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Search for missing hiker to continue Tuesday

Posted at 3:25 PM, Apr 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 20:08:54-04

The Southern Arizona Rescue Association and the Pima County Sheriff's Department are looking for a hiker who has been missing in Sabino Canyon since Friday, according to PCSD spokesman Ryan Inglett. 

Inglett says that the PCSD and Department of Public Safety helicopters are both searching for the missing hiker. Ground crews have now shifted focus from designated trails to more rugged areas. 

"We are searching off-trail locations, we are searching areas that are not likely to be traveled by somebody just going out for a hike," said Inglett. "It's likely that if he were on one of the trails that he would have been found."

At about 3:30 Monday, Inglett said the search was wrapping up for the day and would resume Tuesday morning. About 20 people participated in Monday's search.

Inglett says the hiker is 28-year-old Mauricio Carreon-Maltos. The Rincon District received a report of a missing hiker Friday night at 10:20. Rincon deputies and members of search and rescue units responded.

On Friday afternoon Carreon-Maltos was hiking in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. Authorities say he was last seen in the early morning hours on Friday by family members at his home. He was last seen wearing green camouflage shorts and could possibly be wearing Puma or Nike style running shoes.

KGUN 9 is now learning that someone saw a man matching Carreon-Maltos description talking to other hikers in Spanish on Friday afternoon between 2 and 3 p.m. just past the visitors center, according to Deputy Courtney Rodriguez of PCSD. Carreon-Maltos appeared to have been holding a map and was asking for directions. He was seen wearing camouflage shorts and a black t-shirt. If anyone came into contact with Carreon-Maltos that day they are asked to call 9-1-1. 

The family of Carreon-Maltos told KGUN 9 that crews found a piece of clothing they believed to be from the missing hiker. Inglett said that it turned out to not be from Carreon-Maltos.

Sunday's heavy rain has made the search more difficult, according to Inglett. 

"A lot of our evidence of fresh tracks typically can be washed away or made to look older than they are," he said. "It also will knock down a scent. Our dogs are less likely to find the scent associated with Mauricio." 

Carreon-Maltos' family says they too have been searching the trails. They say Carreon is not an experienced hiker.

"He had gone hiking for the first time here on Wednesday," said his niece Karla Machado.  "And then Friday was his second day here. He saw someone here on Wednesday and he had asked them about a trail and we don't know what trail it was they just told him that it was pretty difficult. it was a trail that you had to be a more experienced hiker to be able to take and we think he might have taken that trail thinking he could make it."

Machado's boyfriend also assisted in the search.

"We thought that it would be the Seven Falls because it's a really difficult hill," said Jose Fimbres. "You only have like what, maybe five feet of clearance while you're walking up there. If a simple slip, cause the day that he came it was raining."

A total of seven agencies are assisting in the search from all over southern Arizona. Ground crews have been hiking and calling out Carreon-Maltos' name, hoping for a response. 

Machado says some people have been responding to search crews when they call out her uncle's name, delaying the search as they investigate false leads. 

Carreon-Maltos is described as a Hispanic male, 5,6", weighs 160 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. 

Authorities are not investigating this as a suspicious case.  If you have any information on the whereabouts of Carreon-Maltos you are asked to call PCSD at 520-351-4600 or 911.