Here is the description of a visit to the hideout of an outlaw who was never captured or brought to trial but is accused of murder, robbery and other crimes in an area of the Nevada/Arizona border country as late at 1940.
I have visited Queho’s cave in the isolated, desolate arid county of the Lower Colorado River on the border of Nevada and Arizona. With the extensive research I have done with archeologist in the area and literature research, I find this mystery of this Amerindian very compelling. Just another of the many mysteries waiting to be solved from the Mojave desert.
There is a lot of mystery about the subject of our blog today. Who was Queho? Where did he originate? Was he justly accused of murder? Does he qualify as one of the first serial killers in North America?
Much of the evidence against Queho was revealed when in 1940 a National Park Service Ranger, a local resident and the county sheriff found his mummified body in this rockshelter/cave in the inhospitable canyons south of Boulder City, Nevada and across the Lower Colorado River from Arizona. You may say the mine security badge, rifle, shotgun and many other items in the cave were circumstantial evidence and connections to some of the murders that had occurred in this remote area of Mojave Desert.
The Cave is on the Nevada side of the Lower Colorado River downstream from Willow Beach fourteen miles south of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. We launched two boats at the beach and headed down with the current, since this part of the Lower Colorado River is almost free-flowing inspite of the dams both up and downstream. In our group were several archeologists, a National Park Service representative and myself. Our first stop was on the Arizona side at CatClaw Cave, a pre-historic site for the various Amerindian cultures that lived in this area. The site at CatClaw Cave was first excavated in the 1940’s and showed artifacts and indications of food habits by the people who stopped here. The evidence showed a dependance on eating native fishes from this part of the river. These fishes included Colorado PikeMinnow, Bonytail Chub and Razorback Suckers all species that are now endangered because of the dams up and down the Colorado River. Our visit was a chance for the archeologists who work for the National Park Service and the Bureau of Reclamation to monitor the condition of the Cave.
Then it was back in the boats and downstream to measure (if we could find it) Queho’s Cave. You have to give Queho credit for hiding out in a very remote canyon and finding a Cave/rockshelter that was hidden to say the least. From the river it was almost a two thousand foot climb to the Cave with few landmarks and no well defind trail. With some searching and a few missed turns along the way and quite a bit of sweat soaking our shirts me did find the Cave. The National Park Service was especially eager to accurately measure the Cave’s dimensions. The opening of the Cave is very well hidden by rock layers and boulders surrounding the entrance. It is easier to see the entrance from surrounding ridges than from the canyons downhill.
There are springs in the canyons and down at the Colorado River of course, but none seem to be close to the Cave. He may have spent time camping near the river or using brush shelters as his ancestors did, especially in the extreme heat of summer along the Lower Colorado River. But he must have used other sites closer to water some of the time. He was strong of lungs and legs to roam as freely in this part of the Mojave Desert but it seems a waste of resources to haul water everyday to the cave site.
All of the equipment and belongs of Queho were removed along with his body many years before our visit. But we were happy to have climbed and sweated our way to the site. This was in early spring and we still required a half gallon of drinking water apiece for our climb. Once the measurements and photos were taken we climbed back down to the boat and headed back to Willow Beach and then to Boulder City, NV were the USBR and NPS people are stationed. In a future blog I will present details of Queho’s life, evidence of the crimes committed in the area and we can see if Queho is one of the first serial killers of the Old West.