July 5, 2022

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Hiker who was missing for nearly a week found dead in Arizona. His dog stayed by his side, authorities say.

The remains of Donald Hayes, 74, were found Wednesday after he went missing around Arizona’s Mingus Mountain on Friday.

Hayes was found in a rugged area difficult to reach by searchers, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. His dog, Ranger, who was with Hayes on the hike “remained with the victim.”

Ranger was found alive and lying next to Hayes. The dog was taken to an animal hospital for treatment, sheriff’s office spokesperson Kristin Greene said.

Search and rescue teams from various local agencies searched on land and air for days trying to locate Hayes, but ultimately had trouble due to the difficult terrain and the amount of area needed to be searched, Greene said. 

“I thank all the volunteer search and rescue teams and others who gave of their time for six days to locate the victim and bring him home. Our searchers utilized every tool at their disposal to find Mr. Hayes and never gave up,” Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said.

According to officials, the Forest Patrol was able to contact Hayes on Friday  around 2 p.m. on his cellphone. Hayes said he did not want to wait for a rescue and he was “continuing down a ravine,” and said he would be turning off his phone to save the battery.