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Dog stayed with dead hiker until crews found them northeast of Prescott

Hayes called YCSO Forest Patrol on Friday afternoon and said he was lost.
Hayes called YCSO Forest Patrol on Friday afternoon and said he was lost.(Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:47 PM MST
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PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The search for a missing hiker in northern Arizona came to a sad ending, with his dog staying with him until the very end. Search teams with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office found the body of 74-year-old Donald Hayes on Wednesday afternoon on Mingus Mountain, about a 45-minute drive northeast of Prescott. Crews had trouble reaching the area due to the rugged terrain but eventually got there. Hayes’ dog, Ranger, who was hiking with him, was discovered alive right next to him. A search volunteer, who was also a veterinarian, looked over Ranger, and the pup was taken to a nearby animal hospital. It’s unclear what condition the dog is in.

YCSO said Hayes was last seen at the Woodchute trailhead near Forest Service 102 on Friday morning. He called YCSO Forest Patrol on Friday afternoon, saying he was lost on Mingus Mountain. They told him to stay put until rescuers got to him. However, YCSO says he tried to find his way down and got more lost. Search, and rescue teams looked for him for days on the ground and in the air. The uneven area full of rocks made it tough for them to find Hayes. “Our searchers utilized every tool at their disposal to find Mr. Hayes and never gave up,” said Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes. “Our condolences go out to Mr. Hayes’ family, and we wish the outcome could have been different.”