Searchers find body of senator’s brother
The search for the brother of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall ended in tragedy today when his body was discovered by searchers.
He was found in a remote area of the Wind River Range near Pinedale, Wyo.
James “Randy” Udall had gone missing after going on what was supposed to be a weeklong solo backpacking trip in the area, and was expected to finish by June 26. He was reported overdue on Friday.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Randy,” Udall said in a statement. “Our family is extremely grateful to Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford, his staff, Tip Top Search and Rescue, the United States Forest Service, Wyoming Air National Guard, and all others involved for their tireless efforts over the past several days. Although an autopsy is forthcoming, it appears he died of natural causes.”
The sheriff’s department said 30 searchers from multiple agencies scoured the area on foot over the past few days, including helicopters searching by air.
The search area covered 225 square miles.
Udall, 61, is an experienced backcountry enthusiast, as is his brother. Randy Udall has extensive experience hiking in the Wind River area.
“Randy left this earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world,” the Democratic senator said. “He appeared to be on the obscure, off-trail route that he had proposed to his family. The entire Udall family is touched beyond words by the tremendous outpouring of support from people around the country. Randy’s passing is a reminder to all of us to live every day to its fullest, just as he did.”
Randy Udall is an alternative energy advocate and energy analyst who has given speeches and written extensively on oil and gas development and efforts to develop oil shale in western Colorado and elsewhere.
He and his brother are the sons of the late U.S. Congressman Morris “Mo” Udall of Arizona. Mo Udall’s brother, Stewart, was a secretary of the Interior, and Stewart’s son, Tom, is a U.S. senator from New Mexico.