San Diego

Bodies of 2 People Found in Path of Border Fire

The bodies of two people were discovered on Wednesday morning on a property near Potrero, a border town where a massive fire has burned for the past week and a half.

A San Diego County medical examiner responded to the area, a remote spot on Highway 94 halfway between Potrero and Campo and in the path of the fire, on Wednesday afternoon.

The bodies are believed to be that of Jim Keefe and another woman; the two are beloved by Potrero community residents who have been searching for them since they disappeared on June 23.

Sheriff's officials originally responded to the area for reports of the missing couple. Once the remains were discovered, they called in investigators.

The two have not been officially identified by the medical examiner's office, but neighbors have identified them to NBC 7.

The circumstances surrounding the couple's death have not yet been released.

On Wednesday, community members had written heartfelt messages in the dust on Jim Keefe's colorful van, such as "Where are you, Jim?"

The couple lived off the grid without modern forms of communication, so neighbors were at a loss at attempting to find them.

Neighbors told NBC 7 that they first knew something was terribly wrong because they say Jim Keefe would never have left his beloved dogs behind.

The Keefes were well known throughout Potrero, and locals appreciated their artistic and eccentric personalities.

Since the couple went missing, community members have been taking care of their dogs.

"He was a nice guy. He was always someone I waved to," said neighbor Torrey Neel. "That's what makes it tough."

In the path of the Keefe property has been a 7,609-acre wildfire that's been burning since June 19 in the rugged border community in southeast San Diego County. It's now 95 percent contained, Cal Fire officials have said.

The blaze, dubbed the Border Fire, sparked near the border city of Potrero, which is located approximately 42 miles southeast of downtown San Diego.

In its path, five homes in Potrero were destroyed and a sixth sustained fire damage. Cal Fire said 11 other structures in the area, classified as outbuildings, were also destroyed.
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