Desert Apes

West (Texas) Regional Bigfoot Sightings  by Sharon Cornet 


Click on picture to enlarge 

Bigfoot article from the El Paso Times 

(Horizon City lies on the SE end of El Paso)

See This Article

Click on pictures to enlarge 

El Paso Franklin Mountains and Desert



Desert Apes Intro | My Son and Nephew's Bigfoot Sighting Near Las Cruces, NM | EP Times: Some residents believe in Horizon City's monster | Horizon City Bigfoot Sighting | "Tailless Monkey" Seen in El Paso Desert
Note: Three Rivers Sighting removed, among others…

NOTE: This page was made when Sharon Cornet lived in El Paso, TX (she moved to Washington state in 2010)

Desert Apes Introduction

I honestly never thought that my paranormal (UFO) investigations would lead to Bigfoot (other than general interest), but after my son's sighting (and my nephew with him, also having heard the creature) it was inevitable that the tide had turned and that bigfoot was now to become a much more commonly spoken of - and sought after - creature in our lives.  The Native Americans of this country have many different names for Bigfoot, Sasquatch being only one of them.  The Sioux have called Bigfoot "elder brother" or "big brother" and claim that when such a creature is spotted, that major change is about to occur in your life.  For us, this could not be more true!

Who would have thought that Bigfoot, who is well known to hide deep in the forests all over the planet, would be seen in the dry southwest desert?  But that is exactly where our family's first sighting occurred!  I have since discovered, through the help of the Texas Bigfoot Research Center (TBRC) and the Bigfoot Research Organization (BFRO) that there are many other more current sightings in the El Paso regional area, as well as many past sightings, especially in the Franklin Mountains (esp. near Anthony Gap), the Hueco Mountains, south of El Paso in the valley which is more near the Rio Grande river, as well as north towards the Mescalero Indian Reservation and Las Cruces, NM.  Bigfoot is rarely thought to wander far from the forest, but it seems that he/she has done so, and on more than one occasion!  Possibly even living out in desert caves, in the dryer mountains, or other hidden places.

I am going to include below a number of sightings and reports.  Some are from the past and some more recent.  All data on dates and locations will be included.  Names are given where known or allowed.  Please keep reading to the bottom as there is a map where I've plotted approximate locations of Bigfoot sightings.  This page will continue to be updated as new information arrives and is placed here.  Some of these can be found on the TBRC or BFRO websites as well.  All sources are listed.  It's all rather fascinating!  Read on....



My Son and Nephew's Bigfoot Sighting Near Las Cruces, NM 

Submitted by Sharon Eby & Investigated by TBRC


Submitted by witness on Wednesday, December 5, 2001.

DATE: Nov. 24, 2001

SEASON: Winter

STATE: New Mexico

NEAREST TOWN: Las Cruces, NM, just north of El Paso, TX.

OBSERVED: We were camping for Thanksgiving week. There were 3 adults, 2 teenagers and 2 small children. My 14 yr old son was outside in the night getting me something from our SUV when he turned to see what he described as an 8' tall humanoid shaped figure walking south in the half-moonlight. He had no flashlight to look closer but when he saw it/him/her (I'll just call it an "it") he got scared and ran into the trailer where we all were. The weather was fairly cold (just a little above freezing if I remember right) and it was just after a sandstorm had passed through the two days before. All was clear with few clouds in the sky that night. Once inside he told us and we laughed and thought he was joking so we suggested that perhaps, because of it's size, that it was Bigfoot. I have a friend who knows/knew some people and had heard of at least 4 Bigfoot sightings in the El Paso Franklin Mountain area over the last decade or so, especially in the "Anthony Gap" pass on the north side of the Franklin Mountains outside of El Paso... so anyway, it was not unheard of to know of Bigfoot sightings in the desert even though they usually live in forested areas. We have, within an hours drive of there, many forested and wooded areas in the mountains all over New Mexico and it is not a far reach to think they would roam outside their territory on occasion... especially in the dark of night.

