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Missing Arizona hiker found dead with dog alive and by his side

CBS

Prescott, Ariz. (KION-TV)-- A missing hiker was found dead after a six-day search with his dog alive and lying next to him in a forest in north-central Arizona, authorities said Thursday.

Searchers found Donald Hayes' body on Wednesday near Mingus Mountain, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The missing 74-year-old from Prescott Valley called his wife and asked her to tell authorities he was lost, triggering the six-day search, said sources. Hayes was said to stray where he was and wait for rescuers.

"Unfortunately, the victim decided against the advice and tried to find his way out, causing him to become lost further in the forest."

The "rugged area" where Hayes' body was found was difficult for searchers to get to, but the sheriff's office said they did on Wednesday.

Hayes took his dog, Ranger, a black and white Labrador, on the hike, and the dog was found lying next to Hayes' body. Ranger was taken to an animal hospital for treatment and given back to Hayes' wife after, according to the sheriff's office.

It was unclear what condition Ranger "was more than likely very dehydrated and malnourished," Hayes' wife said.

Hayes' cause of death has not been revealed.

Hayes ' wife said that the pair was found about six miles in straight-line distance from a trailhead but more than twice that in hiking distance because of terrain. "He was definitely far, far away from civilization."

Mingus Mountain is 86 miles north of Phoenix.

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23

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