OES Missing Person

July 23, 2022
San Diego near Julian

Written by: Blake Douglas

RMRU was requested to assist with an OES operation in San Diego County, searching for Terry Hughes, age 76. San Diego resources had been searching for Hughes for approximately a week, and RMRU would join a large, multi-county effort on Saturday July 23.

Assignments given out at Base

Hughes lived in a rural neighborhood in Julian, characterized by low hills and oak savannah/chapparal ecosystems, with large and mostly fenced-off properties dedicated mainly to ranching or retirement. Hughes and his family enjoyed roadside walks in the area but generally kept close to their home and followed predictable routes, which made it all the stranger that Hughes would not only go missing but remain undetected for multiple days. Foul play was not suspected, and it was assumed that Hughes would be found somewhere between two reliable sightings of him that had occurred on the evening of his disappearance.

Matt in one of the search areas.

Matt, Coby, and I were split among various teams throughout the day, although the abundance of private property generally meant that our searches were limited to the road margins, any fencing gaps, and the occasional unrestricted property. Our searches produced no results, nor were any other teams successful. Unexpectedly, we were recalled to base around 3pm, and informed that the groundskeeper of a local property had just located Hughes’ remains. He was remarkably close to our search areas, but considerably farther from the road than our grids had allowed; how he came to be in that location, or why, will probably remain unknown.

Checking the sides of the road for signs.

We extend our condolences to Mr. Hughes’ family and thank San Diego Mountain Rescue Team for coordinating the mission.

RMRU Members Involved: (Coby Brown, Blake Douglas, and Matt Frenken)