So after we got a good laugh my nephew, age 18, took his flashlight and they stood just outside the trailer looking to see if they could see this 8' tall figure my son claimed to have seen. Just then, although they didn't see anything, they heard a very large growl, like a warning sound or angry sound type growl, along with a shuffling of the dirt, or digging of the dirt with a foot(?) which reminded my nephew of a bull scraping the dirt with it's foot just before it runs towards you. The boys both freaked out completely and ran inside the trailer falling down and slamming the door behind them all at the same time. They were yelling and absolutely CONVINCED that whatever it was that was outside made the growl. I asked a series of questions, still not believing that they weren't trying to fool us, and I could plainly see that Derek was totally freaked out and absolutely unwilling to go outside anymore. He was truly afraid... it was then that I realized it was real. I suddenly got this feeling that we were in danger, although I had not heard of a Sasquatch /Bigfoot attacking anyone before (except once when the stupid people threw rocks at one).

We just stayed inside peeking out the windows with flashlights trying to see anything but alas, no such luck... but then perhaps, because of the growl, it was for the best that we didn't see anything. After a while I felt the danger feeling pass and all was ok, even though we all locked the door to the trailer and our friend (who sleeps in his car) locked his car during the night. The boys drove back to Las Cruces to spend the night because they were too afraid to stay and my nephew had to work the next morning.

PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: We didn't check the area until the next morning. Due to the winds still being up a bit and also the entire area we were camping at being pure sand (blowing sand at that) there was nothing left of footprints or evidence left behind.

OTHER STORIES: Just from the friend who knows/knew some people and had heard of at least 4 Bigfoot sightings in the El Paso Franklin Mountain area over the last decade or so, especially in the "Anthony Gap" pass on the north side of the Franklin Mountains outside of El Paso

TIME AND CONDITIONS: 9 pm, near freezing temperature. 

ENVIRONMENT: BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, hilly, mountainous, rocky/sandy/desert. All BLM land which is free range lands, cattle and other animals graze sometimes as there was plenty of old cow patties around the land. A popular area for people who go mountain biking, ATVing, 4 wheeling, etc. during the daytime only. No one was around or camping even except us. Nearer the highway there a some scattered homes and ranches and a food factory, otherwise it's a hilly and mountainous area, although mostly desert vegetation.... not typical for a Bigfoot area, but still we have no other "logical" answers at this time due to what happened.


INVESTIGATOR'S COMMENTS: There were five witnesses present during the sighting. Two witnesses were involved. The temperature was near freezing. There was moonlight with very few clouds. The terrain is desert with ravines.

The two witnesses were a 14 year old and his 18 year old cousin. They were camping with his mother, Grandmother, and a family friend, and two small children. I talked to the 14 year old and his mother on two different occasions. Both were very accommodating. The mother's report had not changed from the written report submitted to our website.

The 14 year old went outside of the camper to get some soft drinks from the car. As he approached the car he saw a black, large figure walking on two legs through a ravine. The figure appeared humanoid. He could not make out any facial features or any other details. He could tell that the figure was approximately 8' ft. tall. He guessed this because the ravine the creature was walking in was 10 ft. deep.

After the sighting, his cousin, with a flashlight, walked back out with him to investigate. The creature was no longer in sight. After a few minutes, a long, loud growl was heard along with a digging sound. The digging sounded more like what a bull/buck would do with his hoof against the ground when angered. The sound of the growl was both of anger and intimidation. Both boys ran back into the camper trailer very much upset. The remaining witnesses that were inside the trailer, could tell the boys were very serious and frightened.

TBRC Investigator

©Copyright 1999-2002 Texas Bigfoot Research Center


After that sighting we thought no more of it until summer of 2003 when an article came out in the El Paso Times newspaper... at that point I was DETERMINED to find the witness and talk with her myself!  That proved to be much harder than I had imagined, but thankfully the Journalist from the El Paso Times was MOST helpful and contacted the witness for me, who in turn contacted me. Below is the actual article that was posted in the El Paso Times.  After this article is my own follow-up and served as my induction into the TBRC.


