The twisted tale of Queho, the “last renegade Indian”

True Crime

MYSTERY WIRE — One of the Nevada’s most notorious killers was never caught. Queho is the name of the Native American who terrified frontier towns in the southwest for three decades but was never captured. So, in 2001, the George Knapp visited the spot where his remains were found. This story only aired once, in 2001 on KLAS TV in Las Vegas.


Queho is one of the Nevada’s most mysterious and terrifying figures. He was blamed for as many as 23 murders and was the target of a decades-long manhunt by various lawmen.

The mystery was solved in the 1940’s when his mummified remains were found in a cave near Lake Mead in southern Nevada, to the relief and joy of the masses. For the most part, the location of the cave has been kept secret.

The old Techatticup Mine is in the middle of what used to be a wild west mining camp known as Eldorado Canyon. It was during the camp’s peak that the legend of Queho blossomed, and not only because of the 23 people he supposedly killed.

Some of the stories are still repeated by locals.

“The miner was working and Queho come in about his lunchtime and the guy shared a sandwich that he had with Queho, and he thought for sure Queho was going to kill him. He knew it was Queho. And Queho offered to share some of Queho’s pack rat with the guy and the guy didn’t know it must have been pretty hard to say no, because you don’t want to offend him and Queho left him alone.”

The Queho posse are the men who hunted the outlaw, Queho. (Photo: UNLV Digital Collections –
Sherwin Scoop Garside Collection
)

For almost 30 years, lawmen and bounty hunters combed the rocky crags along the Colorado River in search of Queho, inspired by a then whopping reward of $3,000.

“Men were only making $4 a day,” Techatticup Mine owner Tony Werly said. “They would send two or three posses out after him for like two to three months, and they could still never catch him.”

In February 1942, prospectors followed Rough Rock Trail and stumbled upon the entrance to a hidden cave. Inside, they found the mummified remains of Queho. Lawmen were notified, pictures were taken with the skeleton, and the story was front page news even in Los Angeles.

The location of the cave is known to the National Park Service and to some locals, but in recent years has become known due to social media and advanced online mapping. One National Park Service employee said, “If they really think that they want to see it, I’ll give them directions.”

Clark Kenyon, Frank Waite, and Art Schroder pose with the mummified remains of Queho in front of the cave where they found him. (Photo: UNLV Digital Collections – Manis Collection)

The trek to Queho’s cave begins at Willow Beach on the Arizona side of the Colorado River. You start in a boat going down river. Eventually you’ll glide into a narrow inlet surrounded by a thicket of sinister thorns.

This is where the real fun begins. A hearty march through the thickets, up into the rocks, and finally almost straight up.

Inside the cave nothing remains of its former inhabitant, but Queho certainly picked a spot with a view. One that allowed him to see any lawmen heading his way. The skeleton showed his was a harsh existence and his meager possessions, weapons, and some food.

Some of those possessions including the worst pair of shoes you’ve ever seen, along with a handmade arrow are now held in Las Vegas at the Nevada State Museum in Lorenzi Park.

The entrance to Queho’s cave. (KLAS-TV)

Lawmen never caught Queho. So, how did he die? The theories include starvation, injury or snake bite.

After the discovery, there was a mad scramble with several claims of ownership for Queho’s remains. The bones sat in a funeral home for three years before the Elks Club purchased them and put them on display during the annual Helldorado celebration in Las Vegas. Once they were even shown riding in the back of a convertible during a parade.

Finally, a lawyer bought them for $100 and buried them in the Pahrump Valley in a spot with a good view. Despite his alleged crimes, Queho inspires grudging respect. He has been known through the years to many as “the last renegade Indian.”

A grave marker for Queho in the Pahrump Valley. (KLAS-TV)

Queho was blamed for all kinds of things. When anybody died, it was blamed on Queho. He was the all-purpose boogeyman of the time. He’s also blamed for stealing from Hoover Dam.

Some of the things found in his cave were from the dam construction site, so it is likely he was still around in the 1930s. His cave was quite few miles from there but he would roam far and wide.

There’s a story he encountered Harry Reid’s grandfather on the day that he supposedly killed two other people. He gave him a pass, otherwise somebody else would be our U.S. senator.

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