Ex-GOP gubernatorial candidate rescued in North Idaho; wife found dead

Shoshone County deputies are investigating the rescue of Walt Bayes on Tuesday near a wildfire in rural North Idaho. His wife, Virginia, did not survive.

Deputies received a report around 1 p.m. that a man, later identified as Bayes, 79, of Emmett, was in need of rescue. He was located by firefighters from the Missoula Ranger District when they responded to a wildfire in the area. Firefighters told deputies at the time that Bayes’ wife was still missing.

Virginia Bayes, 74, was later found in a remote area near Bathtub Mountain near the St. Joe River.

Walt Bayes refused medical treatment.

The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and said Virginia Bayes’ cause of death was unknown Wednesday evening.

The nearby wildfire, called the Buck Fire, had grown to about 30 acres by the time Bayes was located. It was unclear Wednesday why the couple was in the area.

Walt Bayes gained notoriety when he challenged Gov. Butch Otter in the 2014 gubernatorial primary election and participated in a wild Republican debate.