYLINE column, reported a body found in Saline Valley, but no more details. I haven’t seen an article about it since.
Thanks for digging this one out, Candace. Curious of course. No idea what triggers an autopsy. I guess he wanted a soak and it sounds like the normal pools are empty to keep people away. Pretty remote out there is anything happens.
Article in today’s Inyo Register.
Here's another article. Adds a bit of an air of mystery, but no real additional facts.