Donald Hayes, 74, of Prescott Valley was last seen on Mingus Mountain on Friday, May 13, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said. He called his wife that afternoon to tell her that he and his dog, Ranger, were lost.
“Forest Patrol was able to contact Mr. Hayes Friday around 2 p.m. on his cell phone but he stated that he did not want to wait for a rescue and that he was ‘continuing down a ravine,’” the sheriff’s office said in a May 15 news release.
Hayes told Forest Patrol he didn’t know what ravine he was going into, but he thought he was traveling northwest. At the time, he had food and water with him, and he told rescuers he would turn his phone off to preserve its battery.
On Wednesday, May 18, search and rescue teams found Hayes’ body, the sheriff’s office said. His body was in “a rugged area,” which was difficult for rescue officials to reach.
“Hayes’ dog Ranger who was with him on the hike, was found alive having remained with the victim,” deputies said.
Ranger was taken to a local animal hospital after a veterinarian looked at him, officials said. The sheriff’s office did not disclose his condition.
“Our condolences go out to Mr. Hayes’ family,” Sheriff David Rhodes said in the news release. “We wish the outcome could have been different.”
Mingus Mountain is about 100 miles north of Phoenix.