Sedona: Search and Rescue Turns to Search and Recovery Mission

Yesterday afternoon (7/6/23) YCSO patrol took a welfare check call for a man who had not shown up to work, which was unusual. The man’s roommate said he was an avid hiker and would often hike the Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock trails. Deputies later located his vehicle at the Bell Rock parking lot but was not able to reach him by cell phone. YCSO pinged the man’s phone, showing he was in the area. There was no reason at that time to think the man was in danger, until later that evening when the man still had not surfaced.

A DPS Ranger helicopter was called, but due to the darkness it was difficult to conduct a search. The YCSO Back Country Search and Rescue Unit was deployed to hike some of the easier areas and be prepared for a rescue in the case Ranger was able to locate the man, which they were not able to do. The search began again at first light this morning.

At 6 am today, the Back Country Search and Rescue Search Dog Unit and Verde Search and Rescue were called in to continue the search. The capabilities deployed included ground pounders, dog units, technical rescuers, a mountain bike team, and a drone team. Verde Search and Rescue searched the top area of Bell Rock. This team was able to get high on the mountain and visually inspect each of the deep crevasses in the mountain, where they saw something that looked out of place in one of them. After hiking to the area, they found the missing man, who looked to have been taking one of the main trails to the very top of mountain. The section he was in was extremely technical and it appears the victim slipped and fell to his death.

The 38 year old man, whose name is not being released was recovered by the Back County SAR technical ropes unit so he can be returned to his family.