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Human remains recovered at Mt. Baldy three months after hiker went missing

A snow–covered Mt. Baldy is seen in this file photo. Human remains were found on the mountain over the weekend.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Human remains have been found atop Mt. Baldy several weeks after a man told his family he was going for a hike there and did not return, officials said this week.

The remains were recovered Sunday by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and its San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team and Emergency Services Detail, said sheriff’s Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez.

The body still has to be identified by the county coroner, she said.

In late March, Los Angeles County resident Kwang Sun Kim, 72, went missing after telling his family he was going on a hike on the mountain. Mt. Baldy is a popular, strenuous hiking destination; in the winter and early spring, trail conditions can be icy and hazardous.

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In January, aviation crews with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department rescued several hikers who were unprepared for extremely icy conditions in the area.

Two L.A. residents were hiking the Devil’s Backbone trail, east of the Mt. Baldy summit, without crampons when one of them slipped and slid about 200 feet down an ice chute before hitting a tree.

Another man had gone missing at that time near the Ice House Canyon area before a crew found him a few miles from the trailhead at 8,000 feet elevation in steep, mountainous terrain covered in snow and ice.

In December, Tim Staples, a 32-year-old search and rescue volunteer, was found dead in the ice and snow after he got separated from his partner while searching for Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati, an Irvine resident who went missing earlier that month while hiking Mt. Baldy with a group. Mokkapati has not been found.


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