Body Found at Chuchupate Campground

  • Crime investigators examine the area around the camping tent before examining the body inside. [Meyer photo]

    Crime investigators examine the area around the camping tent before examining the body inside. [Meyer photo]

By Gary Meyer
The Mountain Enterprise

FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (Thursday, Oct. 2 at 6:55 p.m.) — The body of a middle aged to elderly man was found at Chuchupate Campground today at 5 p.m. by campground visitors.

Yuma, Arizona resident Tim Villella came out to enjoy the local camping facilities, at the suggestion of his mother Joan Barker of Frazier Park. Villella spent two weeks camping at McGill Campground, then decided to move over to Chuchupate Campground above the ranger station.

"I got here Tuesday, September 30," Villella told The Mountain Enterprise at the scene. "It was very strange, I’ve been here two days and hadn’t heard a single sound, even though there was someone parked at the campground above me. No voices, no movement, not even a sneeze. So, when my mother visited today, I mentioned it to her and she became concerned," he said.

Joan Barker used to be a nurse and said she thought someone should check on the campsite occupants. "I told Tim I would go over and check their welfare and make sure they’re OK," she said.  "I shouted when I entered their campground, ‘Anyone here?’ and ‘Are you OK?’ as I approached the tent. Then I pulled the tent flap back and saw someone lying inside. I reached down to touch the toe as I said ‘Are you OK’ and felt the toe was ice cold. ‘Oh, my God’ I said and went directly back to Tim’s campsite, where I told him we had to get some help. I thought he might be dead," she said.

Barker went down to the ranger station to look for a phone, but couldn’t find one. She went around to the back where the firefighters stay and told them that "someone’s got to come help; there might be someone dead up there."

Sheriff’s deputies arrived within 20 to 30 minutes.

Ventura County Major Crime investigators told The Mountain Enterprise they believe it is not a suspicious death.

This is part of the October 03, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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