Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office continues to search for a missing 74-year-old Prescott Valley hiker last seen in Wood Chute trailhead on Mingus Mountain near FS 102 Friday morning.
Donald Hayes called his wife that afternoon to say he and his dog Ranger were lost but he wasn’t sure where. YCSO 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”. He stated he was unsure of what ravine, but told Forest Patrol he thought he was moving northwest and saw Williamson Valley. He also said he still had food and water and was turning his phone off to save the battery. There has been no further communication with him, and efforts to use GPS through his cell phone have been unsuccessful.
YCSO Backcountry Search and Rescue (SAR), Verde SAR, search dogs, the Sheriff’s Volunteer OHV Unit, 4×4 Unit and Jeep Posse personnel along with a DPS Ranger helicopter searched the area Friday and Saturday but have not located Mr. Hayes or Ranger, though the hiker’s vehicle was located still at the trailhead.
SAR teams conducted a thermal drone flight to attempt to locate Mr. Hayes in the early morning hours on Saturday, and DPS conducted a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) search from the air early Sunday morning. Neither produced any results.
The search is continuing today on foot, in vehicles and in the air with YCSO search and rescue teams and Sheriff’s Auxiliary units, DPS and volunteers.
Mr. Hayes is a white male with salt and pepper hair, green eyes, is 6 feet tall and approximately 156 pounds. He was last seen wearing nylon beige pants, a grey sweatshirt, white t-shirt, and a white visor. Ranger is a black and white Labrador.
Anyone having information should contact YCSO at 928-771-3260 or 911.