A Cornell couple who was last seen Tuesday leaving Yellowstone National Park was found by a rancher Monday morning.

Troy Barnett, owner of the K Bar Z Guest Ranch in Cody, Wyo. found Mark and Kristine Wathke, County K, Cornell, stranded in their 2012 Kia Forte. The car was stuck in heavy snow.

The Wathkes were missing since 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

When found, both were hungry and cold, but otherwise unharmed.

Barnett found the pair at about 8:30 a.m. Monday with plenty of fuel in their car, which they relied on to start periodically to stay warm.

Barnett told police that the Wathkes had enough water, but a limited amount of food.

The car was stuck in the snow along the Beartooth Highway, which was posted as closed since mid-September due to hazardous driving conditions.

Barnett took his snowmobile to search for the couple after he heard reports they were missing, according to the Park County Sheriff’s Department.

“Residents in this area often volunteer their time and resources to assist in rescue operations,” Park County Sheriff Scott Steward said.

“Barnett’s actions in this instance possibly saved this couple from serious harm. I commend him for his unselfishness.”

According to the press release:

The couple had hotel reservations in Miles City, Mont. for Tuesday evening, but never arrived.

The Wathkes contacted family members on Tuesday, Oct. 29 from inside the park to let them know they would be home Wednesday.

No calls were made from the couple’s cell phone after they made contact with family.

(1) comment


Scary...I would bet they are thanking their heavenly stars that this man came along and rescued them. My question is, if the highway was posted as closed, why would they venture on to it anyway? Very lucky, blessed couple....

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