Searchers found an overdue California hiker dead of apparent natural causes Saturday afternoon at his campsite near Charlton Lake in the Cascades, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said.
The sheriff’s office had received a report around 8:30 p.m. Friday of an overdue hiker, identified as William Jeffery, 54, of San Marcos, Calif., said sheriff’s Capt. Shane Nelson.
Jeffery’s wife told deputies her husband was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after she had dropped him off at Elk Lake last Tuesday.
Nelson said she last heard from her husband on Thursday, when he told her he was going to camp at Charlton Lake, located east of Waldo Lake near the crest of the Cascades, and to meet her at Odell Lake to camp on Friday. When he didn’t show up, she called authorities.
Jeffery had never hiked this section of the PCT, Nelson said, but his wife said he was an experienced hiker, well-equipped with food, water and shelter.
Because of that, and the fact it was getting dark, deputies decided to wait and see if he hiked out on his own the next morning, Nelson said.
When he didn’t arrive by 10 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue members and deputies headed to the Charlton Lake area. Lane County SAR responded as well, since the lake and some of the trail is in that county, Nelson said.
Deschutes County searchers found Jeffery’s body around 3:30 p.m. at his camp near the Lake, Nelson said.
The death appears to be from natural causes, Nelson said, but the investigation is continuing, assisted by sheriff’s detectives.