A missing hiker in the Los Angeles area has been found dead after two long weeks.
The body of Oscar Alejandro Hernandez, a 29-year-old from the Los Angeles area, was discovered on Thursday night of last week in a remote area of Griffith Park in the southern California city. He had reportedly been hiking in the park when he first went missing, back in the middle of last month.
Shockingly, Hernandez’s dog King, a golden retriever, was found lying by the man’s side when officers and first responders first arrived on the scene. The dog had been hiking with Hernandez, and evidently waited by his side for the entire two-week period he’d been missing — and, as it turned out, dead — waiting the whole time for his owner to wake up.
A truly heartbreaking image…
According to a police report shared by the LAPD with NBC Los Angeles and KABC, Hernandez first went missing around 2:30 p.m. local time on March 16. He was last seen by the merry-go-round at an outdoor area within Griffith Park, per police.
Griffith Park is popular but large. Hernandez’s body was found “a decent hike up from where he was last seen,” according to the NBC LA report, which cited a firefighter for the information. The Los Angeles Fire Department, park rangers, police officers, and some of Hernandez’s relatives all converged on the site where the hiker was eventually located on Thursday night.
A cause of death has not yet been released to the public, and it is not clear at this point how his body was first discovered in that remote part of the park. Nevertheless, he was in such a treacherous area that police had to contact the LA County Sheriff’s Department to deploy a Search and Rescue team helicopter in order to remove Hernandez’s body safely from the steep hillside. Now, an investigation is ongoing into the events leading up to his death.
Hernandez’s cousin confirmed to local TV news outlets that King was found lying by the man’s side when he was discovered. The dog was apparently tired and hungry upon being rescued. Poor good boy…
Footage from Traffic News LA (below) showed the dog apparently healthy and alert sitting in the back of a truck later in the same night when Hernandez was discovered:
Our hearts go out to Hernandez’s family, friends, and loved ones as they deal with the aftermath of his tragic, unexpected death, and to the sweet pup who stayed the through the whole ordeal.