Neighborhoods    Thursday, July 31, 2003

Some residents believe in Horizon City's monster

Adriana M. Chávez
El Paso Times 


Illustration by Nacho Garcia Jr. / El Paso Times

Victor Calzada / El Paso Times

The legend of the Horizon City monster dates back more than 30 years near Lake El Paso, though there is no tangible evidence that it exists.

This article about the creature was on the front page of the El Paso Times in 1975.

A closer look

Witnesses of the Horizon City creature claim it is between 7 and 8 feet tall with very broad shoulders and an elongated head.


  • Cecelia Montañez, who claims to have seen the creature twice, says the creatures "have very short hair and are a faded brownish-maroon color."


  • Montañez said the creatures also have red glowing eyes and a mouth that resembles that of a bulldog.


  • Many witnesses say the creatures can be seen near Lake El Paso late at night drinking water.


  • Others say they have heard the creatures humming as they drive through Eastlake Boulevard, or know the creatures are around because of their strong odor.


  • Montañez said the creatures live in caverns underneath Horizon City, but Phil Goodell, a geology professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, said there are no caverns underneath the town.

Big foot tidbits


  • For more than 400 years, people have reported seeing large, hair-covered, man-like animals in the wilderness areas of North America.


  • Sightings of these animals continue today. Real or not, these reports are often made by people of unimpeachable character.


  • For more than 70 years, people have been finding, photographing and casting sets of very large human-shaped tracks. Most are discovered by chance in remote areas. Tracks continue to be found.


  • The cultural histories of many Native American and First Nation peoples include stories and beliefs about non-human "peoples" of the wild. Many of these descriptions bear a striking resemblance to the hairy man-like creatures reported today.


  • This information suggests the presence of an animal, probably a primate, that exists today in very low-populated densities. If true, this species, having likely evolved alongside humans, became astonishingly adept at avoiding human contact through a process of natural selection.


  • To others, this information points to a cultural phenomenon kept alive today through a combination of the misidentification of known animals, wishful thinking and the deliberate fabrication of evidence.

Source: The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization;

More than two years ago, Cecelia Montañez saw the creature for the first time: more than 7 feet tall, with faded dark brown fur, and standing in the desert near Eastlake Boulevard and Darrington Road.


"I saw a big gorilla-like thing walking toward the desert," Montañez said.


Montañez says she and other Horizon City residents have witnessed a large, bigfoot-type creature lurking in the desert, usually near Eastlake, and near Lake El Paso. While others, including law-enforcement officials, believe the sightings are part of a hoax, Montañez said what she and other people have witnessed is true.


The legend of the monster goes back to the early 1970s, but no actual evidence has been found, according to many longtime Horizon City residents.


Montañez, a retired secretary, moved from East El Paso to Horizon City three years ago. She said she has seen the creature on two occasions, the last sighting taking place near her home last October.


Montañez said that after the first sighting, she remembered an article that ran in the Sept. 20, 1975, edition of the El Paso Times. The article reported that three teenagers saw a gorilla-like creature near the Horizon City golf course. Bill Rutherford, a former deputy with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, said in the article that he did see a track, but that it "appeared to have been dug."


"Someone had to have made those tracks," Rutherford said in a recent phone interview. "There's a lot of people that were very upset, but it never bothered me. I didn't think it was for real."


Rutherford was a deputy until 1979, and in 1988 became Horizon City's first police chief. He retired after 10 years, and remembers that although he didn't believe the teens' stories, he felt obligated to investigate.


"I was a deputy sheriff, so I was regulated to do something," Rutherford said. "I never saw it. I thought it was a hoax.


Horizon City Police Chief Tony Aguilar has been the town's chief for about two years, and said he doesn't recall any reports of bigfoot sightings.


"We've had reports before of meteorites landing in the desert, but nothing about bigfoots," Aguilar said.


Aguilar remembered hearing about a hermit who may have lived in the mountains near Horizon City in the early 1970's.


"He had long hair and he was unshaven," Aguilar recalled. "A lot of hunters at one point found a little cave, and found old cans, and like he had been living off the land."


