Young hiker found dead four days after he disappeared in search of water for his dehydrated girlfriend

Authorities found the body of Tim Sgrignoli, 29, on September 8 after a search and rescue operation off a trail near Santa Barbara.

Young hiker found dead four days after he disappeared in search of water for his dehydrated girlfriend
Hiker Tim Sgrignoli found dead after he disappeared on September 3, in search of water for his dehydrated girlfriend (tim.sgrignoli/Facebook)
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SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA: A hiker was found dead after he disappeared on Sunday, September 3, in search of water for his dehydrated girlfriend in Gaviota state park.

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Authorities found the body of 29-year-old Tim Sgrignoli in the morning on Thursday, September 8, after a four-day search and rescue operation off a trail near Santa Barbara. A sheriff's spokeswoman said the Ventura resident and software engineer had been hiking the Gaviota Hot Springs trail in the Ynez mountains with his girlfriend over the weekend when she reportedly began to suffer mild heat exhaustion due to sweltering temperatures. Sgrignoli's girlfriend, whose identity was not released for legal reasons, was rescued on Sunday afternoon but Sgrignoli never returned.

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The tragic hiker's cause of death is yet to be determined, but investigators do not suspect foul play and believe he likely died of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and exposure. The news comes amid an unprecedented heat wave that is scorching the west coast, particularly California, Nevada, and Arizona. Sacramento recorded a high of 116 degrees on Tuesday, September 6, making it the hottest day ever registered in the California capital.

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Santa Barbara Country Fire Department officers received a call around 2 pm on Sunday afternoon about an embattled couple who were in need of emergency aid on the  trail. Sgrignoli reportedly remained with his ailing girlfriend until authorities confirmed a rescue helicopter had been dispatched to the location. He then decided to go looking for water. "This morning one of the mutual Search and Rescue teams from San Mateo County made the discovery of Mr. Sgrignoli, unfortunately deceased," Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Commander Erik Raney told News Channel 3-12 on Thursday. "The heat, as far as complications to this search, was the number one issue. The first several days, as you know we had record-breaking temperatures."

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Sgrignoli's family and friends began expressing concerns at his disappearance by Wednesday morning, and a large group of volunteers subsequently hit the trails in a desperate bid to find the missing hiker. Taking to Facebook, his older sister Kym revealed that a "huge group of family and friends" were headed to Gaviota Peak and Trespass trails and that they were "still hopeful to find him." Around 9 am the following morning, search and rescue teams located his body just 20ft away from Highway 101 north of the Gaviota tunnel close to the Hot Springs trail.

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Sgrignoli's demise comes after a doctor who had recently become a father died after running out of water and getting lost while hiking in Arizona in heat excess of 109 degrees. Police confirmed the death of Dr Evan Dishion, 32, after he was found near Cave Creek on Monday afternoon, September 5. Maricopa County sheriff's deputies responded to a call at 1.25 pm that day about hikers in trouble at Spur Cross Trailhead Mountain, approximately 40 miles north of Phoenix. The hikers had reportedly continued on the trail after running out of water and became lost at some point. Six people were rescued from the trail, including Dishion, but he later died in hospital from heat exhaustion, according to the Scottsdale Fire Department.

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