6-year-old locates missing Calif. man

Courtesy 11alive.com

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — A man missing more than a week was found alive Sunday by a family out for a hike.

He had no food or water and his clothes were tattered, said Thomas Prince, whose 6-year-old son Adrian spotted Juan Pedro Valladares and pointed him out to his parents.

"My son said, 'We don't leave anyone behind.' I don't know where he got that from," said Prince.

Valladares was reported missing by his family on the evening of July 27. He was last seen July 25 in North Palm Springs.

Members of the U.S. Forest Service found his red Toyota Corolla and cellphone abandoned in a parking lot in Pinyon Pines, Calif., on July 28.

Teams of searchers from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department combed the wilderness areas off using bloodhounds and a helicopter, but to no avail.

The Prince family found Valladares about 2.5 miles from his car.

"He was very hungry," Prince said, but didn't appear injured. "He had a million scratches all over him from cactus or something."

They offered him some food and water and called the Riverside County Sheriff's Department then drove him to nearby fire station where deputies and paramedics checked him out.

He was taken to a local hospital for possible dehydration and observation, said Deputy Armando Munoz, spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

"I have seen his face all week on (The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun's) website," Prince said, never expecting his family would find him. "I'm just so happy he's alive. He was a very nice guy and I felt terrible for his situation," Prince said.

Prince said that Valladares told him he had parked his car and walked down a crevice to the bottom of the hill and then walked up to the peak of Santa Rosa Mountain and then got lost or disoriented coming down.

"He described an old rusted conveyor belt at the top of the hill, and I've seen that, so I know he was telling the truth about reaching the peak," Prince said.


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