SANTA CRUZ (KCBS) – The search for a missing Fremont elementary schoolteacher, who lives in Santa Cruz, has been temporarily suspended after a body was found in Kings Canyon National Park.

46-year-old Gregory Muck went missing after failing to return from a backpacking trip in the Sierra and is described as an “experienced hiker.” He failed to return home Sunday and on Tuesday, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks officials issued a missing person alert.

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In a news release late Wednesday afternoon, officials said the body was found at approximately 12,000 feet in elevation northwest of Mount Gardiner. Park staff are in the process of identifying the body.

Muck works as a third-grade teacher at Gomes Elementary School in Fremont.

“I couldn’t believe it because I knew he liked the wilderness,” said Rudy Castillo, the day custodian at Gomes.

Castillo said Muck was well liked by students. “I wish the best for his wife and tell her to hang in there. I’m hoping they do find him and nothing happens to him. He’s a great guy and great with children and he seemed like a good father with his own daughter.”

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Muck is described as a white male, 6-feet tall and weighing 160 to 170 pounds, with blond hair and brown eyes. He has a big beard and was last seen wearing a bright blue shirt, green wool pants, black boots, and a blue bandana. He is also believed to have a red internal frame pack and blue tarp or possible orange tent, with fishing gear.

His intended route was to travel from Roads End in Cedar Grove to Gardiner Basin via Gardiner Pass, and after several days, out Gardiner Creek to Woods Creek to Roads End in Cedar Grove. He went out on August 10 and was scheduled to return on the 17th.

Muck’s wife, Shannon, tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel her husband used to go out for two-week backpacking trips, but now only goes out for one week because he doesn’t want to be away from his 5-year-old daughter.

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