All posts by Supcert

The Good Shepherds

The Good Shepherds

Dear Lord and all loved ones looking over us,

 Lend us Your guiding hands as we embark on our quest to assist those in need.  You taught us that the good shepherd would forget everything but finding the lost sheep.  May the lost sheep be never alone while the shepherds search.

Grant us the strength, insight, and resources to recover the lost ones.  Grant us the harmony to work together in mutual support.  Hold the lost in Your caring hands.  Hold us together as we spread out and search. Make us guardians to those within our reach.

We pray for the family of the missing.  May You comfort them with Your presence and the knowledge that so many care and are working to help.

We give thanks for each person who has stepped forward, and for every prayer offered.

We know that You are all, and that your light always overcomes. 

The good shepherds will never give up the search.

Amen

~ SSAR Member

The FIDO Bag Project

A.D.O.B.E. Board of Directors

Each year in the United States an estimated half a million pets are affected by fires. More than 40,000 of our family pets die from smoke inhalation alone. Once firefighters secure the family from danger, what happens to your four-legged family members? The First Responders priorities in an emergency are PEOPLE, PETS, and PROPERTY in that order! Animal Controls, Fire and Police departments that have received the FIDO® Bags and the training now feel confident they have the tools to give our pets the best chance of survival in these emergencies. The Superstition Fire & Medical District (formerly known as The Apache Junction Fire District) and the Apache Junction Police Department, were the recipients of nine FIDO Bags, all donated by residents and organizations from Gold Canyon and Apache Junction. The FIDO Project was Chair and Co-Chair by Gold Canyon residents Maxine Brown and Marta Saint-James.

The bags were presented at the February 18th Apache Junction City Council meeting.

The Association for the Development of a Better Environment (A.D.O.B.E.) donated a large FIDO Bag; the name of our organization is embroidered in the bag.

These life-saving-kits can help dogs, cats, and horses. All six trucks for our Fire District, are now equipped with these life-saving-kits. The other three bags will serve the Apache Junction Paws & Claws Animal Care and Control.

The Fetch Foundation www.thefetchfoundation.com is the creators of the FIDO Bags.

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Left to Right: Superstition Fire & Medical District Board member Jeff Cross; Superstition Fire & Medical District Chief Paul Bourgeois; Superstition Search & Rescue (SSAR) Carol Blair-Taheny; SSAR Curt Fonger; SSAR Michael Taheny; A.D.O.B.E. President Genevieve Bricker; Co-Chair FIDO Project Marta Saint-James; Pinal County Supervisor District 5 Todd House; Firefighter Mark Gomez

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‘Project Blue’ Gets Underway

Creative method will help searchers find new wreckage faster
By Bill Van Nimwegen
The News

Last week Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR) began work on “Project Blue,” an effort to mark and catalog existing auto wrecks along area highways. Using the volunteer organization’s considerable expertise and high-tech assets, SSAR is responding to a tragedy that visited one of Apache Junction’s residents almost two years ago.

On July 25, 2012, 58-year-old Jeff Block and his wolf/canine companion Blue, died in a canyon west of Show Low. Jeff and Blue were driving on US-60 on their way home to Apache Junction when Jeff lost control of his Dodge Ram truck and sent it plummeting into Salt River Canyon.

When Jeff did not show up at his home as planned, his brother Dan organized a search party with law enforcement and volunteer organizations to look for Jeff and Blue. A call went out over the internet to get leads on Jeff’s whereabouts and aerial searches began of a 6,000 square mile area along the highways Jeff had traveled.

Because of the area’s rough terrain and the many wrecks littering the canyons, it became obvious that the search would be easier if all the older wrecks along the route were marked with a big “X.”

Jeff and Blue were not found until August 8, after a grueling two week search.

SSAR was one of the local groups involved in the initial search and after Jeff’s body was recovered they returned to the site to recover Blue.

“Project Blue” was formed in 2012 as a non profit organization dedicated to improving the search and rescue efforts for people in vehicle accidents in remote areas. Its mission is to expedite searches by visually marking old wrecks with a large blue X and cataloguing the location with GPS coordinates so search teams will know which wrecks to pass by.

The color blue was chosen because it is not often seen naturally in landscapes and Blue was the name of Jeff Block’s dog.

SSAR uses its remote controlled quad-copter “Eagle 1” to search the remote canyons and locate the wreckage. Team members follow with paint to mark the wreck and establish the GPS coordinates.

