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Search & Rescue Volunteer found dead on Mt. Baldy was a 9-year-veteran

Mt. BALDY, Calif. (VVNG.com) — The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department released the name of a 9-year-veteran that was killed Saturday afternoon while searching for a missing hiker.

Timothy Staples, 32, was found deceased in an area of ice and snow after he and his other Search & Rescue partner became separated.

The tragedy unfolded at about 1:00 p.m. December 14, 2019, on Mt. Baldy.

Around 1:30 p.m., a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter responded to search for the team members and located Staples deceased in an area of ice and snow.

Staples was hoisted and transported from the wilderness and his partner was later hoisted to the command post.

Sheriff’s officials confirmed Staples and his partner were part of the ongoing search efforts to locate missing hiker Sree Mokkapati. Staples was assigned to the West Valley Search and Rescue Unit and was one of the 126 people working in 23 teams searching large sections of Mt. Baldy. 

The investigation is ongoing to help investigators determine what occurred.  Additional specifics details were unavailable. 

Officials said, at this time, all remaining search teams are being recalled from the mountain.  The initial search operation for Mr. Mokkapati has been suspended and search operations will be reevaluated.

Related Article: Mt. Baldy Search & Rescue crew member dies during today’s search

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