Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/14

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Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/14

Postby Cy Kaicener » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:34 am

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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Wildhorse » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:07 pm

With 35 people plus dogs searching and the search beginning only a few hours after he began his hike, it seems like they had a good chance to find him yesterday, or at least today. From reading about the trail, it is generally considered easy/moderate and is heavily used. I have been there many years ago. I have very little memory of it. I think it was easy and easy to follow. It puzzles me that he apparently has not yet been found.
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Myth » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:59 pm

No news yet that I could find :(

Temperatures have been slightly cooler compared to recent temperatures, but the weather is heating up this week. There may be some water left here and there in the Park from recent rains, but that will probably not last too long.

This trail is pretty easy to walk and follow. I walked it a few years ago. I think there may have been one spot where there was a tricky switchback with a deceptive wash, but overall, easy to follow. Terrain gets really rough past the oasis itself so I'd think it unlikely someone would continue too far past the oasis by accident, but if they do, they can easily get into difficulties in the boulder fields there.

There's also some good views to be had from the vicinity of the trail as I recall, so the temptation to leave the trail may be present. Even in a case like that though, based on my recollection of the terrain, you wouldn't get into too much trouble before it becomes obvious that you are astray.

The official JTNP Facebook page has a photo of SAR members heading out in the terrain where the trail is visible in the lower right of the picture. It is a pretty obvious trail. https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaTreeNPS/
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby zippetydude » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:42 pm

This case is truly difficult to fathom. According to the article:

Paul Miller, 51, was last seen by his wife at around 9 a.m. Friday when he left to hike to 49 Palms Oasis, park spokesman George Land said. Miller's wife notified park rangers around noon that he was overdue and a search started at 12:30 p.m., Land said.

They actually started searching on Friday, a mere 3 1/2 hours after he was last seen by his wife and he still hasn't been found? That's astonishing. Even allowing that "starting the search" probably meant little more than a ranger was dispatched to go see if his car was at the trail head, the ramp-up time would still seem to allow extremely good odds of finding him by the end of Saturday. As it's now end of day on Monday, they have no doubt covered the immediate area again and again, and it wasn't supposed to be a long hike.

Most of these cases are confusing, even baffling, this one perhaps more so than usual given the rapid reporting by his wife and the immediate response to begin searching. Hope there is some good news right around the corner.

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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Cy Kaicener » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:04 am

Joshua Tree National Park
18 hrs ·
A search is currently underway for a 51 year old Canadian citizen described as a white male, 5’5” tall, weighing approximately 160 lbs. Paul Miller was last seen by his wife at around 9 am Friday morning when he departed for a hike to 49 Palms Oasis. Miller’s wife notified park rangers that he was overdue around noon and a search was initiated at 12:30 pm. The subject’s vehicle was located in the parking lot at the trailhead of 49 Palms Oasis.

Yesterday’s search included personnel from Joshua Tree National Park Search and Rescue as well as air support from San Bernardino Sheriff’s Dept. Currently there is an incident command center at the 49 Palms Oasis parking lot. Approximately 35 searchers are combing the area with the help of search K-9 units and a helicopter from SBSO is expected to join the search later this morning. Anyone having information as to the whereabouts of this individual or having any other pertinent information is asked to call: 909 383-5651.

[Photo by NPS / Hannah Schwalbe; two members of Joshua Tree's Search and Rescue hike out towards 49 Palms Oasis. A helicopter searches from the sky.]

https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaTreeNPS/
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby physicslord » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:02 pm

Have they found him yet? Any updates?

It's hard for me to understand how people disappear so often there. It's big but not huge like Yosemite, and crowded with people everywhere.
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby zippetydude » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:31 pm

Here's the latest that I've seen on it:

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/lo ... 796407002/

I'm with you, it's confounding since there is very little cover and it seems unlikely that so many people would wander up into the rocks and then just fall in, but I guess that's all there is to conclude unless some sinister agent is involved. It does seem like the perfect place for a serial killer to operate for years without the slightest chance of discovery...but such a possibility is not very likely. Hopefully they'll find him with a broken ankle in some crevice surviving on rain water. But a week is a long time in Joshua Tree in July.

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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Perry » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:44 pm

While it seems unlikely that a serial killer would come to Joshua Tree, I think that with all these people disappearing and not being found for months or years, at some point somebody will get the idea to stage their own disappearance in the park. Many years ago, this may have happened on Mt. San Jacinto with somebody leaving their wallet near the edge of a cliff. I think others here know more about that story than me.
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby arocknoid » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:54 pm

Mighty peculiar.
Starts hike at 09:00, ostensibly a two to three hour non-strenuous hike.
Reported overdue shortly after 12:00, search begun almost immediately.

*No scent, no tracks, no trace found, ever.*
Early in the search, conditions were favorable for scent tracking.
If rain fell in the area, that would make it tough for old tracks (or scent).

But this is odd...

One can hope
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Re: Search under way for hiker missing in Joshua Tree NP 7/1

Postby Ed » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:48 am

I assume he left the trail. If he did, making him difficult to find, there are potential explanations. A neighbor of ours died last week of a heart attack, in his own home, with the paramedics working on him. He was 62 years old, very healthy looking, said to be a hiker. Wealthy and retired, with one house in Alpine and another in Santa Barbara, no children, married to the same woman for 39 years. No personal history of heart disease, though there was a family history, and he was a lifelong smoker. If it can happen to him in his own home, with paramedics five or ten minutes away, it can happen to a hiker in Joshua Tree, which in the summer is a stressful and hazardous environment.
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