Superstition Search & Rescue uses “Eagle 1” to search the remote canyons and locate the wreckage. Team members follow with paint to mark the wreck and establish the GPS coordinates.

Last Sunday’s effort was made on Apache Trail (SR 88) northeast of Apache Junction.
To learn more about Project Blue, visit www.projectbluex.com
Information about Superstition Search & Rescue may be found at http://superstition-sar.org.

Donnie Leading the group in Prayer before they start down ~
Donnie Leading the group in Prayer before they start down ~
The SSAR Team !
The SSAR Team !
Checking out Old wrecked cars at the bottom of the gorge~
Checking out Old wrecked cars at the bottom of the gorge~
A BLUE X Marks one of the Old Wrecks.
A BLUE X Marks one of the Old Wrecks.
Eagle 1 scouting out the dark recesses of the Canyon Floor.
Eagle 1 scouting out the dark recesses of the Canyon Floor.
Eagle Ones Pilot - Commander Robert Cooper ~
Eagle Ones Pilot – Commander Robert Cooper ~

Apache Junction-based search and rescue efforts aided by remote-control quadcopter

By Wendy Miller
Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA

A local search and rescue team is using a new aerial device to find missing persons and help in a statewide effort called Project Blue to mark vehicle wreckage that has already been identified.

In November, Superstition Search and Rescue purchased a Turbo Ace Matrix quadcopter, a remote-control helicopter that stands about a yard wide when all four propeller arms are extended. Mounted to the RC device is a video camera that transmits live feed from the camera to a screen on the handheld control, according to the manufacturer’s website.

SSAR paid about $5,000 with money from its treasury for the well-equipped quadcopter, which it named Eagle 1. It was money well-spent, said SSAR Cmdr. Robert Cooper.

“It’s a great search tool,” Mr. Cooper said during an interview earlier this month. “We’ve already had it on about a half-dozen searches.”

Superstition Search and Rescue is a private volunteer service organization dedicated to wilderness and urban search and rescue in Arizona, according to its website. Between August 2009 and April 2013, SSAR members solved nine cold cases – searches they were requested to assist in after the initial search was completed, according to the SSAR website.

Mr. Cooper attended a half-day flight school in Orange, Calif., to learn how to fly the quadcopter. He believes it will help him and his team find additional missing persons, he said.

The aerial device can fly up to 30 minutes on one battery, Mr. Cooper said. That’s enough time for it to clear – that is, search for a body or evidence – several miles of open land, he said.

The quadcopter has a transmission range of about 1.3 miles but Mr. Cooper said he won’t risk flying it that far away for fear of losing it. He is considering the purchase of a $100 canine GPS device that he could attach to the quadcopter much like it would to a dog’s collar to help track the device.

Eagle 1’s high-definition camera footage can be uploaded online so that SSAR volunteers can remotely study the footage frame-by-frame, Mr. Cooper said.

The quadcopter also can help searchers look through rough terrain that they otherwise would not be able to reach by foot, he said.

The technology would have assisted in the search of hikers who were later found in rocky, remote areas, he said.

In 2009, Colorado treasure hunter Jesse Capen, 35, went missing during a search for the legendary Lost Dutchman’s gold mine in the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction. After a three-year search, SSAR found his remains in November 2012 after a searcher spotted a boot in a crevasse 35 feet off the floor, making it hard to see from any direction, Mr. Cooper said.

The SSAR commander said he believes aerial assistance from the quadcopter would have shortened the search.

SSAR is using the quadcopter during its search for the missing Joe Domin, Mr. Cooper said. Known as “GPS Joe” because of his use of the electronic guidance system, Mr. Domin was an avid hiker from Mesa who “did everything by the book,” SSAR member Marta Saint-James told the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent during an interview last May. Mr. Domin was reported missing Nov. 15, 2010, and was last believed to be in an area near Four Peaks and the Mazatzal Mountains, Ms. Saint-James said. SSAR was brought in on the cold case in December 2012, according to its website.

SSAR was encouraged at the time by a landmark members sighted in an aerial photograph of the area where they are searching for GPS Joe. In the photograph was a large X made of two 10-foot-long branches.

“It could be intentional or accidental,” Mr. Cooper noted in May.

The quadcopter could produce additional video for searchers to review, he said earlier this month.

The team’s recent efforts to hunt for Mr. Domin have been hampered by snow covering the ground, Mr. Cooper said during a phone interview last week.

