California college student goes missing in Yosemite

Reuters News
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Posted: May 24, 2012 2:05 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Authorities combed California's Yosemite National Park on Monday for a 22-year-old college student who disappeared over the weekend after declining to join fellow students on a long back-country hike.

John Paul Chaufan Field, a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, was last seen on Saturday morning in the Hetch Hetchy area of the nearly 1,200-square-mile (3,100-square-kilometre) park, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said.

He was reported missing early the next morning when his fellow students returned from their hike and found him gone, his backpack and other gear still at the campsite, Gediman said. It wasn't clear if Chaufan Field had food or water.

"Yesterday, we did more of a hasty search and when he wasn't found the decision was made to ramp it up with helicopters and more search teams," Gediman said, adding that about 50 people were now combing the park for Chaufan Field.

"Now it's a full scale, multi-agency ground search," he said.

Gediman said there was no sign of foul play, and Chaufan Field wasn't believed to be upset or ill when he chose not to go on the hike with his classmates. He was described as 5-feet, 5-inches tall with black hair and black eyes, wearing an earth-colored plaid shirt, denim shorts and Vibram FiveFingers shoes.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)