MISSING MAN'S BODY FOUND NEAR HIS STALLED CAR; 80-YEAR-OLD GLENDALE RESIDENT HAD CALLED HOME THREE WEEKS AGO TO SAY HE WAS LOST.
The body of an 80-year-old Glendale man missing for three weeks was found Tuesday in the desert west of Rosamond.
Alexander Betaivaz's body was found about one-third of a mile from his Toyota Corolla, which was discovered stuck in sand along a narrow path through the sagebrush several miles past the western end of Rosamond Boulevard.
``We basically found the body fairly quickly,'' said Glendale police Sgt. Rick Young. ``It was the only reasonable way for him to start walking.''
Glendale police, Kern County sheriff's deputies, search team volunteers and California Highway Patrol officers combed the desert looking for any sign of Betaivaz after the discovery of the car by an off-roader.
``What we believe is he wandered away from the main road onto a trail,'' said Glendale police spokesman Chahe Keuroghelian. ``His car got stuck in the sand.''
The car got stuck about two miles from a building, and searchers think Betaivaz might have started walking toward a light he could see on it. The man apparently had been dead for weeks, Young said.
``He tried to walk off,'' Sgt. Bill Fishback said. ``The best we're able to determine is he got lost. He apparently got stuck in some sand and ran out of gas. He tried to walk out and he died of exposure. He wasn't far from his car.
Apparently, he got turned around out there,'' Fishback said. ``It's hard to say if he was walking back to his car or walking away from his car.''
Betaivaz vanished May 19 after leaving home for a doctor's appointment in North Hollywood.
Since he disappeared, family, friends and law enforcement officials focused their search on the Antelope Valley because Betaivaz was last known to have been at the California Pantry restaurant on Palmdale Boulevard.
He called his wife from there to say he was lost and to ask directions home. His daughter gave him directions, but he never made it home, officers said.
During the weekend, an off-roader spotted the abandoned car in the sparsely inhabited desert about 20 miles west of Rosamond, several miles from where paved Rosamond Boulevard ends at 170th Street West, said CHP Officer Bobbi Record.
The man took down its license number and contacted authorities.
The CHP sent out an airplane and an officer in a four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle, who found the car Monday afternoon after 2-1/2 hours searching.
PHOTO (color in AV edition) Alexander Betaivaz
Car became stuck