New clues found in search for missing hiker near Welches

Crews have been searching for Nathan Mitchell in the Wildwood Recreation Area near Welches. (KPTV)

The search continued Tuesday for a missing hiker near Welches, but there are new clues that searchers hope will help bring him home.

Nathan Mitchell, 34, set out for a day hike Saturday at the Wildwood Recreation Area near Welches. Friends said he was expected to attend a fundraising event that evening, but never showed up.

He hasn’t been seen since.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office reported that photos Mitchell shared on social media along his hike may help. The metadata from his posts has been used to narrow down GPS coordinates to show where the photos were taken.

On top of that, a waterproof rain cover for Mitchell’s backpack was found Monday roughly five miles from the parking area where he left his car.

“It’s something to go on, so we’re kind of clinging to that,” said Mitchell’s long-time friend Quintin Bauer. “And we’re just hoping that with so many people out here we can bring him home.”

Bauer said he grew up with Mitchell in the Boy Scouts, and the two went to high school and college together. He said Mitchell, an attorney from Portland, is an avid hiker who recently started going out every Saturday to explore in the great outdoors.

“He’s just a really great guy and you can really tell by all of the friends that have come out, and just the outpouring of support,” Bauer added.

Tuesday alone, nearly 50 searchers from around the state gathered to help.

A statewide call for assistance was sent out through the Office of Emergency Management to ensure enough volunteers to continue search operations during the work week, and teams from Linn, Hood River, Washington, Yamhill and Benton counties were aiding in the search.

Mountain Wave Search and Rescue and North Oregon Regional Search and Rescue were also helping in the search, along with a helicopter from the Oregon Army National Guard.

The search area spans some 40-square miles of wilderness.

On Tuesday, searchers said they found some fire pits, but there was no evidence found nearby to connect them to Mitchell.

Anyone with tips that can help in this case is asked to call 503-723-4949.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.



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