According to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, it’s been nearly a week since Duke and firefighter Michael Herdman went missing in the Los Padres National Forest while camping with a friend. Duke has just been located, and the search is still on for Herdman.
A good Samaritan spotted Duke in a parking lot about 10 or 12 miles from the campsite they were reported to be at. Even though Duke has possibly been on his own fending for himself for some time, he was found to be in very good condition with no injuries.
There are still search and rescue teams out looking for Michael Herdman. No sign yet has been found of the man who was on a camping trip with a friend in the Sespe Wilderness area which is just north of the city of Fillmore.
On Sunday, officials announced that the search is unfortunately going to have to be scaled back for Herdman.
“We’ve reached a point where we have to make a decision. And the decision is we will be reducing our search efforts to a limited, but ongoing, scale,” said Dean.
Herdman has been missing since the 13th of June. He reportedly became separated from his friend Taylor Byars when the two of them had to chase after Duke. Duke had seen something, decided to give chase, and was out of sight before the pair of campers could do anything about it.
Byars returned to the campsite, but Herdman did not. Byars searched for him, but found nothing. When he decided he needed help locating Herdman, he packed up and made the two day hike out of the area they were in.
The following morning, the search for Herdman began.
“It’s a rugged terrain. It can be in hospitable, especially when you’re off trail,” said Sgt. Kevin Donoghue with the Sheriff’s office. “There are a lot of hazards we need to watch out for.”
Herdman was an avid outdoors man, and experienced backpacker. When he was last seen, chasing after Duke, he was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and was barefoot.
The big worry is Herdman may be injured.
“If the assumption is that if he is able to move around, we would have found him by now, he would have flagged us down and we would have heard him,” said Sgt. Eric Buschow, also with the Sheriff’s office.
Officials want to remind everyone they haven’t given up searching, or hope for finding Herdman.
“It could happen, he could’ve fallen into a crevice, and he’s unconscious and he wakes up all of a sudden,” said Dean on Sunday. “But there are so many crevices and boulders out there, it’s probably highly unlikely.”