NATIONAL NEWS

Colorado hiker missing for months found dead with his dog still alive by his side

Nov 15, 2023, 11:08 AM

A Google Map point of Blackhead Peak on Colorado. (Taos Search and Rescue)...

A Google Map point of Blackhead Peak on Colorado. (Taos Search and Rescue)

(Taos Search and Rescue)

(CNN) —The body of a 71-year-old hiker who went missing in August was found in the southern Colorado mountains and his loyal terrier, which had survived in the wilderness, was still at his side, a rescue group said.

Rich Moore embarked with his Jack Russell Terrier, Finney, on August 19 with plans to summit Blackhead Peak – a 12,500-foot peak in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. He never returned, the Taos Search and Rescue group said in a Facebook post.

Moore, who was from nearby Pagosa Springs, was missing for about 10 weeks until a hunter stumbled across his remains on October 30, about 2 1/2 miles east of the mountain top. Finney was alongside him, according to the volunteer rescue group.

Finney had lost about half of his body weight when he was discovered but appeared to be in relatively good shape, according to Taos member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, who responded to the initial search for Moore.

“It just brings us all to tears, the loyalty of that dog,” she told CNN on Monday.


Moore died of “exposure/hypothermia,” according to Archuleta County Coroner Bradley Hunt. It was not possible to determine Moore’s date or time of death, said Hunt.

Vanne-Brightyn joined the search for Moore with her certified K9 shepherd, AkioYodasan. Search and rescue crews looked for Moore several times, beginning at the mountain peak and moving westward toward the parking lot where he had left his car, she said.

Parts of the mountain are so steep that the crews had to be flown in by a helicopter, she recalled. She noted hiking the summit is an “extremely rigorous” undertaking.

The weather was bright and sunny on the day Moore went missing, Vanne-Brightyn said, noting an avid hiker should have been able to see where his car was parked from the peak.

“[It] defied all of our lost person behavior that he went over the other side of the mountain,” Vanne-Brightyn said.

CNN has reached out to the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office for information on Moore’s cause of death.

Vanne-Brightyn believes Finney likely survived on water from nearby underground streams and by capturing small animals such as field mice or chipmunks.

The dog was taken into custody by the sheriff’s office animal control division before being returned to his other owners, a division spokesperson told CNN.

 

Dogs can be ‘loyal to death,’ expert says

 

Certified dog behaviorist and trainer Russell Hartstein says it’s “not unheard of” for a dog to develop such an intense loyalty to its owner.

“They become loyal to the death a lot of times,” Hartstein told CNN Monday.

Jack Russell terriers, in particular, are bred to survive by hunting rodents or other small animals, he noted.

It isn’t the first time a missing hiker has been found dead with their furry companion still by their side.

Last May, 74-year-old Donald Hayes went missing while hiking a mountain near Prescott, Arizona, with his dog, Ranger, local authorities said in a 2022 release.

When Hayes’ remains were found almost a week later among the rugged terrain, Ranger was alive and assumed to have remained with his owner the entire time, officials said. The dog was brought to a local animal hospital for treatment, the release said.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

The fossil, nicknamed Apex, was discovered by a commercial paleontologist on his private land in Co...

Lianne Kolirin, CNN

‘Virtually complete’ Stegosaurus fossil goes on sale – but not everyone is happy

A Stegosaurus skeleton described as the “most complete and best preserved” of its kind ever discovered is expected to fetch up to $6 million at auction.

5 hours ago

Harvey Weinstein appears in Manhattan Criminal Court on May 29, 2024 in New York City. The fallen m...

Philip Marcelo, Associated Press

Harvey Weinstein may face new charges as more accusers come forward, New York prosecutors say

Manhattan prosecutors have told a judge they are evaluating new claims of sexual misconduct made against Harvey Weinstein.

6 hours ago

Guy Pearce departs the "The Shrouds" (Les Linceuls) Red Carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festi...

Leah Asmelash, CNN

‘It’s a disgrace:’ Actor Guy Pearce responds to Vanity Fair France’s edit of Palestine flag pin

The publication published a photo of actor Guy Pearce with his Palestinian flag pin edited out, an error that was quickly noticed on social media and called out as censorship.

7 hours ago

A Michigan man appearing virtually in a Washtenaw County court hearing earlier this month was order...

Eric Henderson, WWJ

Video shows man with suspended license Zoom into Michigan court hearing while driving

A Michigan man appearing virtually in a court hearing was ordered to turn himself in after his camera showed him actively driving under a suspended license.

9 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday, May 20, 2024 in New Yo...

Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Erick Tucker and Michelle L. Price, Associated Press

Guilty: Trump becomes first former U.S. president convicted of felony crimes

The jury in Donald Trump’s hush money trial has reached a verdict, signaling a highly anticipated culmination of the first criminal case against a former American president.

10 hours ago

Footlong cookies have returned to Subway's menus nationwide. (Subway, via CNN Newsource)...

Jordan Valinsky, CNN

Subway is bringing back the footlong cookie after it disappeared for four months

Rest easy, America: Subway’s footlong cookie is back.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Colorado hiker missing for months found dead with his dog still alive by his side