From Monterey County Herald
Search for missing hiker wrapping up with no leads
The search for Arvin Nelson will be wrapping up with air searches
By Ana Ceballos
firstname.lastname@example.org @ceballosap on Twitter
POSTED: 08/25/2014 05:40:22 PM PDT
UPDATED: ABOUT 2 HOURS AGO
The Army National Guard from Stockton loads members of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team at the Carmel Valley Airport on Aug. 18 during the multi-agency search for lost hiker Arvin Nelson. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)
Search and rescue volunteers Rachel Allen and Shanna Hoversten enter a Coast Guard helicopter at the Carmel Valley Airport on Aug. 18 during the search for lost hiker Arvin Nelson. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)
MONTEREY >> It’s been 10 days since search and rescue teams started combing through steep terrain in Big Sur in search for Arvin Nelson, but leads have turned up nothing.
The search for Nelson began promptly and support from search and rescue teams from more than 10 different agencies grew strong.
Five days into the search, more than 50 ground searchers were out looking for Nelson. Some camped out for two days along the Camp China trails — where the experienced hiker said he would be — while others came back to Carmel Valley to rest for another eight-hour search the next day.
However, nothing hinting to Nelson’s whereabouts has been found.
On Monday, SAR officials re-evaluated the situation and determined ground searchers would no longer be used, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. John Thornburg said.
The search for Nelson will continue without ground searchers, but will persist by air.
A Monterey fire airplane and a helicopter will fly above the trails in search for leads or better — Nelson.
Thornburg said the search will likely be wrapping up Tuesday as leads to go on remain scarce.
"Unless something is found," Thornburg said. "But we don’t have any leads and we haven’t found him or anything."
The search has gone on for a while because authorities believe Nelson is an experienced hiker and would be able to survive a long time in the wilderness.
Nelson initially had planned for an eight-day backpacking trip starting on Aug. 6 and ending on Aug. 14, but he never came out of the woods.
By Aug. 16, one of his friends reported him missing. His friends told authorities he knew what he was doing and that he might be in trouble, Thornburg said.
Since he has been reported missing, none of his friends have heard from him either, Thornburg said, which means he hasn’t made it out yet.
Kevin Raskoff, one of Nelson’s Monterey Peninsula College professors, describes him as a character who "seems to have done just about everything at some point in time."
"He is a favorite with a lot of faculty at MPC, so we are all eagerly awaiting word about his safe return," Raskoff said.
Thornburg said SAR teams still have hope and despite the lack in leads, they believe Nelson is still alive.
"There’s nothing that makes us think he is alive or dead," he said.
The aid and abundance in volunteers helping in the search are not uncommon, but they may be costly.
Thornburg said the thorough search would not have been possible without the help of other agencies.
The cost of the search will likely be known by the end of the week, he said.
Ana Ceballos can be reached at 726-4377.