A week into search, missing man's brother loses hope he's alive

Heavy snow, cold has challenged search crews

Missing Prineville man family hoping...

BEND, Ore. - Tuesday will mark a week since Roy Hyder last saw his brother, Lester Hyder, in the rear-view mirror of his car as they were both driving to Prineville in separate pickups. 

Lester, 69, moved closer to his brother in Prineville two months ago as the retired California sheriff's deputy and Marine was moving his entire life to Central Oregon. Lester was driving back in his 2012 Toyota Tundra from Texas to Oregon, but ran out of gas on Highway 97 near Crescent. 

Roy told NewsChannel 21 on Monday that he got a call from an Oregon State Police trooper at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13. The trooper had picked up Lester after he found him walking beside the highway.

The trooper gave him a ride to Gordy's Truck Stop in La Pine, where the two brrothers met around noon. 

Both brothers drove together to Crescent, found Lester's pickup and filled it with a three-gallon gas tank, Roy said Monday. 

With Lester's cellphone dead and no car charger, Roy urged his brother to follow him home. 

"I told him, 'Make sure you stay behind me -- don't let nobody cut you off, stay close,'" Roy recalled.

But as they both drove north on Highway 97 toward La Pine, Roy became separated from his brother. 

Roy waited on the side of the road, waiting for Lester's truck to appear, but no luck. 

"It was a bad feeling, because I didn't know where he was," he said. 

An extensive search for Lester continued on Monday as volunteers from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Search and Rescue worked tirelessly in the heavy snow, as they did over the weekend. 

"It's very difficult to search in those conditions. It increases the demand on our searchers, it makes searching more difficult. That has been a challenge,"  said Sgt. Nathan Garibay, the county's emergency services manager. 

SAR crews found Lester Hyeder's truck on Saturday in the area of Cabin Butte, off China Hat Road south of Bend. 

Search efforts then shifted  to that area. Crews also were retracing their steps to some of the locations already looked at before. 

Roy said Lester looked tired from driving and was confused about where he left his truck. 

He said he knows the reality of his brother's odds of surviving these freezing conditions are very slim. 

"I have hope that he's out there, but I don't have hope he's alive," Roy said. 

Despite a bit of a warm-up, winter conditions are still making it a challenge to find Lester, whose brother is hoping for a Christmas miracle. 

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