Michael Sean Grenley, 41 years old, left his home near 75th Ave and Deer Valley in north Glendale, at 1pm on July 19th. His wife had thought he had simply gone to get lunch, but concerned, reported him missing later that day after he did not return.
Michael enjoyed driving his Jeep Rubicon to remote areas north of Phoenix, and quickly there was speculation he may have simply gone for a ride in the desert. On August 6, 2011, a motorcyclist discovered Michael’s remains near his Jeep approximately 10 miles north of Lake Pleasant and notified Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. A spokesperson for sheriff’s office indicated the Jeep was found with the front end stuck on a large boulder.
Arizona is known for its rough terrain in the area north of Lake Pleasant. Many venture north on 4x4s, dirt bikes and quads thru unmaintained trails between Lake Pleasant and Crown King, a popular place for avid off-road enthusiasts due to its spectacular scenery and challenging landscape. Though lovely, the Arizona wilderness is also quite unforgiving.
Michael’s cause of death has not been publicly released, however the Medical Examiner indicates there was no sign of foul play or a struggle. On the day of Michael’s disappearance Arizona experienced a Haboob, a storm that created a nearly 3,000-4,000 foot high wall of dust at approximately 4:30pm as it rolled through the counties of Pinal and Maricopa, causing hazardous driving conditions throughout the valley. In addition to driving hazards, temperatures in Arizona, July through August can range from 90-128 degrees, along with potential dangers of flash-flooding where in a matter of minutes 10-30 foot walls of water can fill dry creek beds.
It is not known if weather conditions contributed to Michael’s death but in Arizona, for those suffering from a medical condition, exposure to high temperatures and possible lack of water can quickly cause health complications and death due to exposure.
Posted on an off-road website, a member wrote, “This is a sad reminder to all of us to always bring another person and be well-equipped when traveling off-road.”
Michael Grenley is survived by his wife, Melissa, of 17 years and 6 year-old son. His wife described Michael as a wonderful father and regrets he won’t be there to see their 6-year-old son grow up.
Author – Kym L. Pasqualini
Founder of National Center for Missing Adults
& Social Network Advocate
Missing Persons Advocacy Network