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Hiker missing since August found dead with dog, still alive, beside him on Colorado peak

Photo of a K9 rescue dog involved in the recovery of 71-year-old Rich Moore, who died on Blackhead Peak in Colorado. Moore's Jack Russell terrier survived the ordeal and was found at the hiker's side.
Photo of a K9 rescue dog involved in the recovery of 71-year-old Rich Moore, who died on Blackhead Peak in Colorado. Moore's Jack Russell terrier survived the ordeal and was found at the hiker's side. Taos Search and Rescue/Instagram

A Colorado hiker who was missing for two and a half months was found dead in the San Juan mountain range with his loyal Jack Russell terrier still alive by his side.

Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Springs had been missing since Aug. 19 after setting off with his dog to summit Blackhead Peak, which soars to an elevation of 3812 metres, or 12,500 feet. Moore and Finney the dog failed to return.

About seven weeks later, a local hunter found Moore’s body with Finney still alive beside him, the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office told the Denver Gazette.

The next day, members of the sheriff’s office and search and rescue volunteers were flown to Blackhead Peak to recover the man and his dog.

“We searched from just under the peak-top and directly west, searching down the mountain toward where his car was located,” Taos Search and Rescue member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn wrote. “It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter. He was found 2.5 miles East of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted.”

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Finney was transported to a veterinary hospital for treatment after she was rescued from the mountain top. She has since been reunited with her family, the Denver Gazette reports.

Vanne-Brightyn expressed her condolences for Moore’s family but wrote that she was “glad they were able to gain some closure as well as bring their dog back home.”

Taos Search and Rescue shared a photo of the location of the rescue mission as well as a shot of Vanne-Brightyn’s K9 search and rescue dog who aided in the recovery.

 

Police have yet to release an official cause of death for Moore, though they do not believe foul play was involved.

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Last year in May, a 74-year-old Arizona man died during a hike and was found with his faithful Labrador lying next to his body. A month before that, a 29-year-old hiker in Los Angeles was found dead with his emaciated dog still alive at his side.

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