FARMINGTON — Ricky Gilmore, the paraplegic left in the desert for three days without his wheelchair, has been released from the hospital.

Gilmore, 49, arrived home Nov. 16 after spending a month bed-ridden at the Northern Navajo Medical Center, and then at a San Juan Regional Medical Center rehabilitation site.

While his two-bedroom home outside of Newcomb is not much, he said, it feels good to be home.

"Every morning, from my window, I look out at that mountain," Gilmore said Tuesday. "I could have been dead on that other side of that mountain."

Gilmore survived two cold nights without food, water, warm clothing, or a wheelchair after an unidentified man and a woman allegedly abandoned him about 10 miles north of his home in Newcomb.

Gilmore had been hitchhiking and drinking with the pair when the man forced Gilmore out of the vehicle. During that nearly 72-hour period, Gilmore was forced to drag himself several miles on a dirt road to try to reach the nearest main road, U.S. Highway 491, because no one stopped to help him.

The first who did, 73-year-old Wilfred Sisco of Tocito, likely saved Gilmore's life on the third day.

The same day, Gilmore reported the incident to the Shiprock Police Department, which could not comment on whether the responding officer yet had completed the report, which Gilmore filed Oct. 18.

The department deferred all questions to Navajo Nation Chief of Police Ivan Tsosie, who has been unavailable for comment in recent weeks.


Tsosie, also the Capt. of the Shiprock Police Department, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

"I've been trying to call, and they haven't gotten back to me," said Gilmore.

Gilmore since has tried to have a positive outlook, though he is struggling with bills and remains in pain. Gilmore's wounds continue to "fester," he said, though they are healing and a nurse visits him twice a week to help him take care of himself and his wounds.

He also has had a hard time finding transportation, since he used to rely on hitchhiking.

"I'm not going to hitchhike. I've been tempted," he said.

Instead, he has had the help of some friends and family, but their availability is limited. Being home is still better than the hospital, though.

"I can get up and clean. I can get up and cook. I can go outside and smell the fresh air," said Gilmore, who spent the past month watching television and drawing on a paper pad given to him by a friend.

In one picture, Gilmore depicted himself under the desert sky with the stars spelling out "so cold."

"I really don't want to dwell on it," said Gilmore, who still has nightmares about the experience but has been lifted by letters of support from across the nation.