PHOENIX (FOX10/KSAZ-TV) — Phoenix police said Tuesday night that a body found on the south side of Arizona’s Camelback Mountain has been tentatively identified as Eric Fernandes, 23, of Seattle, who had gone hiking over the weekend and never returned to his family.
Police said the medical examiner’s office will confirm the identity.
According to the Arizona Republic, police said the hiker found the body Tuesday afternoon between two large rocks on the southwestern face of the mountain, about 500 feet below the summit.
Recovery units lifted the body from the rocks before enclosing it in a body bag at about 7:45 p.m., the newspaper said.
Fernandes told his father that he was going to hike Camelback Mountain on Saturday. Fernandes had been visiting the Phoenix area with his father, and wanted to hike the mountain before returning to Seattle.
Fernandes’ father reported him missing Sunday and authorities began the search.
Officials called of the search at 12 p.m. Tuesday, saying the heat was a concern for rescue workers. Temperatures are in the triple digits in Phoenix.
On Tuesday, the family continued their pleas for help.
“I am pretty sure there are mothers out there, there are parents out there who know what my husband and I are going through,” said Eric’s mother, Sandra Fernandes.
“Please help us take our son back to Washington, I just ask to find him, I can’t even think the thoughts that he’s been alone in this place for two to three nights,” she said.
Investigators found Fernandes’ car at a Camelback trailhead and have recovered receipts that show he bought a hydration backpack and some water, but police don’t know how much water he had or how long it would last. Police tell KSAZ in Phoenix that Fernandes’ cellphone died on Saturday.
Tuesday morning Fernandes’ brothers searched the mountain, too.
“We have lost precious time because of the heat, but when the temperatures go down, they don’t have a second rescue team in succession to take advantage of the cooler temperature. I honestly cannot understand; that is a shame,” said Max Fernandes.