Missing Hiker Found Dead on California Mountain

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 28, 2019US News
Missing Hiker Found Dead on California Mountain
Thomas Mark Castiglia, 50, in an undated file photo, was found dead overnight after going missing on El Cajon Mountain in California on Jan. 26, 2019. (San Diego County Sheriff's Department)

The body of a missing hiker was found in California over the weekend.

Thomas Mark Castiglia, 50, had gone hiking with a group at El Cajon Mountain at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 but became separated from them about two hours later.

Castiglia told the group that he wanted to hike more slowly and said they shouldn’t wait for him.

After he failed to reach the trailhead by 2:45 p.m., he was reported missing.

Deputies with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department searched for Castiglia throughout the night and eventually located his body near the base of a sheer cliff, the department said in a press release obtained by Fox 5.

The county medical examiner’s office responded to the scene on Sunday morning and confirmed that the body was Castiglia.

An autopsy was planned to determine how he died.

The area where he was found included “really rugged terrain,” San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

He said that Castiglia apparently planned to take an offshoot trail and that the group he was with had connected through an online forum.

‘Loved Hiking’

Castiglia’s wife said, “Tom loved hiking and was excited about going on the hike.” But about 3 miles into the hike on Saturday, he began struggling and didn’t want to hold the group back so he decided to take it slow and rest, she added.

Friends described him as an “experienced hiker.”

“We lost a great man and this hurts but Tom taught us many things. Most importantly to live every second and give back unconditionally. Miss you man and praying for your family,” one friend wrote on Twitter.

“I am heartbroken to hear this … Tom and I spent a good amount of time together at a number of events talking about all things tech. My sincere condolences to the Castiglia family. Tom was a wonderful person and a pleasure to work with. I will really miss him,” added another.

According to the San Diego .Net User Group, Castiglia was one of the founders of the group.

“He was a tireless advocate for the community and we will miss him. All the love and support to his family and friends,” the group said.

The nonprofit is involved in the tech space, according to its website.

“As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the San Diego .Net User Group serves to facilitate education and knowledge exchange among developers, architects, and managers with an interest in Microsoft .Net and related technologies,” it stated. “Between our main meeting, and multiple special interest group (SIG) meetings, we host 40+ events annually.”

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