Missing Arizona hiker found dead with dog, who survived, by his side
PHOENIX – A 74-year-old man who got lost while hiking in northern Arizona last week was found dead with his dog, who survived, by his side, authorities said Wednesday.
The body of Donald Hayes of Prescott Valley was located in a rugged area of Mingus Mountain that was difficult for search crews to reach, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
Ranger, a black and white Labrador, was evaluated at the scene by a search and rescue volunteer who is a veterinarian. The dog was then taken to an animal hospital for treatment.
Hayes was last seen alive on Friday morning at the Woodchute Trailhead in Prescott National Forest, about 25 miles northeast of Prescott.
He was in contact with YCSO Forest Patrol that afternoon and said he was lost. The Forest Patrol told him rescuers were on their way so he should stay put.
“Unfortunately, the victim decided against the advice and tried to find his way out, causing him to become lost further in the forest,” YCSO said in the release.
Authorities scoured a wide area for Hayes on foot, in vehicles and from the air. They used a helicopter, search dogs and other means.
Volunteers from Coconino, Maricopa and Gila counties also participated.
“I thank all the volunteer search and rescue teams and others who gave of their time for six days to locate the victim and bring him home” Sheriff David Rhodes said in the release.
“Our searchers utilized every tool at their disposal to find Mr. Hayes and never gave up.”