Hiker missing since August found dead and dog still alive next to body

Hiker Rich Moore, 71, missing for three months is found dead in Colorado with his white Jack Russell dog still alive next to his body

  • Rich Moore and his dog, Finney, had set out for a hike on August 19 to Blackhead Peak located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado 
  • A local hunter discovered Moore’s body on October 30 
  • Moore’s Jack Russell terrier survived and waited at her owner’s side 

A 71-year-old hiker missing since August has been found dead in the Colorado mountains with his loyal dog, who miraculously survived two months in the wilderness, by his side. 

Rich Moore and his white Jack Russell, Finney, had set out for a hike on August 19 to Blackhead Peak, located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The missing man’s body was discovered by a local hunter on October 30 in the Lower Blanco drainage basin.

The hiking route to Blackhead’s 12,500-foot summit is approximately three miles with an elevation gain of 2,500 feet. The road to the peak is described as ‘rough, rocky, and steep, but the last stretch is an unmaintained ‘social trail, The Mercury News reported.

The day after Moore’s body was found, members from the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office and search and rescue were flown into the area to recover the victim. 

Moore’s loyal dog, who miraculously survived, was transported to a local veterinary hospital, and was later reunited with her family.

Moore’s cause of death has not been disclosed, but authorities said that foul play was not suspected, The Denzer Gazette reported.

Pictured: Rich Moore, 71, went missing during a hike on August 19 to Blackhead Peak in Colorado. His body was found by a local hunter more than two months later on October 30

Pictured: Moore’s best friend Finney, a Jack Russell terrier, stayed by his owner’s side for more  than two months during the devastating ordeal. Finney was treated at a veterinary hospital and reunited with her family

Colorado Missing Person Organization posted a flyer of the missing hiker and his dog to their website announcing the latest news 

Moore was from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and was trying to hike a mountain just to the east.

Taos Search and Rescue wrote about the recovery efforts on their Facebook page. 

Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, a member of the group, detailed her experience trying to locate Moore. In the post, she wrote that she responded to the initial search along with her certified K9 dog named Akio Yodasan.

‘We searched from just under the peak-top and directly west, searching down the mountain toward where his car was located,’ Vanne-Brightyn wrote. 

She spoke about the weather and the conditions she and the team faced. ‘Winds were directly from the West/Southwest,’ she wrote. 

Blackhead Peak is located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado

‘It was so steep, were inserted by helicopter. ‘He was found 2.5 miles east of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted [by helicopter].’

She expressed her condolences to the family and wrote that they were ‘glad they were able to gain some closure as well as bring their dog back home.’ 

Others went online to express their condolences to the family and shared what a special dog Finney was, and shared their gratitude to the search and rescue teams.

‘Amazing that the dog stayed with him. They are truly man’s best friend,’ someone wrote.

‘Kudos to the search team for their tenacity,’ wrote another.

‘Thank you for rescuing them and thank you Buddy for staying with him!’

While another wrote how ‘sad’ the ordeal was but was grateful that Moore was not alone. They wrote, in part, ‘dogs are faithful he did not die alone’.

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