The device also could assist other local agencies, Mr. Cooper said. It has a GPS lock that enables it to hover over a live incident so it can be viewed from a safe distance, he said. That means SSAR could loan Eagle 1 to the Apache Junction Police Department to use during a Special Weapons and Tactics situation or to the Apache Junction Fire District to view a fire or flood from overhead. SSAR will use Eagle 1 next month to help with Project Blue. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the search and rescue efforts for people in vehicle accidents in remote areas, according to its website.

The quadcopter will help searchers find existing off-road wreckage in canyons and other hard-to-reach areas, Mr. Cooper said. Volunteers will then rappel down and mark the wrecked vehicles with a blue X so future aerial and ground searches for missing people can distinguish old wreckage from new and save precious search time, Mr. Cooper said.

Project Blue is a tribute to Jeff Block and his dog, Blue. The two were found at the bottom of Arizona’s Salt River Canyon after the vehicle in which they were driving lost control on a mountain highway and drove 800 feet off the cliff, Mr. Cooper said.

They were reported missing July 25, 2012, after they did not return from the drive in the mountains; their remains were found two weeks later, according to Project Blue’s website.

Mr. Block’s brother, Danny, will visit the Valley March 8, Mr. Cooper said. On March 8 or 9, volunteers from SSAR and Project Blue will tag vehicle wreckage, Mr. Cooper said.

The nonprofit rescue team was originally formed in 1981 as Apache Junction Search and Rescue. In 1994, it incorporated and changed its name to Superstition Wilderness Rescue, Inc. It later changed the name again to Superstition Search and Rescue and is a Community Emergency Response Team.

For more information, visit SSAR’s website. For survival tips, visit its Facebook page at Superstition Mountain Emergency Preparedness, where it posts two tips weekly, Mr. Cooper said.

News Editor Wendy Miller can be contacted at 480-982-7799 and via e-mail at ajeditor@newszap.com, or follow her on Twitter @WendyNewszap123. Be sure to like us on Facebook.

AJ-remote1

Robert Cooper flies Eagle 1, a remote-control helicopter Superstition Search and Rescue has used on a half-dozen cases, near Superstition Mountain. The aerial device can fly up to 30 minutes on one battery (Wendy Miller, Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA).

AJ-remote2

Robert Cooper of Superstition Search and Rescue prepares the remote-control helicopter for a demonstration.

Eye In The Sky

‘Eagle 1’ is Superstition Search & Rescue’s new high-tech tool
By Bill Van Nimwegen
The News

Imagine you have just taken a spill in one of the out-of-the-way canyons in the Superstitions. It wasn’t a serious fall, but you have twisted your ankle and it’s very painful to walk, let alone climb out. Hours have gone by when you hear the insistent sound of a swarm of insects and look up to see a hovering high-tech quad-copter.

eagle1

Smile! You’re on camera, and help is on the way. Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR), a local volunteer rescue group, has added a new tool to help them in their efforts to locate and rescue lost or injured hikers.

“Eagle 1,” SSAR’s Matrix quad-copter, is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) they recently purchased and are now putting through its paces to see how best to use it. It consists of a technologically-advanced system that includes a gimbal mounted video camera on a remote controlled helicopter along with a control unit and a monitor that shows a live feed from the copter. The UAV has wireless connections to six Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. The monitor displays a high resolution video feed plus grid coordinates of where it is and where the ground based pilot wants it to go.

The battery-powered helicopter can be controlled from 200 yards away during a 25-minute flight time. The benefit to both the search team and those that are lost or in trouble is tremendous. The peaks and deep canyons of the Superstitions can be accessed quicker and safer using the UAV along with searchers in the field, resulting in critical time savings.

Robert Cooper, director of urban searches at SSAR, said that the system can give accu rate directions to help find the person who is lost.

SSAR has had their eye on the system for a long time. “We have been hosting fundraisers and applying for grants because UAV systems used to cost $20,000, but the technology is going up and the prices are coming down,” Cooper said. “We ended up paying just $5,000 for the best system, with all of the upgrades.” Cooper added that it also came with a hat.

eagle2

The Apache Junction Elks #2349 raised $2,000 to be applied to the purchase. Dennis Mack, one of the SSAR volunteers who is also in the Elks said that Eagle 1 should be a big help on the trail. “It folds up to fit in a suitcase, which is actually pretty heavy,” Mack said. “But I guess we’ll rig up a harness so it won’t be too hard to pack in.”

