Couple found dead at Silver Springs-area mine

SILVER SPRINGS - Autopsies performed on a Reno couple couple found dead Tuesday at a mine south of Silver Springs determined that the man died in an accident in the mine, while the woman died of natural causes, both about six weeks ago.

Lyon County sheriff's deputies found the bodies of Bruce Curtiss Kempffer, 62, and Momi Park Kempffer, 73, after being contacted to perform a welfare check at the Momi Mine, several miles south of the Carson River Bridge on Highway 95A.

When deputies arrived at the mine site shortly after noon Tuesday, they discovered Mrs. Kempffer's body near the mine's portal, according to Chief Deputy Ken Barnes. Another body was found inside the mine shaft beneath a large rock fall. A partial case of dynamite also was found in the mine.

Because the interior of the mine was unstable, staff members from the Nevada Department of Mine Safety came to examine it before recovery of the second body was attempted, according to Barnes. They determined the mine was unstable and recovery efforts were postponed to Wednesday, so adequate personnel and equipment could be obtained.

Experts from the Fallon Naval Air Station destroyed the explosives found in the mine, Barnes said.

On Wednesday, crews from the sheriff's department and the mine safety division and Lyon County Search and Rescue volunteers worked in four-man shift for seven hours to remove the body from the mine. Barnes said slides and rocks falling from the mine's ceiling slowed the process several times; however, there were no injuries to the recovery team members.

Autopsies on the victims were performed Thursday at the Washoe County Coroner's Office. The estimated time of the accident was based on the severe body decomposition.


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