A Colorado hiker missing for months was found dead, his dog still alive by his side

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A Colorado hiker missing since August was found dead with his dog still alive and by his side, officials said last week.

Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Springs, went hiking with his dog up Blackhead Peak, a mountain just east of his home, on Aug. 19 and never returned, Taos Search and Rescue (TSR) said.

Crews were sent in via helicopter just below the mountaintop and moved west as they searched for Moore toward the trailhead, where his car was found parked, the investigation said and the rescue. The team, however, could not find Moore.

On Oct. 30, a hunter found Moore’s body in the Rio Blanco drainage about 2.5 miles east of the peak, the Denver Gazette reported, citing the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office. Moore’s white Jack Russell terrier, Finney, was found alive next to Moore’s body.

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Blackhead Peak topographic map

Rich Moore and his dog went hiking up Blackhead Peak on August 19th and never returned. A hiker came across Moore’s body on October 30 – with Moore’s dog still alive next to him. (Dough Save and Rescue)

TSR member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn said she was part of the initial search for Moore with her certified search dog.

“It was so steep, we were put in by helicopter,” she said in a post on the TSR’s Facebook page. “He was found 2.5 miles east of the top of the mountain where we went in.”

a tracking dog looking over a rock

Taos Search and Rescue member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn said she was part of the initial search for Rich Moore with her certified search dog, pictured here. (Dough Save and Rescue)

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Moore’s cause of death has not yet been determined, the sheriff’s office told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Finney was taken to a veterinarian and has been reunited with the family, the report said.

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Blackhead Peak has an elevation of 12,500 feet and is located on the western boundary of the South San Juan Wilderness in Archuleta County.

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