Man missing since late December found dead by rancher

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ASHFORK – A man who was reported missing just after the holidays was found dead on Friday morning.

Robert Lee Watts, 53, a resident of Kaibab Estates West, was reported missing on December 28 by a friend he was living with.

His friend said Watts had left on December 26 at about 6:30 a.m. with plans to drive to a store in Ashfork. He was driving a gray 2009 Toyota four-door sedan. The friend called authorities on December 28 to say Watts had not returned home and he had not been heard from.

Investigators discovered something similar had happened to Watts during August of last year and he was ultimately found by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit.

His body was found on Friday at about 11 a.m. by a rancher on the Randall Ranch. Watts’ body was found about 10 miles from his house. His car keys were in his pocket, but police did not find his car.

At about 2 p.m. Saturday, residents of the area spotted Watts' damaged and disabled vehicle off the road in the area of Terry and Coconino Boulevard.

Detectives are considering the possibility that Watts lost control of his vehicle, causing it to become stranded and disabled. Detectives are also considering the possibility that he left his vehicle on foot eventually becoming lost and disoriented.

Detectives say there is no indication of foul play but the investigation into his death is ongoing.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 774-4523.