End of Watch: October 23, 1928
On October 21, 1928, eighteen-year-old William Hyatt set off on a hunting trip in the Oracle area. When he failed to return the next day, his mother called the Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff James McDonald sent a posse of deputies and volunteers to search the area. They found nothing that day. The next day George Peck and Charles Mayse offered to search the area from their planes. Deputy Clifford Nelson, Harold Whitman, a Veteran’s Bureau employee, and Bruce McIntyre, a University of Arizona student, flew with Mr. Peck. As the plane circled the area, observers on the ground said that the plane seemed to just suddenly plunge to the earth. When deputies reached the crash scene, they found the charred shell of the aircraft and four bodies, burned beyond recognition.
William Hyatt’s body was found later that day – a victim of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound. Clifford Nelson was survived by his wife, a three-month-old baby, and a thirteen-year-old stepson.
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