Authorities search for 2 teen hikers lost in California canyon

Published April 02, 2013

| Associated Press

Dozens of searchers aided by bloodhounds and horses scoured Orange County's Cleveland National Forest on Tuesday for a young man and woman who vanished during a weekend hike.

Parents of Nicholas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, waited for word at the search command center as experts and volunteers continued the hunt, sheriff's Lt. Erin Guidice said.

Searchers were concentrating on an area of the Holy Jim Trail where a bloodhound picked up a scent during an overnight search, Guidice said.

The Costa Mesa teens called authorities Sunday night saying they were lost about a mile from their car in Holy Jim Canyon, but their cellphone lost power soon after.

The rocky, tree-shaded dirt trail leads to a waterfall on a 2.8-mile round trip and is popular with day hikers. Its difficulty is listed as moderate to serious on a U.S. Forest Service website. However, the lost hikers "did not keep to the trail," Guidice said.

The area has heavy brush and a creek running through it, she said.

Temperatures were moderate Friday, following an overnight low in the 50s, she said.

The area is in a section of the national forest in the Santa Ana Mountains, which lie along the border of Orange and Riverside counties southeast of Los Angeles. The trail ranges in elevation from about 2,000 feet to about 4,000 feet.