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Missing hiker on Mingus Mountain found dead after multiday search

Published: Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 1:24pm
Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 5:09pm
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A 74-year-old hiker who went missing in the Prescott National Forest was found dead Wednesday on Mingus Mountain.

Donald Hayes went missing on May 13. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office says forest officials had been in contact with Hayes via cellphone. 

But authorities say Hayes declined to stay put and wait for rescue crews to get to him, instead opting to turn off his phone and head farther into a ravine. Kristin Greene with the Sheriff’s Office says while rare, some people do try to find their own way out.

“We very much hope that folks, if they find themselves in that type of predicament, to try to just wait for rescuers, it’s easier," Greene said. She warned hikers of attempting to get out by themselves.

“Unfortunately, it may seem like an easy trek and it may seem like it’s closer than it really is," Greene said. "But until you start going down that path literally, and finding out that it is not easy, you can get just as turned around as you did the first time.”

Greene says hikers should always prepare for the unexpected with plenty of food and water to last longer than the anticipated hike.