Man separated from hikers gets lost

May 27, 2000
Dark Canyon, near Allandale Fire Station

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Daniel Ortiz from Santa Anna, 36, became separated from his party and left the trail to cut cross country in an attempt to walk out. He became disoriented and decided to use his cell phone to call for help. Walt Walker from RMRU spoke with Daniel and told him to "STAY PUT" until searchers find him. Unfortunately, Daniel used the cell phone to call other people and ran the battery down before RMRU was able to get all the details. RMRU was called out by the Sheriff's Department and established a base station at Allandale. Three teams and RMRU's Isuzu Trooper were sent out. Joe Erickson listened to the information provided by the subject and interpreted the information differently and requested a different assignment. His instincts were correct. He found some fresh boot prints so he and Gene Baune started following the tracks. They made voice contact at 1:05 AM. The other three teams returned to base. Team 4 and the subject walked out to the Trooper near Lawler Lodge on State Route 243. The mission concluded at 4:30 AM.