SSAR is a private volunteer service organization dedicated to wilderness and urban search and rescue in Arizona. The primary purpose of the organization is to assist individuals who may experience wilderness-related problems including falls or medical emergencies, lost or overdue hikers and heat or cold exposure. SSAR is skilled in wilderness first-aid, technical rescue, orienteering and tracking. These skills enable Superstition Search & Rescue members to safely and efficiently move patients from the field to appropriate medical service in the event of injury, or to their families, in the case of a lost or overdue hiker. You can learn more about SSAR and volunteering at www.superstition-sar.org.

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Widow criticizes Pinal County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team after they failed to find husband

Monday, November 11, 2013
ABC 15
By Dave Biscobing and Mark LaMet

The widow of a rock climber who died on the Superstition Mountains in April is calling out the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, saying they didn’t listen to information she tried to give them that would have led them directly to her husband.

Tonya Hensley says on April 15, 2013, her husband Chris told her he was going up into the Superstition Mountains to take some pictures that he could show his two daughters.

He texted her a photo of the intersection where he was heading up into the mountains. He then sent instructions to pick him up there.

That was the last time Tonya ever heard from Chris.

As Chris Hensley climbed and hiked up the southwest face of the Superstitions, he carried a new video camera his wife had bought for him.

He also took along a water bottle, his cell phone, a hat and his dreams of getting all the way up, back to a peak known as Flat Iron.

You can hear Chris say on the video he shot as he climbed, “That’s where I was trying to get to.”

He had made the same climb before. With the camera dangling from his waist, the video shows then Hensley encounter loose and dangerous rocks.

His video captures everything from boulders to pebbles as they go tumbling down the mountain at the slightest touch.

Hensley comments, “Oops, this is what you face.”

At the same time, he also marvels at the amazing view he has from the mountain.

“This place is frigging gorgeous!”

Wife Tonya told us someday her daughters will see the video their father shot on his final climb, but she also says she cannot look at it now.

GETTING DARK

It becomes clear from watching Chris Hensley’s video that he’s losing daylight hours. The video shows he decides to turn around and start the treacherous climb down.

“I would love to hit the tip today but I’m afraid I would be stuck up there til dark.”

Just a minute later he says, “It’s definitely time to go back.”

A few minutes before the end of the videotape, Hensley’s cell phone vibrates and you can see that it’s his wife calling. He doesn’t pick up, and then says, “Not at the moment darling. Sorry to scare you but I have no idea how I’m getting off this frigging mountain.”

Not long after, Tonya Hensley called 9-1-1 and told dispatchers her husband had not returned from the mountain.

It was 10 p.m. and they told her they would send out a search team in the morning.

That next morning, members of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team were out looking for Chris Hensley.

“They went out pretty early in the morning, probably around six,” Tonya told us.

But Tuesday and Wednesday went by and there were no signs of Chris.

By Wednesday night, someone from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office called Tonya to tell her they were suspending their search for the evening.

“That’s when I just lost all hope,” Tonya said.

She says she felt that the Pinal County Deputies she was dealing with were not listening to her.

“I know I did everything I could. I gave them every bit and piece of information I had,” she said.

Desperate to find her husband, Tonya learned about an independent search and rescue team on the web.

She called Superstition Search and Rescue, known as SSAR, an all-volunteer team led by Robert Cooper and Dennis Mack.

They met with Tonya and she says they listened carefully to what she knew about the route Chris took up the mountain.

With that information, Cooper and Mack said it only took them two hours to find Chris Hensley’s body.

Now, they can’t figure out why the Pinal County Search and Rescue Team didn’t find Hensley much sooner.

“With the information they had–they should have gone right to him,” Mack said.

ABC15 asked Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to speak to us about this story, but he declined.

A PCSO spokesperson told us they believe Tonya Hensley gave the men from the Superstition Mountain Search and Rescue Team more information and that’s why they were able to find her husband so quickly.

Tonya Hensley calls that allegation ridiculous and false.

“Why would I withhold any information? He’s my husband and we have two kids together. We just want him to come home,” she said.

Just a few days after her husband was found dead, she attended a Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting and she took to the podium to voice her feelings about the way the Pinal County Sheriff’s office handled the search for her husband.

“I was lied to and treated with disrespect,” she told the board. “PCSO was untruthful with me and with the public.”

She points to a PCSO press release that falsely claimed it was the sheriff’s office that found her husband’s body.

