Summary of Search Operations for Larry Conn
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks received a report of an overdue backpacker, Larry Conn, on Wednesday October 24, 2012, at approximately 10:00 a.m. Larry was reported to be two days overdue in returning from a weekend backpacking trip in the area between Pinchot Pass and Mather Pass. Larry planned to enter the area by hiking over Taboose Pass and exploring the areas around Pinchot Pass and/or Split Mountain.
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was notified about the missing hiker by the Inyo County Sherriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department located Larry’s vehicle at the Taboose Creek trailhead and organized a search on the Inyo National Forest.
- On Wednesday, October 24, Inyo County Sheriff’s Department sent a search team up Taboose Pass and used a California Highway Patrol helicopter to search the area. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks contracted an AStar 350 B3 helicopter to fly search missions and insert search teams. Another helicopter, which was involved in a research project in the area, assisted in the search effort by looking for clues in the course of its regular business. The area was largely covered in snow from a storm over the weekend. Helicopter reconnaissance saw numerous animal tracks, but no human tracks, in the snow in the search area or on routes out of the search area.
- On Thursday, October 25, crews returned to the area to search likely camping areas around Bench Lake and the Bench Lake Ranger Station. Ground searchers swept the trail from Cedar Grove up the Woods Creek Trail. Aerial searches continued throughout the area and included the use of the AStar B3 and a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter with forward looking infrared, which is imaging technology that detects thermal energy. Investigators were contacted by a person who spoke with Larry on October 19, as Larry was beginning his trip. The individual said that Larry expressed an interest in the Pinchot Pass area. Neither the ground teams nor the aerial searchers found any evidence of people hiking in the search area. Two notes were found posted near the LeConte Ranger Station, but neither note was written by Larry.
- On Friday, October 26, more ground teams and helicopters continued to search the area. Ground teams were assigned to hike and search in particular areas and stay overnight. The aerial search continued including the contract B3 helicopter and another National Guard Blackhawk. No more clues were discovered on Friday.
- Today, Saturday, October 27, there are approximately 40 people working on the search effort, including more ground teams and three dogs assigned to focus on specific high-probability areas. These teams will remain overnight and continue searching on Sunday. More aerial searches have been completed using the AStar B3 and a California Highway Patrol helicopter. The search today has been focused around Pinchot Pass, Taboose Pass, Split Mountain, and likely travel corridors/camp locations in those areas.
- Search operations will continue Sunday. Search managers will evaluate information developed so far to determine the direction of the search efforts over the next days.