Although Montañez maintains the creatures live in caverns that exist underneath Horizon City, Phil Goodell, a geology professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, said no such caverns exist.


"Large desert expanses can't have caverns," Goodell said. "You have to have limestone rock, like Carlsbad Caverns does."


Montañez said she got some of her information on the creature from at least one law-enforcement official who has investigated the creature sightings and developed a profile.


"He said the mothers go out to find food, and that they nurse their young just like we do," she said.


Aguilar said if anyone reported seeing the creature to police, "we would look into it and take it seriously, with whatever information we had to work on."


Montañez described the creatures as having red glowing eyes, "like cats," she said, and as being vegetarians. Since El Paso is mostly desert with no vegetation, Montañez said, the creatures suck the blood out of small animals and eat their organs.


Irene Scanlon, 57, said she heard about sightings of the creatures a while ago, but has never seen them.


"It sounds like they're trying to make it seem like a chupacabra," Scanlon said. "I don't believe it at all. I think it's just someone trying to get publicity."


But Montañez said she's not trying to seek publicity, and would like to see Horizon City become a tourist attraction like Roswell, which is known for being the supposed site of a UFO crash in 1947.


"My daughter didn't believe it either, but when she saw it, she changed her story," Montañez said. "They really exist."


Montañez has told of her experiences to friends and family, including two Socorro High School varsity baseball players.


"I've been looking for them around the desert," said George De La Fuente, 16, a junior at Socorro High, who has been watching for the creature along with his friend, Anthony Paez, 15, a sophomore at Socorro. "I just want to see them. I have to see one to believe it."



Adriana M. Chávez may be reached at


Horizon City Bigfoot Sighting

It was the article above which spurred my interest into investigating the case of this El Paso/Horizon City sighting.  Thanks to Adriana Chavez of the El Paso Times the witness called me on my cell phone AFTER we had been all over Horizon City (east of El Paso) looking for her, checking out the area and making notes on the area, terrain, and bodies of water, double-checking with locals, speaking with people at Lake El Paso (what used to be called Shadow Mountain Lakes), and even checking with local police and city officials.  Thank goodness for small favors!

I made an appointment with the witness, Cecilia Montanez (real name withheld by request) and took along my nephew Derek Eby, who has been my partner in investigations (UFO's, Marfa Lights, etc.) many times in the past, and his girlfriend (name withheld).  We interviewed Montanez at her home, took pictures of the area, and recorded the interview on videotape.  As you can see below, my investigation of this particular case brought up some interesting aspects that wasn't covered in the original Times article!  My additions in purple below...


Submitted by field investigator (Sharon Eby) on Saturday, August 23, 2003.

DATE: August 04, 2000

SEASON: Summer

STATE: Texas


NEAREST TOWN: Horizon City, a subdivision of El Paso


OBSERVED: The witness was traveling southwest on Eastlake Blvd just before noon. Her granddaughter (8 yrs old) was with her in the front seat, too short to see through the window and not looking outside anyway. She said that even later she was too busy WATCHING the creature to tell her granddaughter to look. She saw up ahead about three or four blocks distance from her (note that there are not actual "blocks" shown by roads and that this distance is the witness' estimation of distance) a large hairy creature leaning over something on the ground. It instantly stood up and walked with a STRAIGHT back on two feet towards the desert to the west, perpendicular to the road. Sighting occurred on west side of the road, and the creature was standing three feet from the road. Desert stands far to the west and north of this area starting at the road. NOW there are housing developments across the street and SW about 1 block away. During 2000 the nearest homes were not that close (but still within sight).

The creature did not appear to notice her or her vehicle and walked casually away, swinging its arms naturally while walking up and over a sand mound. Upon going down over the back side of the sand mound it seemed to slightly "jog like a guy" down the hill and keep going down and down until it disappeared. She said that it seemed as if it went down into a cave into the desert even though she (the next day) could not find a cave entrance in the area (she figured perhaps it had a trap door of some kind). Creature was last seen approximately 50 feet or so original spot before disappearing "into the ground." She said that she had seen the creature for perhaps 30 seconds or so total as she was driving and reaching the destination, where she stopped the vehicle.

