Sreenivas Mokkapati went missing while out on a hike through the snow-covered Mount Baldy in December

By Jason Duaine Hahn
June 30, 2020 04:07 PM
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Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

The remains of a 52-year-old California hiker were found months after he went missing on Mount Baldy in December, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department announced.

Sreenivas "Sree" Mokkapati was reported missing on Dec. 8 after he was separated from his hiking group on Mount Baldy, the popular hiking, skiing and snowboarding destination located an hour's drive from Downtown Los Angeles.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the mountain was covered in snow at the time of Mokkapati's disappearance, and nighttime temperatures were near freezing.

A team of 126 people went out in search of Mokkapati, but their efforts were called off days later when 32-year-old Timothy Staples — a 9-year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department  — fell from the mountain and died, the Mercury News reported.

The department continued to use aerial searches in hopes of locating Mokkapati and returned on foot once the snow began to melt in May.

Mount Baldy behind Downtown Los Angeles
| Credit: Getty Images

Two hikers ultimately found Mokkapati's remains on the northwest side of the mountain on June 19, the department said. The county medical examiner confirmed the remains were Mokkapati's on June 27.

Relatives told the Times that Mokkapati was an experienced hiker who had trekked Mount Baldy — known officially as Mount San Antonio — many times. He had only prepared for a day's hike when he went missing in December.

On the day of his disappearance, Mokkapati and three friends planned to travel to the mountain's summit using the Bear Flat Trail path, according to Mercury News. The trail is ranked as "moderate" in difficulty on the hiking website All Trails, and was described as "very steep and rocky" by one member.

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While making their way up, Mokkapati's companions returned down the mountain due to the heavy snow that had accumulated on the trail, Mercury News reported. Mokkapati decided to continue toward the summit and told them he would meet them later.