Overdue hiker found dead on Pine Mountain

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – An overdue hiker was found dead in a ravine on the Pine Mountain area of Washington County, officials confirmed Monday.

Benjamin Needham, 19, was reported missing by family on Sunday. Authorities say the teen had dropped in the area on Thursday with plans to meet with family on the Browns Trail on Sunday at noon. When he didn’t make the rendezvous, family called the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, Needham went out in the wilderness with three to four days worth of food and a means to purify water.

Washington County Search and Rescue and sheriff’s office searched the area on foot. Attempts to find him using his cellphone were fruitless as it appeared it was turned off, the release indicated.

Authorities eventually learned that a U.S. Forest Service employee and talked with Needham on Friday and helped him find a campsite about two and half to three miles up Whipple Trail.

At about 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, forest rangers on horseback relayed they had located a body about 40 feet down a ravine. It was confirmed to be that of Needham.

With the assistance of a Color Country Fire contracted helicopter, responders were able to bring Needham’s body off the mountain.

The cause of death is under investigation.