Read the entire text of what Tonya Hensley told the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.

In a written response to our questions, a spokesperson for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said they have a 98 percent success rate.

PCSO said they devoted 800 man hours to the search for Chris Hensley, but they’ve been criticized for their work in other cases.

In January 2010, the PCSO team spent two days searching for Raymond Churchill. SSAR later found his body in less than an hour.

In September 2009, PCSO spent five days looking for Kelly Tate on Superstition Mountain, but it was the Superstition Mountain Search and Rescue Team that later found his remains in about an hour.

Dennis Mack told us “You went up to where he ate lunch, you could see his egg wrappings, and you look straight ahead, there’s his motorcycle. You walk straight to it and there he was. It was simple.”

PCSO’s command post was only 150 yards from where Tate’s remains were located.

THE HISTORY

For nearly 30 years, the Sheriff’s office and the Superstition team worked together and most observers agreed it was beneficial for the community to have the collaboration.

That changed in 2009 when Paul Babeu was elected Sheriff and he restructured all search and rescue operations under one command.

Robert Cooper told the ABC15 Investigators that’s when SSAR chose to cut ties with PCSO because his organization did not have confidence in the training and experience of the commanders Sheriff Babeu put in charge of the unit.

A spokesperson for Sheriff Babeu said the split was due to Robert Cooper’s refusal to submit to a background check but the ABC15 Investigators have verified that Cooper has passed background checks with other law enforcement agencies.

We also learned Coopers team works with the FBI and law enforcement teams from across the state.

They’ve won awards and commendations.

STILL GRIEVING

Tonya Hensley’s attorney has filed a notice of claim–a precursor to a lawsuit. It alleges a “negligent failure to conduct a competent search.”

It’s now been seven months since Chris Hensley died.

She tells us she is doing her best to raise her daughters in a Godly way because that’s what she and Chris talked about before he died.

But she can’t do it living in the shadows of Superstition Mountain. “I don’t ever want to see it again,” she said.

Read an editorial written by Commander Scott Elliott of PCSO about the split between the Pinal County Sheriff’s office and the Superstition Mountain Search and Rescue Team.

Read SSAR Director Robert Cooper’s reply.                        

“I was lied to and treated with disrespect”

SanTanValley.com News
April 27, 2013
by
Tonya Hensley

My name is Tonya Hensley. I live in Mesa, Arizona.

I am the widow of Chris Hensley who went missing on Monday, April 15th and was found on Friday, April 19th at the bottom of a 200 foot cliff at Superstition Mountain.

At 10:00 PM last Monday, I called the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to report my husband missing as of 5:27 PM that evening. I was assured by the deputy that he had “400 phone calls to make to get a search and rescue team and a helicopter out.” On Tuesday I was informed that no helicopter had gone out nor had a search team.

On Tuesday four members from PCSO Search and Rescue team went on a several hour hike to look for Chris. After coming back, they sat around for four hours and after I asked why they weren’t searching, they told me “I know there seems to be a lot of sitting around but this is the process.”

I told the PCSO crew leader that Chris hiked the area one time before and made it to the bottom of Flat Iron in 1 hour and 30 minutes. His goal was to get to the top. I had told the deputy which intersection Chris left from as he entered the park.

The search team assured me Chris wouldn’t have gone that far and that it was too dangerous to get their team that high up. For four days they were searching the WRONG area because they said they don’t have the insurance coverage to go to where I TOLD them Chris was going.

They said it was too windy to get a helicopter in the air. Why wouldn’t they go look?

I was lied to and treated with disrespect. The Sheriff’s Office personnel acted like Chris was a bad person because he had a rough past. I felt they didn’t care about my family.

The early press releases by the Sheriff’s Office were wrong. Not only was I lied to, the public was lied to in these releases. PCSO was wrong in saying it was Chris’ first time in the Superstitions. PCSO was wrong in saying he was not familiar with the area. PCSO was wrong to say he didn’t tell anyone where he was going. PCSO was untruthful with me and with the public throughout the week.

Those PCSO phrases were repeated verbatim in most media reports. PCSO press releases made false claims as to the amount of time they had been searching.

I called the Sheriff’s Office several times to get details and information. I rarely got a call back. I had to drive up to their search camp numerous times just to see what was going on.

If the Sheriff’s search team would have only listened to the information I was telling them, my husband wouldn’t have been lying at the bottom of a canyon for four days. The group that was in charge of this search didn’t know what they were doing and they didn’t care about the families that were waiting in agony to hear some answers and to get their loved one back.

