Autopsies were pending Thursday on two bodies found in a previously evacuated site inside the Border Fire‘s 7,600-acre burn zone, which some area residents believed were a couple who went missing as the blaze spread.
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Neighbors searching Wednesday morning for missing Bell Valley-area residents Jim Keefe and his girlfriend, Kyrie, whose last name is unknown, found the charred bodies of a man and a woman between boulders on a hill off state Route 94, roughly 50 yards from the nearest home. Sheriff’s deputies had searched around where the pair lived and were planning to set out again when the bodies were discovered, authorities said.
Those who knew the couple speculated that they had likely perished while trying to round up their dogs. Keefe, known as “Barefoot Jim,” and his girlfriend were artists who lived out of a van and a small trailer they parked on a parcel owned by an acquaintance, neighbors told reporters.
The county Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to publicly identify the victims or confirm the causes of death. Personnel with the office said the identification process and next of kin notifications may take several days.
The Border Fire erupted for unknown reasons on the morning of June 19 and went on to destroy five homes and about a dozen outbuildings over the next several days. At last update, it had burned 7,609 acres and was about 97 percent contained.
— City News Service
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