Hiker’s Body Found In Mtns.

4-day PCSO search ends – SSAR finds body in 2 hrs.

by Bill Van Nimwegen, The News

The body of 34-year-old Christopher Hensley was found Friday, April 19, near a canyon south of Siphon Draw in the Superstition Mountains. Authorities have confirmed that the body is that of the novice hiker missing since Monday, April 15.

The volunteer Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR) team began looking for Hensley on Friday morning after a request by his wife the night before. The Apache Junction based volunteer team found the body after only a two-hour search.

Hensley was last seen Monday afternoon when he set out for a hike at Lost Dutchman State Park. “He was racing the sun,” said Robert Cooper, Director of Urban Search and Rescue at SSAR, “It looks like he may have slipped and fallen 200 feet into a steep canyon.”

SSAR began it’s search from the house where Hensley was staying with relatives in East Apache Junction. “We just tracked him,” said Cooper, “We track and then we use our nose.”

According to an April 17 story in the Arizona Republic by Jennifer Thomas, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Search and Rescue unit and volunteer Search and Rescue Posse members had been searching the rough terrain of the mountains for 2 1/2 days, since about 10 p.m. April 16.

Although wind conditions limited a search by helicopter, the search continued and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Search and Rescue team joined in the search. There were injuries sustained by both PCSO and MCSO searchers on Tuesday.

According to a press release from PCSO, “The body will be removed from the mountainous area and will be turned over to the medical examiner’s office for further evaluation and to rule on the cause of death.”

“We have been very busy this year,” said Cooper, “and we are always looking for volunteers.”

You can learn more about SSAR and volunteering at www.superstition-sar.org.