SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS (CBS SF) — The body of missing hiker Ling Dao was discovered Tuesday afternoon on the north side of Mt. Whitney in Sequoia National Park, Park officials said.
The Tulare County Coroner’s Office was attempting to determine the cause of death.
Dao, a Virginia native, was reported missing on Friday, June 14, after he failed to report for work. He had flown into Las Vegas on Tuesday and planned to summit Mt. Whitney on June 12, friends told investigators.
He then was to return to Las Vegas and catch a red-eye flight back home to be at work on Thursday.
Inyo County Sheriff’s deputies contacted the rental car company that Dao used and was advised that Dao had returned his vehicle at 10:00 a.m. Friday, June 14. However after continuing calls from family regarding Dao, the sheriff’s deputies recontacted the rental company again, at which point differing information was provided.
According to the rental car company’s updated information, Dao had returned his vehicle on Saturday, June 15, around 11:45 a.m. A vehicle description and license plate information was requested and provided to the sheriff’s office.
Investigators located the rental car in the Whitney Portal parking area, prompting search and rescue efforts to begin early on Sunday.
Search efforts were halted on June 17 due to unsafe weather conditions, park officials said.
On June 18, the park staff received notification that the point last seen for Dao had been the summit of Mt. Whitney, at which point search by aircraft continued in the area, and the body was found and recovered.
The search area was approximately 30 square miles of high mountain terrain. The search teams included staff from Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Inyo Search and Rescue, Mono Search and Rescue, China Lake Mountain Rescue, and aerial reconnaissance from CHP- Inland Division Air Operations, as well as Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.