Ex-UFC Champ Found Dead in SoCal Desert (via AssociatedPress)
Military.com has far and away the most detailed report about what happened to Evan. He didn't run out of gas, and in contradiction to what Five Ounces of Pain quoted from the Imperial Valley Press, Tanner did have water at his base campsite:
Tanner arrived at his campsite on Sept. 3 and set out to Clapp Spring, about five miles away, the next morning, based on the GPS retrieved from his body, said Jeff Green, De Anza Rescue commander.
"Tanner had sent a friend a phone text message on Thursday afternoon stating that he was at Clapp Spring and had run out of water," said Green. "Tanner told his friend he would travel back to his camp at night, when it's the coldest, and to contact authorities if he wasn’t heard from by 8 a.m. Friday."
The campsite was found abandoned, with Tanner's motorcycle and additional provisions and water, at noon on Sept. 6.
"De Anza Rescue found Tanner's tracks at Clapp Spring early Saturday, confirming that he reached the area," said Keck. "We followed the trail until they lost it at the base of a mountain."
SAR Marines picked up the trail later that afternoon, before ending the day's search at nightfall, said Keck.
De Anza Rescue and station SAR continued to search the area on Sept. 7.
Imperial County Sherriff's Office called SAR Marines out again on Sept. 8. Yuma Marines spotted Tanner's body 1.2 miles away from his campsite at about 12:30 p.m., said Keck.
After the body was found, station SAR flew a coroner to the scene once he arrived from El Centro, Calif.
SAR Marines then airlifted the body to the nearby town of Palo Verde, Calif., where the body was released to the coroner.
The coroner determined the time of death to be between late night on Sept. 4 and the morning of Sept. 5, and the cause of death to be heat exposure, said Green.
Based on the stories that Evan had run out of gas I was afraid he had really been foolish in the desert, but it appears that he simply underestimated how much water he would need for a 10 mile round trip hike away from his base camp. Those SoCal deserts are killers, even for an exceptionally strong man like Tanner. Its good to know he was supplied with more water and gasoline at his base camp. Tragic that he died during the night trying to return to camp. Hiking at night always a risky proposition. God speed Evan.
[UPDATE] by Nick Thomas - MMA Fight Weekly Tribute:
Also see Remembering Evan Tanner