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Colorado hiker missing since August found dead, his dog found alive next to his body

A hiker missing since August has been found dead in Colorado with his dog still alive next to his body, authorities said.

The body of 71-year-old Rich Moore of Pagosa Springs, who had been missing since Aug. 19, was found on Oct. 30, according to a Facebook post last week by Taos Search and Rescue. Moore's dog was found alive by his side.

The Denver Gazette, citing the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office, reported Moore and his dog had gone missing after planning to summit Blackhead Peak, which is about 20 miles east of Pagosa Springs.

Blackhead Peak is located in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. Google Maps

The sheriff's office said that Moore's body was found on Oct. 30 by a hunter in the Lower Blanco drainage basin, which is in a valley southeast of Blackhead Peak's summit, the Gazette reported. His white Jack Russell terrier, Finney, was next to the body, the sheriff's office said.

On Oct. 31, members of the sheriff's office and a search and rescue team were flown into the area to locate and recover Moore's body, the Gazette reported, citing the sheriff's office. Finney was transported to a veterinary hospital for treatment and has since been reunited with her family, officials said.

Officials did not release Moore's cause of death, but said that foul play is not suspected.

Blackhead Peak, which has an elevation of 12,500 feet, is located in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado.

In a Facebook post, Taos Search and Rescue member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn said she responded to the initial search along with her search dog.

"We searched from just under the peak-top and directly west, searching down the mountain toward where his car was located," Vanne-Brightyn wrote. "He was found 2.5 miles east of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted [by helicopter]."

This marks at least the third time a dog has been found alive next to a hiker's body since last year. In May 2022, a Labrador was found lying next to the body of a 74-year-old Arizona man who had died during a hike.

The month before that, a missing 29-year-old hiker was found dead in Los Angeles' Griffith Park with his dog by his side. Family members said it appeared the dog hadn't left his side for two weeks.

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