PHOENIX — A body found Tuesday near the top of a popular Phoenix
mountain has been confirmed as that of a missing hiker.
Seattle resident Eric Fernandes, 23, was
last seen by other hikers Saturday. They said he was alone and described him as
surprised by the difficulty of the hike.
Hikers reported finding a body later identified as that of Fernandes on the south side of Camelback Mountain, about
200 feet from the peak in rugged terrain dotted with some brush, Phoenix Fire
Department officials said.
The ground search for Fernandes had been halted just hours before his body was
found late Tuesday afternoon. Phoenix police said search crews had covered all
the area they could by foot and there was no sign of him.
Sgt. Trent Crump, a police spokesman, said people in distress on the steep,
rocky mountain can be hard to spot if they have fallen into crevices.
Crews had to stop searching for Fernandes on Monday because of 110-degree
temperatures. The search resumed Tuesday morning. Investigators also posted
Fernandes’ photo and other information on Camelback Mountain’s trailheads.
Fernandes had been visiting the Phoenix area with his father and planned to
hike the mountain before heading home. Max Fernandes reported his son missing
Investigators found Eric Fernandes’ car at a trailhead and recovered receipts
that indicate he bought a hydration backpack and some water.
Police said his cellphone died sometime between Saturday night and Sunday