Official search suspended for lost desert hiker

Story by Pauline Repard Tuesday, April 17, 2012

EAST COUNTY — Sheriff’s search and rescue volunteers have suspended their search for a 25-year-old San Diego man apparently lost amid the barren Anza-Borrego Desert mud caves since Easter.

Guillermo Piño Jr., 25, had been exploring caves with one of his two sisters, her husband, and two friends when he went off by himself, barefoot and not carrying water or a cellphone, sheriff’s officials said.

The caves are near Arroyo Tapiado, a desolate region east of Canebrake and Vallecito Creek off county road S-2.

The family searched on their own for several hours, then reported him missing the evening of April 8. Scores of trained searchers from several Southern California counties, outdoor enthusiasts and friends spent most of the daylight hours since then scouring caves, canyons and washes for a sign of Piño.

“A search is never really cancelled until we find the person,” sheriff’s search and rescue team Sgt. Don Parker said Tuesday. “It’s suspended until we have more information about when we can search in a better location and in a better way.”

Parker said his unit’s involvement was suspended on Sunday, but some deputies will search periodically when they can. A team of San Bernardino County sheriff’s search and rescue volunteers combed one more area on Monday.

The ground search covered more than 60 square miles and helicopters covered 80 square miles, but concentrated on a smaller area in the center, Parker said.


2 year old dies in a Ramona pond

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Ramona toddler dies after falling in pond
A 2-year-old Ramona girl died at Rady Children’s Hospital after rescuers pulled her from a pond in the 1800 block of Cedar Street on Saturday afternoon, reported sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Evans.

At 3:15 p.m. June 4, the sheriff’s Communications Center received a 911 call from a hysterical reporting party that the toddler was under water in a pond. Sheriff’s deputies, CalFire and California Highway Patrol arrived within minutes, said Evans.

“Deputies and firefighters saw two people thrashing about in the very large pond,” states a news release from the sheriff’s department. “Deputies and firefighters stripped off their gear and immediately jumped into the pond and began searching for the toddler.”

They located her in the deepest portion of the pond. Lifesaving efforts were initiated immediately and the child was transported by ambulance to an awaiting air ambulance that flew her to Rady Children’s Hospital, Evans reported. Despite aggressive resuscitation efforts, the child was pronounced dead at the hospital at 4:34 p.m., the medical examiner’s office reported.

The pond was irregularly shaped and about 60 by 90 feet and 7 feet deep. The water was dark and murky with vegetation growing across the top, Evans stated, adding that visibility was almot zero in the water and rescuers searched by feel.
The identity of the child was not released.


A two year old child should always be under a protective and watchful eye

All too often I see children running around without supervision. Knowing there is a pond nearby, how did the parents or those adults responsible for the child not pay extra attention? I hope there is a follow-up to this story. We don’t know if the child may have slipped out the door or if the person responsible for her had a medical emergency which may have given the child an opportunity to adventure out to the pond. If this was inattention and lack of proper supervision, a very detailed follow-up to this story would be in order.

Jim Nutting