Former White House Chef Drowned 25 Yards From Trail

Walter Scheib's death ruled an accident
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2015 1:58 AM CDT
Former White House Chef Drowned 25 Yards From Trail
In this July 27, 2004, photo, outgoing White House chef Walter Scheib greets chefs from around the world at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md.   (AP Photo/Matt Houston, Files)

The death of former top White House chef Walter Scheib appears to have been a tragic hiking accident, according to authorities in New Mexico. An autopsy of the 61-year-old determined that the cause of death was drowning, and officials say there was no sign of foul play, NBC News reports. Police say a search and rescue dog detected Scheib's body around 25 yards from the Yerba Canyon Trail outside Taos. Scheib apparently made it to the 12,115-foot summit of Mount Lobo but ran into trouble during stormy weather on the way back down, reports the Taos News, which describes the trail as "challenging in the best of times."

"Hillary and I are saddened by the tragic passing" of Scheib, who used "his immense talents not only to represent the very best of American cuisine to visiting leaders, but to make a difference in people's lives across the country through his support of numerous charities," Bill Clinton said in a statement. Scheib spent 11 years at the White House but was fired in 2005 after falling out of favor with the Bushes, the New York Times reports. "President Bush liked things simple," Scheib recalled in an interview with Highlights magazine a few years ago, per the Times. "No soup, salad, greens, or 'wet fish,' such as poached. If it wasn't baked or fried, he wasn't interested." (More White House stories.)

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