She reached the destination of where the creature had been crouching when she first saw it and noticed that there was a dead coyote where "he" (the creature) had been before he got up to walk away. The coyote was laying on its left side with a hand-sized FRESH blood smear on it's right side. She did not see any bite marks on the carcass. Nor did she get out of the vehicle at all. She noticed the coyote's head was severed CLEANLY as if by a knife or other instrument and tossed approximately 10-15 ft to the west (into the desert away from the road) and that NO BLOOD was present anywhere on the neck (neck cut looked shiny as if glistening, and was a light pinkish color with no blood at all) and no blood was present (other than the smear) on the carcass, nor on the ground. She did not feel safe enough to get out of the car and finally drove away.

DESCRIPTION: Creature appeared to be 7-8 feet tall, perhaps 300-350 lbs (a guess), wide at shoulders, slim at the hips, horizontal-looking muscles flexing between shoulder blades, dull (not shiny) & faded maroon short hair (uniformly short), and much rounder (more bulbous) at the back of the head than shown in the artist's depiction drawing, she said. It appeared to have small but pointy-like ears(?) and an ape-like but bulldog shaped mouth (but longer, not squashed). She also said that the legs and arms in the artist's depiction were not right, that in the drawing they looked "too human" and were more "ape-like." She did not get a good look at the creature's eyes or facial expressions and had seen his profile (right side) only, but his neck was short and wide.

PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: She and her husband and another man-friend came back the following day to check out the area and the sighting location, but the carcass was gone, no cave was found and no more creatures were seen nor were any footprints found as the desert there is sandy and the winds come and go. She did notice that her husband and friend (they are 5'-10" and 6'-2" tall) looked very short compared to how the creature looked standing in the same area. After this incident she immediately followed up by going to the library to see if there was any other information available on such creatures seen in the desert there, and started talking with people in the area. She found out some interesting stories that seem to correlate to hers which I will share in a separate email/submission after some follow-up visits and phone calls are made.

OTHER STORIES: Yes, she had after that (about October 2002). She had been driving home about 9pm at night. It had been sprinkling rain and as she turned the corner to the SW (her house is 3 doors from the corner on the S side of the road) she noticed that a creature of great height was standing in the entryway of her next door neighbor's house (house was NE of hers). The creature appeared to have same shape and build as the one she had previously seen in the desert and his eyes appeared to glow red (similarly how cat's eyes glow in the dark). The creature walked upright in front of the house, then fell down on all fours and ran QUICKLY (like a blur) up the street, around the corner (to the SE) and into the desert.  NOTE: Homes are being built just a few blocks SE of Montanez's house, but it is open desert beyond that. To the NW of her subdivision her home is 5 blocks from the edge of the desert also. The area is expanding quickly from the SW towards the NE.

SOUNDS HEARD: No sounds associated with either sighting above, however she was once taking the trash out at night to her backyard (she had just lifted the trash can lid), by the back rock wall (pine trees line the edge of the wall) and she heard a DEEP growl like warning noise! She said it did not sound like anything or any animal she had ever heard before and sounded like it was made from deep within the chest. This sound correlates to the same type of sound that my nephew and son heard north of Las Cruces, NM in 2001 that scared them so badly. After hearing the sound, she went inside the house immediately. Nothing was seen. No odors were smelled. This noise happened June of 2003 towards the beginning of the month between 8:30 - 9:00 pm just after it got real dark.

ODORS: No odors any time. She was in her car for both of the sightings with windows rolled up.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: 11:45 am, sunny day, no wind.

ENVIRONMENT: No farms, but many cattle ranches nearby, and subdivisions are fairly new.


NOTE: Witness said that the artist's depiction of this "bigfoot" was not quite the same as the one she saw... that it's arms in this picture are too human-like, and especially the legs.  Also that the head was not as pointy in the back, but was more bulbous. 

