AJ man and his dog killed in truck crash — Found at bottom of Salt River Canyon by search team

By Christina Fuoco- Karasinski
The News

An Apache Junction man who vanished during a trip to Show Low was found dead Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the bottom of a Salt River Canyon after a car crash. His dog, Blue, was deceased with him.

According to Robert Cooper of Superstition Search and Rescue, it is unclear who found the bodies of Jeff Block and Blue, as well as his white Dodge Ram pickup near the bottom of a 1,000-foot canyon near mile post 295 in Gila County. Block and Blue had been there approximately two weeks.

Many people are coming forward to say they found Block because there was a reward, Cooper said.

Superstition Search and Rescue spent 11 days looking for Block and his dog. Cooper said it was difficult to see the crash scene because of the intense damage to the truck.

“All of us looked over that lookout point,” he said. “You can’t see the vehicle from anywhere on the road. We flew a helicopter over three passes in that canyon. The wreckage rested where other wreckage was. I can see why my helicopter didn’t recognize it. It blended in with dozens of other debris.”

Block’s family reported him missing after the 58-year-old, along with Blue, failed to return home from a trip to Show Low on July 25.

Cooper said soon after Block’s family reported him missing, the Superstition Search and Rescue Team received a “plea for help.”

“We got involved immediately,” Cooper said. “We personally passed out 3,000 fliers to people in Show Low, fliers to every business, pizza place. We made a big impact on that community.”

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Air Unit flew the length of the U.S. Highway 60 to Top of the World, east of Superior, as well as mountain access roads in Pinal County, searching for evidence of Block, a press release said. The results were negative. Cooper said that the PCSO didn’t do enough to help with the search.

“Pinal doesn’t care,” Cooper said. “Why didn’t they engage? It’s because they don’t care. If you don’t call back the family, you don’t care.”

Block’s family issued a statement on the website jeffblockismissing.wordpress.com. It said that as a tribute to Block, the family would like to collect donations on behalf of Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR) and other charitable organizations involved in the search.

“Please help us applaud the efforts of SSAR, helping provide them with equipment and supplies for this and future S&R (search and rescue) efforts,” the family wrote.

“Everyone will be invited to attend when we present the funds to the SSAR group and other charities where my family and I can individually and personally thank each and every one of you for your help in searching for and finding our brother/son/uncle/friend.”

They are also collection funds to cover expenses of Block’s search and “final resting.” Cooper said that Block and Blue will be cremated together and their ashes spread in Colorado.

Finally, all other contributions will be pooled and donated to the organizations involved with the family in the last two weeks, and to the humane society in honor of Blue.

All donations may be made to Jeff Block Memorial Fund, the humane society or Superstition Search and Rescue, P.O. Box 3584, San Ramon, CA, 94583.