Search grows for missing hikers

Hundreds join effort to find two Costa Mesa alum, Nicholas Cendoya and Kyndall Jack, in the hills of Trabuco Canyon.

April 02, 2013|By Lauren Williams
  • A message for Kyndall Jack, left by her mother, is written on Nicholas Cendoya's car in Holy Jim Canyon on Tuesday.
A message for Kyndall Jack, left by her mother, is written… (KEVIN CHANG )

TRABUCO CANYON — About 20 searchers were set to be deployed overnight Tuesday to continue looking for two missing hikers from Costa Mesa, after hundreds of friends and family had shown up throughout the day to help.

Rescue workers from various agencies will return to Trabuco Canyon in full force Wednesday morning, said Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. Erin Giudice.

Kyndall Jack, 18, and Nicholas Cendoya, 19, called authorities about 8:25 p.m. Sunday, saying they were lost but thought they were about a mile away from their car, according to the Sheriff's Department. Their cell phone battery apparently died after the call.

Giudice said Tuesday afternoon that she thinks the two are alive but probably hurt.

"If these two were ambulatory, I believe they would have walked out," she said.

Bloodhounds had picked up Jack's and Cendoya's scents early Monday and again late that night, officials said. On Tuesday afternoon, rescuers combed through a 2-mile arc from the hikers' car, focusing efforts on where their scents were last found.


"Because of the time frame it's gone on, we want to find these two tonight," Giudice said.

Authorities said they were concerned about heat and cold stress, but the cloud cover has worked in the couple's favor, keeping temperatures relatively warm at night in the low 50s.

"These are very survivable conditions," said Orange County Sheriff's Department Reserve Lt. Chuck Williams. "That's what we pray for."

But officials say Jack and Cendoya may be in need of water and at an altitude where they won't find any.

Williams said the family told authorities the pair don't have any health problems and don't take any prescription drugs.

He said he is surprised rescuers haven't yet found the two hikers.

About 60 personnel from various agencies, including the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the California Emergency Management Agency, have combed the area.

The U.S. Forest Service gave permission to cut a brushy area on a mountain peak north of Live Oak Canyon Trail to land a helicopter, said Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Jon Muir.

About four Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue personnel and two dogs and their handlers were dropped between Falls Canyon and the Old Camp area, northwest of the pair's car, to search from the top down, Giudice said.

The area was chosen because of a nearby cell phone tower that was pinged when Jack and Cendoya called, she said.

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