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Tags: musician | wife | dead | desert

Calif. Musician, Wife Found Dead After Being Stranded in Desert

a road runs through caliornia's mojave desert
Caliornia's Mojave Desert (Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 26 August 2022 12:01 PM EDT

An 88-year-old musician and his wife of 60 years were found dead in the Mojave Desert in California after their car ran out of gas.

The bodies of Larry and Betty Petree were discovered Sunday, according to the Daily Mail. Larry, a popular pedal steel guitar player, was in the driver's seat, and Betty was found outside the vehicle, the outlet reported.

Police suspect no foul play, but family members said it was out of character for the couple to travel so far away from their home, located 60 miles away in Bakersfield, California.

"At this moment, I'm not sure exactly what happened," said Laurie Sanders, Larry's cousin, according to the Daily Mail. "What were they doing out there? They don't travel that far away from home."

Investigators noted that the couple's car did not appear to have any gas. Kern County Sheriff's Office said it will release the causes of death at "a later date."

"He was just a sweetheart of a guy and he was always there to help other people," family friend Kim Hays told KGET of Larry. "I just can't believe they're gone and in such a bizarre fashion."

For decades Larry played with the local band, the Western Swingsters, and passed up numerous offers to perform with more notable artists. He chose to keep his day job at the fire department, where he worked for 30 years, and stayed at home with his wife while playing the occasional gig. 

"You never expect such a tragedy," said fellow artist Jennifer Keel, who played with Larry over the years. "This has really caught me by surprise. Larry always had a smile and a kind word. He was a very well-respected musician, steel player, in the Bakersfield country music family.

"He just loved playing music, and even though he played with several bands through the years, he was always available to fill in any time you needed him."

Ernie Lewis, who had been a friend of the couple since the 1970s, described Larry Petree as "a joy to be around," especially on stage. 

"He was extremely knowledgeable when it came to chord progressions and fills," Lewis said. "He was the first individual to turn me on to Western swing, which was his favorite type of music. I still use the licks that I learned from him when I play today."

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TheWire
An 88-year-old musician and his wife of 60 years were found dead in the Mojave Desert in California after their car ran out of gas.
musician, wife, dead, desert
393
2022-01-26
Friday, 26 August 2022 12:01 PM
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