All they had to do was go where I told them Chris was going. Chris told me EXACTLY where he was going and exactly what route he would take. The PCSO team didn’t care what I had to say because they knew better than I did. They said they have to follow a so called “system.” They were in the wrong. My husband’s case was different. He deserved a fair and thorough search and they should have listened to the details I was giving them.

On Wednesday I called Deputy Love and told him I didn’t trust his team because of all the misinformation. I can remember three times they told me there were helicopters out. Not one of those three times resulted in a helicopter going out.

I was also told there would be 50-60 people out on the field looking but I came to find out there were only three. They also said they would send dogs out. They didn’t when they told me they would.

Not every case deserves the same typical routine. Every case is different. There needs to be a different person in charge of Search and Rescue. The teams that looked for my husband didn’t do their job right. That resulting in him lying in a canyon. His body was so decomposed we couldn’t even say our last goodbyes.

On Thursday my family was told about Superstition Search and Rescue. We gave that group the same information that we had given to PCSO Search and Rescue earlier. Within a mere 2 1/2 hours in the field acting on our information, SSAR successfully located my husband’s body. This proves beyond a reasonable doubt that PCSO completely disregarded the reliable information that I had given them.                        

Body of missing hiker found in Superstitions

by Steve Stout – Apr. 19, 2013 01:47 PM

APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (CBS5) –

Searchers have found the body of a hiker missing in the Superstition Mountains since Monday.

Members of the Superstition Search and Rescue team of the Apache Junction Police Department found the body of Christopher Hensley in a canyon south of Siphon Draw Trail in the Superstition Wilderness Area of the Tonto National Forest shortly after noon and alerted the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

A search had been underway since Monday afternoon for the 34-year-old Hensley, who left a family member’s house in Apache Junction Monday afternoon to hike in the wilderness area.

Tamra Ingersoll of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said Hensley had recently moved to Arizona and was not familiar with the area and did not tell his family where in the park he planned to hike.

The body was found in a rugged area that prevented a helicopter from landing, so members of the Pinal County Search and Rescue team were hiking into the canyon area to retrieve the body, according to Tim Gaffney of the sheriff’s office.

No cause of death had been determined.                        

Body of Missing Lost Dutchman Hiker Possibly Found by Superstition Search and Rescue

by Monica Alonzo Fri., Apr. 19, 2013 01:07 PM

Members of the Superstition Search and Rescue have discovered what they suspect is the body of a hiker missing since Monday.

Crews from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office responded to Lost Dutchman State Park on Monday night — four days ago — after receiving a call of an overdue hiker, PCSO spokeswoman Tamra Ingersoll told the Arizona Republic on Wednesday.

Ingersoll told the Republic that Christopher Hensley, 34, was last seen Monday afternoon when he set out for a hike through the state park. She also said on Wednesday that the sheriff’s search crews had been searching for more than 45 hours but found no sign of Hensley.

SSAR members are just now coming down the mountain after making their discovery and reporting it to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

See Also:
Paul Babeu Sticks It to Taxpayers and a Volunteer Rescue Team

New Times spoke with Robert Cooper, head of the SSAR, as he sat on a rock in the canyon waiting for law enforcement officials to arrive and debrief him about his team’s find.

Cooper tells us the body fits the description of the missing man, but no positive identification has been made by law enforcement officials.

Cooper says he received a call last night from the wife of the missing man, asking for his team’s assistance. He went to her home and got a print from her husband’s shoe.

The team’s success would depend on tried-and-true tracking.

Last night, after Cooper left the wife’s home, he went to the park’s fence line, searched the footprints on the ground and says he was able to determine where the hiker apparently entered the park.

About 8:30 a.m. today, 11 SSAR members hiked into the canyon and ascended the steep cliffs.

They found a body in less than three hours.

“We can’t just come out unless we’re asked,” Cooper explains about his team’s involvement. “Our team is no longer part of the PCSO search-and-rescue team. We’re a private nonprofit organization.”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu started his own search-and-rescue team, effectively booting SSAR for not wanting to disband and work under the sheriff’s command.

“We figured out where he entered and followed his prints into the canyon,” Cooper says.

Crews from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Pima County had also been assisting in the search.

Cooper says the body of the man is at the base of a 200-foot cliff, and while it appears that he fell, it’s unclear from what point on the face of the Flat Iron cliff the man fell.