California responders suing teen hikers for recovery costs, medical bills

Some of the participants in the rescue of two hikers lost during a trek into the southern California wilderness earlier this year are now suing the duo after authorities found methamphetamine in one of their cars.

The newspaper, OC Weekly, reports the Orange County Fire Authority, as well as Nick Papageorge, a 20-year-old volunteer, are trying to recover costs sustained in relation to the effort that made headlines this spring.

The OCFA, for its part, wants the $55,000 it spent to find Nicholas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, after the pair disappeared Easter Sunday in Tabuco Canyon.

And Papageorge, who fell off a 110-foot-high cliff during the rescue effort and later required the insertion of several screws into his back, is suing for $350,000 in incurred medical bills, OC Weekly reports.

Both the OCFA and Papageorge are reportedly citing Marsy’s Law, or the California Victims Bill of Rights, in their lawsuits.

Sheriff’s deputies discovered nearly 500 milligrams of methamphetamine in Cendoya’s car, while the teenager was still lost.

Cendoya has reportedly been hit with criminal charges that may result in as much as three years in prison.

The successful rescue effort required four days, 1,900 man-hours, and $160,000, according to several media sources.  Orange County supervisors decided in May the hikers won’t be charged the $160,000 it took to find them.

A judge will consider the Marsy’s Law claims at Cendoya’s scheduled July 12 arraignment, according to OC Weekly.

Click for the story from the OC Weekly.