Emaciated Hiker Found After Over A Month Missing In Utah’s Escalante Desert

After not being heard from in over a month, missing hiker William M. LaFever, 28, has been found. He was spotted by a helicopter flying over the Escalante River gorge, where the bearded man was discovered sitting in a shallow river in the Escalante Desert with nothing more than his pants, shoes, underwear, shirt and a lighter. LaFever had been trying to make his way from Boulder, Utah, to Page, Arizona, on foot, and had lost 50 pounds subsisting on nothing but frogs, roots and river water.

Originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, LaFever had called his father on June 6 or 7 to tell him he was hiking with his dog. He had hoped his father would send him some money to help with the journey. Although LaFever didn’t have a car, his plan was to follow the river until he reached Lake Powell, where he wanted to catch a boat. Unfortunately, the 50-mile desert trek was a lot more difficult than LaFever anticipated.

The hiker was both obsessive compulsive and autistic, the latter giving authorities a clue of his whereabouts. They guessed he might be near the river, after hearing how those with autism are often drawn to water. However, according to officials, LaFever is very lucky to have been found. Although he had camping experience and was in a popular hiking area, he had strayed about 30 miles from where trekkers usually go.”We had no idea if William had stayed along the river, or decided to leave, or got a ride with someone, or was lost somewhere other than along the river,” Garfield County Deputy Ray Gardner told CNN. “We flew along it without any expectation of finding anything at all. The conditions would have to be just right too; unless he was out in the open there was no way we would be able to find him.”

LaFever is currently in stable condition; however, he will remain in the hospital until his strength returns. His dog is still being searched for, although reports are being investigated that he may have been found.

[Image via Big Stock]