Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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Henderson man dies on hike at Lake Mead recreation area; companion missing

A Henderson man was found dead last week, two days after he and his female companion were reported missing while on a 3-mile hike in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the National Park Service announced Friday evening.

James Johnson Jr., 62, reportedly left on June 3 with Christina Montes, 35, also of Henderson, without sufficient food and water for the hike, Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover said in a statement. Officials received a call two days later reporting that a body had been found near the Colorado River close to the Arizona Hot Spring trail. Rangers recovered Johnson's body but are still searching for Montes, having found no signs of her at the scene. Johnson's cause of death has not yet been released.

The hike to Arizona Hot Spring is described by the Park Service as a "strenuous" 6-mile round trip with little shade and no cellphone service. Officials discourage hiking there during the summer months because of excessive heat.

Authorities are actively searching for Montes in coordination with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Mohave County Search and Rescue, Vanover said.

Park Service officials are asking anyone with knowledge of Montes' whereabouts to contact the Lake Mead Interagency Communication Center at 702-293-8998.

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