Missing California Firefighter Michael Herdman Found Dead One Mile Away From Where He was Last Seen Alive (Update: Coroner Rules Death Accidental)


36 year old Michael Herdman has been found dead about 3/4 of a  mile away and 1200 feet up from where he was last seen alive in in Los Padres National Forest. Herdman’s body was found. Herdman’s body was discovered at 10 a.m. Friday by a pilot flying overhead and they called in searchers to that area. The body lay over terrain and was partially covered by brush. Through dental records a positive ID was made but it is not yet been determined what caused the firefighters death.  Herdman was last seen Friday, June 13 on a cliff above the Sespe River in rugged terrain of the Los Padres National Forest.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said there was was no sign of foul play. Michael Herdman is survived by his wife and daughter.

Michael Herdman

A California firefighter who went missing two weeks ago during a camping trip after he ran after his dog has been found dead among rugged terrain in Los Padres National Forest, authorities said Friday.

Michael Herdman, 36, ran after his black lab, Duke, the night of June 13 while he was barefoot and wearing just a T-shirt and shorts.

The wayward pooch was found Saturday in a parking lot where his owner had parked his car — about 12 miles from where Herdman and buddy Taylor Byars, 27, had set up camp along a river bottom in woods outside the city of Fillmore.

The partially covered body was spotted by a helicopter and eventually recovered. Authorities are unsure if he fell or how exactly Herdman died.

Press Conference for deceased Michael Herdman

UPDATE I: Coroner says Missing Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman died instantly in a cliff-side fall.

Arcadia Firefighter Mike Herdman died instantly after falling from a cliff in the Sespe Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The injuries were significant enough that when the fall occurred it caused immediate death,” said Armando Chavez, chief deputy medical examiner. “He’d fallen off the edge of a mountain or a cliff.”

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  • Comments

    7 Responses to “Missing California Firefighter Michael Herdman Found Dead One Mile Away From Where He was Last Seen Alive (Update: Coroner Rules Death Accidental)”

    1. A Texas Grandfather on June 29th, 2014 5:37 pm

      This is the story of the man he was camping with. An experienced camper is not going to charge off into the night after a dog minus his shoes.

      LE should take this story as fiction until they can find enough information to prove it is true.

    2. Caelon on June 29th, 2014 6:54 pm

      Why everyone believe that this Herdman a stupid guy that would run off for long without shoes? Elite athlete, avid hiker be stupid like that? Doubtful. Hardly able to believe he wouldn’t wait for the dog to come back like he did.

      Why Sheriff’s not realize that 24 hrs. is time when body could be put far off, up 1200 ft. in an area where hard to find? The other firefighter a martial arts guy? Have a temper? Did he want to take the trip and ask that Herdman take him? Did he let the dog go?

      If the Sheriff’s believe the story, help this community because it stinks like a rotting story. I hope the Sheriff not go easy just because this guy a firefighter. These kind of men that do this are charming . . . I hope the sheriff’s don’t buy the crap story.

      Duh. Herdman way more intelligent than do a stupid thing like what guy said he did. The guy should not have been disoriented, and I think intentionally looked for someone to find him- fisherman- so it looks better. This guy was a trained martial arts person- they don’t get tired easily and are in top shape. The reason why a bare foot guy would be up 1200 ft., where people not look? Barefoot? Herdman not that stupid.

      If blunt force reason or poison reason in autopsy, or any drugging- sherriff’s need to be a lot sharper or don’t collect so much pay.

    3. Caelon on June 29th, 2014 7:01 pm

      did dog ever run away for a long time before? even if the dog had run away let’s say, and came back, herdman would know this. to think the guy went off barefoot for very long and didn’t put on his shoes- stinks bad. at night he would have come back within 10 mintues to get coat and shoes- this guy wasn’t stupid.

      i think herdman would have waited until morning and knew big probability that dog would appear. but that is thinking that the dog actually ran away. who believes that the dog ran away? i don’t!

      the dog didn’t run away– it was let go the next day or after the guy was taken up 1200 ft. avid climber or not doesn’t matter- what matters is both were in great shape.

      i don’t believe the guy who he was with. (was herdman up for promotion?any anger management problems with the guy that he was hiking with?seems too weird and too dumb of a story!!!!)

    4. Caelon on June 29th, 2014 7:03 pm

      make certain that toxicologist goes over all possible substances that would incapacitate someone– check for everything!!!!!!!!

    5. Kathey king on July 6th, 2014 10:19 am

      My heart goes out to the family. I think this matter needs to point to the friend please he’s a fire-fighter come on I’m sure this was not the first time his dog left, to weird please see JUSTICE.

    6. Humble Alex on July 8th, 2014 7:08 pm

      Herdman was missing for TWO WEEKS, but authorities keep quiet about how soon after he ran for the dog he fell from the cliff, right away, couple days later or a week later. Autopsy can determine it, but authorities keep quiet and I feel they pull public‘s leg. From information available I can conclude that he was either one, idiot or on drugs. Because he was an American it could be both. Fortunately I am not.

    7. bill lowme on August 2nd, 2014 12:24 am

      Humble Alex, probably the dumbest thing I have ever read, I am glad you are not an American, this guy had a wife and daughter, I have a daughter about her age, this story breaks my heart, I also had a black lab and without hesitation I would have ran after him, there is a strong bond between a man and his dog, Alex if your home was on fire at 2:00 am in the morning. Mike would have been there to help you and your non American family. He was off work and unwinding,do you have any idea the things these guys see? Its not pretty.Thank you for putting your life on the line for others, and may God bless your soul. RIP Mike

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