Pierce County Sheriff deputies and Search and Rescue volunteers prepare to search for a local man who didn't return home after a rhike. 
Photo courtesy of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.
Pierce County Sheriff deputies and Search and Rescue volunteers prepare to search for a local man who didn't return home after a rhike. Photo courtesy of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.
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A tragic hiking trip became a story about a dog's love for his master after Pierce County Sheriff's deputies found a missing Eatonville man, and his best friend. 

A 64-year-old Eatonville man and his dog Daisy went for a hike in the foot hills near Eatonville on Wednesday, April 24, and by early morning on Thursday he didn't come home, according to a Pierce County Sheriff news release. 

"The missing man reportedly often went hiking with his dog, but did not leave a note where he was going and had failed to return home after dark. The man's wife reported finding recent internet searches by her husband for geocaching in the Evans Creek area," the news release states. "At daybreak, deputies from our Foothills Detachment searched the Evans Creek area by vehicle and on foot but found no sign of the missing man or his vehicle. At the same time, detectives were able to ping the missing man's phone which indicated that it was last used in the Alder Lake area." 

Multiple ground and air search teams went looking for the man but found no trace of him until 3 p.m. when they found a vehicle near the 49800 block of Mountain Highway.

Search and Rescue teams responded to the location and set up a high angle rope maneuver to lower themselves down to the vehicle, according to the sheriff's department, only to discover that it was not the missing man's vehicle, but instead a stolen truck that apparently had been dumped far off the roadway.

"Our deputies continued to search the area and at 4:45 p.m. they located the missing man's vehicle parked along Mashell Prairie Road near Eatonville," the news release states. "Deputies entered the man's vehicle and located a list of geocache locations. Our Search and Rescue Team made maps of the locations and set out on foot to each spot to look for the man."

It took an hour for the newest member of the search and rescue team heard a dog barking. The deputy continued hiking toward the sound of the dog until he spotted a dog matching the description of Daisy up a very steep embankment above the Marshall River. 

"Our deputy hiked another 30 minutes through the thick woods and brush up to the dog's location, where he located the missing man," the news release states. "The victim was deceased from what appears to be injuries sustained during a fall."

The deputy radioed his discovery, and a team of deputies and nine volunteers from Tacoma Mountain Rescue hiked to their location. The team set up a rope system to bring the victim down the hillside and he was carried to their vehicles. Animal Control responded to the scene and returned Daisy to her home.

"This was a very sad end to a tough search, but we are incredibly proud of our deputies and the volunteers' efforts to find the missing man and return him to his family. Without the barking of his loyal companion Daisy, we never would have located the missing man. It was amazing," the news release stated.