Search for missing hiker in Sedona called off

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The Coconino County and Yavapai County sheriffs' offices have suspended the search for the 22-year-old man who has been missing in the mountains of Northern Arizona for more than a week.

Thomas Lang was last seen Dec. 18 at the Manzanita Campground in Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona.

He had planned a five-day hike, but did not take any food with him because he was fasting. He did, however, have water and a sleeping bag, but was not carrying a cell phone.

His father expected to pick him up on Sunday, Dec. 22, but Lang did not show up. His family immediately called authorities.

An extensive search covering roughly 30 square miles of thick scrub, deep canyons and caves entered its fifth day Thursday.

Later that night, the decision was made to suspend the search operation.

"All leads have been exhausted and no additional clues were discovered during the intense area search that began on December 22," spokesman Dwight Dwight D'Evelyn wrote in an email to 3TV Friday morning. "We will continue to follow any leads that come into either agency."

Both CCSO and YCSO are still encouraging calls regarding any information on Lang and/or his whereabouts.

D'Evelyn said the Lang family has been briefed on the decision to end the active search operation.

Lang, reportedly an experienced outdoorsman with extensive wilderness skills, is described as a 6-foot-1 male, weighing about 140 pounds with long blond hair and dreadlocks.

While Lang is an hiker, his mother said she's not sure he was properly prepared for the cold nights. Temperatures in the area have been in the 30s.