Body found; believed to be hiker missing near Sedona

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Thomas Lang was last seen Dec. 18,, 2013, at the Manzanita Campground. (Source: Coconino County Sheriff's Office) Thomas Lang was last seen Dec. 18,, 2013, at the Manzanita Campground. (Source: Coconino County Sheriff's Office)

The Coconino County sheriff's authorities said they believe the body of a 22-year-old hiker missing in the mountains near Sedona for almost a year has been found.

Authorities said the parents of Thomas Lang, who was last seen Dec. 18, had been hiking the Secret Canyon area in Yavapai County for many weekends after the formal search for Lang ended in January.

Saturday, Lang's mother called the CCSO search and rescue team and told them she had come upon a jacket and shoes that possibly belonged to her son.

Lang's body was found about 12:45 p.m. Sunday by search and rescue members near where the jacket, shoes, a backpack, tarp and guitar believed to belong to Lang were found, the sheriff's office said.

Lang set out in the forest for a planned five-day hike without a cell phone or food because he was fasting, his parents told authorities.

Lang's family told the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office it was not clear if he began the fasting regimen on Dec. 18 or before.

He had plenty of water and was an experienced outdoorsman, his family said.

On Christmas Day, more than 30 searchers and a dog team were looking for Lang, who was last seen at the Manzanita Campground in Oak Creek Canyon outside Sedona about 11 a.m. on Dec. 18. He was scheduled to return to the campground on Sunday.

Authorities said Lang's destination was along the Sterling Pass area of Oak Creek Canyon.

Lang was wearing blue jeans, a dark blue sweatshirt and was carrying a red sleeping bag, white tarp, guitar and blue backpack.

Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said the Coconino and Yavapai County sheriff's offices received several calls indicating sightings of Lang in convenience stores or supermarkets in areas of both counties, but none panned out and officials don't believe Lang had left the search area.

The remains had not been positively identified and were released to the Yavapai County Medical Examiner.

The Yavapai County and Coconino County medical examiners were working together to identify the remains and determine the cause and manner of death.

Agencies who assisted with the search included Coconino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit, Yavapai County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team, Yavapai County sheriff's helicopter and Lang's parents.

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