INVESTIGATOR'S COMMENTS: Approximately 3 blocks northeast of Darrington on Eastlake Blvd in Horizon City (El Paso address). Sighting occurred on west side of the road, and the creature was standing three feet from the road. Desert stands far to the west and north of this area starting at the road. NOW there are housing developments across the street (Eastlake) and SW about 1 block away. During 2000 the nearest homes were not that close (but still within sight).

Lake El Paso is the closest body of water, further northeast several miles up Horizon Blvd. Witness also mentioned that below that is a watering pond on a cattle ranch 1 mi before Lake El Paso to the NE.

Terrain: Desert with sandy mesquite mounds all over, cacti.




Sighting Report 2/13/04

Additional Source: 

"Tailless Monkey" Seen in El Paso Desert

Witness: Male
Name: Brooks D.
Age: 22
Date of sighting: Tuesday 7/29/03
Location: East of El Paso, TX (El Paso county)
Time of incident: approx 7am (1 hr after sunrise)
Weather Conditions: summer morning
Closest Highway: North of Montana St (east of El Paso city limits) in the desert with scattered houses around the desert.
Closest Water Source: A pond is nearby that fills with water when it rains.
What was seen, heard, observed, encountered, or found:
This report is being sent in by TBRC West Regional Leader, Sharon Eby, based on eye-witness interview today.  The witness told me the following:

Early in the morning, about an hour after sunrise I stopped to go to urinate because I had to go so bad.  I stood by a bush and noticed a large tree trunk about the distance from me to that "water tank" (please note that witness pointed to a tank that sat about 125 feet away) up in front of me.  Then I thought to myself, "What the heck is a tree trunk doing here in the desert!"  I had not ever seen it there before and it appeared to be about 4 feet high or so and was dark colored.  Suddenly I saw the "tree trunk" stand up!  I then noticed that it looked like a monkey... but with no tail.  Then I started to freak out really bad because I was actually looking at a large monkey right there in front of me!  His shoulders were really broad, his color was dark, like blackish with some red, and his face was just like a monkey. 

Witness showed the height of the creature at approx 8 feet tall when standing upright (fully upright like a human) with longer arms than a human, but lots of hair, noticing that the hair hanging down from under the arms was approx. 4-5 inches long, dark but reddish in color. 

Witness continued:
I saw him stand up, turn to glance at me for a second and then looked away from me and started walking away from me like I wasn't even there, or like he didn't care that I was there.  I watched him walk away into the desert.  I didn't tell too many people at first because I figured they would laugh at me, but then 2 days later that article came out in the El Paso Times newspaper about the bigfoot that was seen south of there in Horizon City so then I started talking more about seeing the bigfoot.  I spoke with one lady and she was really interested in hearing my story because she said she had a small dog and that a large creature like that reached down in her yard to steal the dog, but when she yelled it quickly leaped over the wall in one single jump.

If animal(s) were seen can you describe:
Just the bigfoot standing up after I thought it was camouflaged as a large tree trunk.  His shoulders were broad, arms long, he stood like a man but looked like a tailless monkey with dark reddish hair that was long hanging off the arms.  He was so big and wide! 
Sketch: yes
Photos Taken: no
Footprints or other physical evidence: I spoke with the witness' father Wayne and he said that Brooks did not tell him about the bigfoot sighting until a week after it happened because Brooks was afraid he (and others) would just laugh at him and not believe him.  Wayne offered to take Brooks out to the sighting location to look for footprints but by a week later they would be long gone.
Terrain: Desert terrain, mequite mounds, greasewood, cacti.
Activities of witness prior to occurrence: Going through the desert on his usual route and stopped to go to the bathroom because it was urgent and he could not wait.
Any other incidences prior or since this occurrence: Witness was unaware of any other bigfoot sightings in the area until he saw the article in the El Paso Times, and then started speaking with others.
No sounds heard
No odors smelled
Any farms or agricultural facilities in the area:
Ranches and homes.  A military base not far away that is mostly all desert.

Report written by TBRC Field Investigator Sharon Eby 2/13/04


 Some articles and reports/sightings have been removed from this page 12/5/2019







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(c) Sharon (Eby) Cornet 2011