36 Year Old Off-Duty Arcadia Firefighter Michael Herdman Missing Since 6/13/14 While Hiking in Mountains North of Filmore in Ventura County, CA (Update: Dog Matching the Mkie’s Dog Duke Description was Spotted Wednesday)(Update: Mike Herdman’s Dog Duke Found Safe)
36 year old off-duty Arcadia firefighter Michael Herdman went missing Friday night, June 13, 2014 while hiking in the rugged mountains of Ventura county in the Sespe Wilderness area north of Filmore, California. According to Capt. Mike Franke of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Herdman took off after the dog on Friday while he was hiking with a friend to Tar Creek Trail Head, which is off a dirt road in the Topatopa Mountains. Herdman was barefoot and wearing only shorts and a T-shirt when he was last seen by his friend, Taylor Byars. Herdman also had no food and no water with him.
Missing Michael Herdman - click on pic to watch KCAL 9 VIDEO
Michael Herdman, 36, and fellow firefighter/paramedic Taylor Byars hiked to Tar Creek Trail and set up camp along the Sespe Creek on Friday evening when Herdman’s dog ran away.
Herdman, who was barefoot and wearing shorts and a T-shirt, along with Byars, ran after the dog.
A short time later, the two men became separated, authorities said.
Byars searched for Herdman for nearly two days before he made his way out of the wilderness and reported his friend missing Sunday evening.
Deputies said it took a long time for Byars to report what happened because the camp was so far out.
Investigators said there are no signs of foul play.
Byars made his way back to the campsite, but Herdman, a seven-year firefighter veteran, and his dog, Duke, never returned.
Map – screen grab from KCAL video above
Rescuers scouring a rugged corner of California hoping to find missing firefighter have found the man’s backpack and footprints leading away from his camp.
Mike Herdman, 34, an avid outdoorsman, was on a weekend camping trip in the Los Padres National Forest with his buddy, fellow firefighter Taylor Byars. Byars told authorities he last saw his friend on Friday chasing after his dog Duke, which had run into a creek.
“We found his backpack. We found footprints in the directions that he was last seen going. So we are starting from there and working our way out methodically, rock by rock and bush by bush,” Buschow said.
UPDATE III: Dog Matching Pet’s Description Seen.
As efforts continued to locate a firefighter who went missing after chasing after his dog during a backpacking trip in the Los Padres National Forest, a canine matching the pet’s description was spotted Wednesday.
The sighting of the dog by search teams offered hope that Michael Herdman, a seven-year veteran of the Arcardia Fire Department, was alive in the mountain about Fillmore.
“We are all expecting to see Mike come over the hill behind us and be surprised to see us all here,” said family friend Mike MacGregor.
Civilian searchers with good intentions were arriving to aid the professional effort to find Mike Herdman, 36, but were ill prepared for the wilderness, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Eric Buschow said.
Additionally, a helicopter that had been used in the search was grounded because a private party had launched a drone into the search area, Buschow said.
“It is absolutely illegal to fly anything back here other than our operation that’s going on now,” he said.
It was not clear how long the helicopter was grounded for.
Search crews have located the dog of missing California firefighter Mike Herdman more than a week after he went missing in a national forest north of Los Angeles.
Officials said the dog, named Duke, was “exhausted” but in good shape. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said there was no sign of Herdman and that the search would scale down starting tonight.
Update 2:24 p.m.: Search crews find missing firefighter’s dog.
Search crews looking for a missing Arcadia Fire Department say they’ve found the dog he went after when he left his camp ground, shoeless and without his gear. They still haven’t located Herdman himself, however.
The Arcadia Fire Department’s union posted a photo of the dog, named Duke, on their Facebook page Sunday afternoon.