Searchers in the New Mexico mountains have found the body of a former White House chef with Atlanta connections who had been missing for more than a week after a hiking trip.
The body of 61-year-old Walter Scheib, who was White House chef for 11 years under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, was found Sunday night near a hiking trail in the Taos area, according to the New Mexico State Police.
“The body was discovered off the immediate trail,” police said in a statement.
Scheib, who had recently moved from Florida to Taos, worked with Atlanta’s City of Refuge, which provides services to homeless and abused residents, for more than three years. He assumed the role of chief culinary officer in January as a contract employee, according to Terry Tucker, chief strategy officer for the shelter.
City of Refuge, at 1300 Joseph E. Boone Blvd., provides shelter to the homeless, treatment of substance and physical abuse, mental health services, tutoring for kids, clean clothing and meals. Its 180 Degree Kitchen offers job training and helps generate funds through a catering service.
Tucker said Scheib taught the culinary students at the shelter, headlined events and collaborated to open a fine dining Bistro on City of Refuge’s campus.
“We are unbelievably saddened that our friend will no longer be with us,” Tucker said Monday. “He was a mentor for a lot of our residents. We look forward to finding an appropriate way to honor him here at City of Refuge.”
Scheib reportedly went on a hike June 13 in the mountains near the Taos Ski Valley. His girlfriend reported him missing the next day.
Taos police found his vehicle Tuesday parked at the Yerba Canyon trailhead. The 4-mile trail follows a canyon bottom before climbing 3,700 feet in elevation, according to the U.S. Forest Service website.
The Air Force, Civil Air Patrol, National Guard, State Police and volunteers took part in the search for Scheib, who graduated from New York’s Culinary Institute of America in 1979 and worked at hotels in Florida and West Virginia before becoming White House executive chef in April 1994 when First Lady Hillary Clinton hired him.
Scheib left the White House in 2005, becoming a food consultant and speaker. He appeared on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” program in 2006.
— The Associated Press and staff writers Chris Seward and Daniel Funke contributed to this article.