Questions continue to swirl as to why a well known Douglas rancher was shot and killed Saturday.
Approximately 14 hours earlier Krentz’ brother Phil said he had communication come over his hand held radio from his brother but because of the gusty winds the transmission was garbled and the only words Phil was able to make out were “illegal alien” and “hurt”.
The two brothers were later scheduled to meet at a predetermined location on the ranch around noon but Robert never showed up.
After waiting a short while the brother and several other family members began searching for the missing Krentz but to no avail.
Around 6 p.m. Saturday the Cochise County Sheriffs Dept. was called in to help search for the missing Krentz somewhere on the 35,000 acre ranch.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team deployed to the area with six mobile units and two all terrain vehicles, as well as air support assistance from the Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter.
Shortly before midnight the helicopter crew advised that they had located the missing subject who was deceased inside of his Polaris ATV and his dog was with him appeared to be injured.
Sheriff’s deputies and detectives responded to the area and confirmed that Krentz was deceased at the scene and his dog critically injured.
Investigators tracked the Polaris path back approximately 1000 feet to where the incident allegedly began.
At a press conference Monday, in Bisbee Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said spin out marks at the scene indicate Krentz left in a hurry before succumbing to his injuries.
Dever said foot tracks of a single person were identified at the scene and followed south by Sheriff’s Deputies, trackers from U.S. Border Patrol, and Department of Corrections dog chase teams approximately twenty miles south to the United States / Mexico border.
Dever said they have no idea if the suspect is a man or woman and of what nationality.
Even though they have no suspects at this time, Dever said the investigation is far from over.
The Sheriff also reported Monday that the day before Krentz’ death, 290-pounds of marijuana had been discovered on the ranch and that Phil had assisted the Border Patrol in the apprehension of the illegal drugs and eight illegal aliens.
Robert Boatwright of the U.S. Border Patrol said because the illegals were a considerable distance away from the marijuana they were not charged with the smuggling and instead taken into custody for being in the country illegally.
“The Krentz’ are good friends of the Border Patrol,” Boatwright said.
Dever said Krentz was a personal friend of his and he is both sadden and angry by this senseless killing.
“Rob was a good man,” Dever said. “All of Cochise County is affected by this senseless shooting.”
Dever did confirm that Krentz was armed at the time of the shooting but that the rifles were still in their cases and results indicate they had not been fired nor was there a scuffle of any kind.
“Our investigation reveals he never got off his vehicle,” Dever said. “When his body was discovered the (ATV) was still running and the lights were on.”
The Sheriff said the Krentz family is not doing well right now and is asking for time to come to grips with this tragedy.
“Nothing justifies this,” Dever said.
The Sheriff is concerned local residents may start taking matters into their own hands when it comes to protecting themselves and based on previous activity out in that area he is hoping the federal government will now take a more active role in protecting our borders.
Since Krentz’ shooting Dever said he has received calls from all over the U.S. from various government officials wanting additional information.
“It’s unfortunate it took something like this to happen,” Dever said.
Krentz’ is survived by his wife Susan and three children. Funeral arrangements are pending.