Longtime California musician and his wife were found dead on a desert dirt road in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

The bodies of Larry and Betty Petree were discovered Sunday afternoon east of California City, according to KGET. Larry Petree’s body was in the driver’s seat while Betty was found outside the couple’s car, leaning against the rear tire.

Kern County Sheriff’s Office, who did not immediately identify the Petree’s, does not suspect criminal activity played a factor in the couple’s death.

The Petrees, who had been married for over 60 years, are believed to have run out of gas and were stranded, according to the outlet.

Larry Petree played pedal steel guitar.
Larry Petree was a veteran of the Bakersfield Sound era.
The Soda Crackers/Facebook
Larry Petree and the Soda Crackers before their performance.
Larry Petree had recently performed with local band the Soda Crackers.
The Soda Crackers/Facebook

Larry Petree, 88, had just performed with the band the Soda Crackers at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame benefit concert on July 30. He was a beloved musician of the Bakersfield Sound era in the 1950s and played pedal steel guitar.

Kim Hays, a friend of the couple, discussed her shock about the Petree’s tragic passing with KGET.

“He always had a smile on his face,” Hays told the outlet. “He was just a sweetheart of a guy and he was always there to help other people. I just can’t believe they’re gone and in such a bizarre fashion.”

Zane Adamo, the fiddler of the Soda Crackers, mourned Larry Petree’s loss on social media.

“We had the honor of having Larry as our steel guitarist at our first ever show in Bakersfield,” Adamo said on Facebook.

“And had the even greater honor of playing with him for his last show a few weeks ago. We send our condolences to the Petree family and the greater Bakersfield Sound community.”

Kern County Sheriff’s Office said it will release the Petree’s cause of death at “a later date.”


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