The father of a local hiker missing for more than a week spoke to the media Monday morning, urging the public not to forget the search to find his son.
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Guillermo Pino Jr., 26, disappeared April 8 during a visit to the Arroyo Tapiado area of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a locale also known as "the Badlands," according to San Diego County sheriff's officials.
Since then, scores of searchers from various government agencies have worked their way through desert caves, tunnels and gorges in hopes of finding Pino alive.
On Monday, the sheriff's department scaled back their search after an all-out effort by ground and air to find the 26-year-old.
The father told the media there was a development, but would not elaborate. A sheriff's department representative told 10News that one of the family members searching reported hearing a tapping noise coming from a cave, but officials have not confirmed that. A cave specialist team from San Bernardino headed out to the search area Monday to continue the efforts to find Pino, a UCSD student.
"They're dialing back a little bit today on the search and rescue ... I don't want the interest to diminish," Pino's father told the media Monday. "We have to keep looking ... we have to find him. We have to bring him home."
Pino apparently got lost or incapacitated after separating from his companions and venturing off by himself into the network of dirt channels and caverns that run through the rugged area's unstable hillsides and bluffs, said sheriff's Lt. Jeff Maxin.
Pino's family reported him missing several hours later. Searchers began combing the remote site on foot and scanning it from aboard a helicopter Sunday evening, then continued the effort this week.
There have been no reported signs of the missing man, who has no known medical conditions.
Pino's family described him as a "fairly experienced hiker," though at the time of his disappearance he was exploring the rugged territory without shoes, water, food, a flashlight or a cell phone, sheriff's spokeswoman Melissa Aquino said.
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