71-Year-Old Hiker Missing Since August Found Dead With Dog Alive Beside Him

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
November 14, 2023US News
71-Year-Old Hiker Missing Since August Found Dead With Dog Alive Beside Him
A map shows the summit of Blackhead Peak, a rugged mountain-top located roughly 20 miles east of Pagosa Springs, a town in southwest Colorado, Colo. (Google Maps)

A hiker who went missing in August has been found dead in Colorado alongside his dog, who was still alive over two months later, according to authorities.

Rich Moore, 71, disappeared with his dog—a Jack Russell terrier named Finney—on Aug. 19 after setting off on a summit of Blackhead Peak, a rugged mountaintop located roughly 20 miles east of Pagosa Springs, a town in southwest Colorado, according to Taos Search and Rescue (TSAR), which took part in the initial search for the pair.

The hiking route to Blackhead’s 12,500-foot summit is 3 miles and has an elevation of 2,500 feet.

Mr. Moore and his pup’s disappearance prompted an extensive search, with rescue crews spending nearly 2,000 hours searching for the duo, The Denver Post reported.

Mr. Moore’s body was found on Oct. 30 alongside his dog in the Lower Blanco drainage basin, which is located in a valley southeast of Blackhead Peak’s summit, officials said.

Members of the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue, Mineral County Search and Rescue, La Plata County Search and Rescue, and New Mexico and Colorado K-9 Search Teams assisted in the search and recovery efforts, along with helicopters from the Colorado Air National Guard, USFS Wildland Flight Crews, and Flight for Life, local news reported.

It is not yet clear what caused his death but the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office told The Denver Gazette that foul play is not suspected.

Dog Reunited With Family

Authorities transported Mr. Moore’s body from the mountain area the next day. Finney was taken to a local veterinary hospital for examination and treatment. She has since been reunited with her family, officials told the publication.

They did not elaborate on the dog’s condition.

“We searched from just under the peak-top and directly West, searching down the mountain toward where his car was located,” said TSAR member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, who responded to the initial search with her certified K-9, in a statement.

Ms. Vanne-Brightyn noted the area was extremely steep, with strong winds.

“Winds were directly from the West/Southwest. It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter. He was found 2.5 miles East of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted,” Ms. Vanne-Brightyn added.

Ms. Vanne-Brightyn and TSAR offered condolences to Mr. Moore’s family but said they are “glad they were able to gain some closure as well as bring their dog back home.”

The discovery of Mr. Moore and his dog comes after officials last year found a Labrador lying next to the body of a 74-year-old Arizona man who had died during a hike on Mingus Mountain. The black and white Labrador named Ranger had remained by his owner’s side for six days after the hiker became lost, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

A month prior, missing 29-year-old hiker Oscar Alejandro Hernandez was found deceased in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park with his dog, who was alive but emaciated, by his side.

From The Epoch Times

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