Canadian Hiker vanishes without a trace, hunt that began last week in Joshua Tree National Park scaled back

by Coachella Valley | July 20, 2018 10:54 pm

The search for missing Canadian hiker Paul Miller, who has been missing since Friday morning in Joshua Tree National Park has been scaled back, officials said.

Update by Craige Campbell/ 

Cover Photo by Laura Green

“While resource levels will be reduced, the incident will enter into a limited continuous search mode,” park spokesman George Land said Wednesday. 

““During this phase, searchers will continue to methodically search areas of high probability when sufficient resources are available,” he said.

Miller, 51, was last seen around 9 a.m. Friday, when he left to hike the 49 Palms Oasis trail in Joshua Tree National Park. Miller’s wife became concerned when he hadn’t returned by noon and alerted rangers.

Rangers launched an immediate search, which included up to 90 ground searchers, six canine teams, an all-terrain vehicle team and a helicopter.

None found any trace of Miller beyond his vehicle at the 49 Palms trailhead, according to park spokesman George Land.

“Over the past week, canines never detected Miller’s scent and search crews couldn’t find any tracks, discarded equipment or hikers who may have seen him,” Land said.

Land announced Wednesday that without any sign of Miller, the search had been scaled back. The National Park Service will still send searchers out when they are available, but full-time hunt for Miller is over.

“For anyone who ever gets lost in a national park, the search never totally stops,” Land said.

“We do have to reduce resources because the full-scale search is not sustainable. We will still continue to search areas of high probability when we do have resources available.”

Joshua Tree Search and Rescue volunteers will use the area for training in the hopes that they can find some sign of Miller as well.

It is hard for searchers to admit defeat.

“We had five searches in a row that had a positive outcome,” Land said. “Our crews out here train regularly. … When someone goes missing and is incapacitated on a trail, our teams are extremely skilled at finding them and bringing them out. … For this one, we’re at a dead end.”

“Efforts to find Miller or any trace have been without success,” Land said.

Anyone who has information about Miller’s whereabouts or any other pertinent information is asked to call (909) 383-5651

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