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Long-time Pima County gov't attorney Chris Straub found dead near Sedona resort

Located after going missing during fishing trip on 40th anniversary vacation

A long-time deputy county attorney for Pima County was found dead Wednesday afternoon a few miles north of Sedona, where he had gone fly fishing the day before, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. He was 64 years old.

Straub's wife Debbie was expecting him back in their hotel room at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night, two hours after the avid hiker and fisherman had set out to go fishing. When he didn't show up, his wife alerted law enforcement, who began searching for him soon after, officials said.

The couple were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary with the trip to Oak Creek Canyon, family friends said.

Straub was reported to be in great health with the exception of some hearing loss. However, the Coconino Sheriff’s search and rescue team found him dead at 12:25 p.m. Wednesday in thick overgrowth near the Orchid Canyon Resort in the Coconino National Forest, along State Route 89A. 

He appeared to have died after suffering a fatal accident, authorities reported, but his death is still under investigation. The Coconino County Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

Straub worked as a attorney for the Pima County Attorney's Office for more than 30 years, joining PCAO in 1990. He was the chief deputy of the Civil Division and served as counsel for the Pima County Board of Supervisors from 2006 to 2015. At the time of his death, Straub was the supervising attorney for PCAO’s Public Records Unit.

County officials gave their condolences shortly after hearing about his death. Supervisor Sharon Bronson, chair of the county board, said he was a devoted public servant and lovely man.

“This is devastating news,” she said. “Chris was a lovely man who ably and wisely advised the Board of Supervisors as the Chief Civil Deputy for more than 8 years. He and I shared a love for the outdoors and we would often discuss our most recent adventures before board meetings. He was a consummate professional who was devoted to public service, spending his entire career as a public lawyer, including more than 30 years with Pima County. All of us in Pima County will miss him greatly.”

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Pima County Attorney Laura Conover also gave her condolences, saying “our thoughts and condolences are with Chris’ family and everyone who loved him.”

Straub "was a good lawyer, very conscientious with a wry sense of humor," said former colleague David Berkman, who worked with Straub at PCAO for about 20 years. "He always tried to do the right thing. Everybody thought the world of him."

Services are pending.

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member.

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Courtesy of Pima County

Pima County Deputy Attorney Chris Straub was announced dead on Wednesday. He had been reported missing after he didn't return home from a fly fishing trip on Tuesday.