SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County supervisor claims the two teens who got lost in Trabuco Canyon on Easter Sunday told authorities they used cocaine on their hike.
Todd Spitzer’s revelation comes two days after Nicolas Cendoya, 19, was charged with a felony count of possession of a controlled substance.
Sheriff’s investigators said they found 497 milligrams of methamphetamine in Cendoya’s BMW April 2 while looking for him Kyndall Jack, who both went missing in the Cleveland National Forest.
Cendoya was found April 3. Jack was discovered the next day.
Both didn’t remember much about their ordeal except vivid hallucinations of being attacked by animals.
Spitzer said the duo’s reckless behavior should mean they’re liable for the estimated $160,000 cost for the massive, days-long rescue effort. He plans on asking the court on behalf of the county that Cendoya reimburse taxpayers.
“They obviously were not using good judgment. The question is…did the drugs affect their judgment to the point that we hold them responsible?” said Spitzer.
He continued, “Obviously everyone is very thankful that they were found alive. But at some point when you step back and analyze the situation, we have to ask ourselves whether or not they are financially responsible for a situation that they happen to find themselves in or did they find themselves in a situation that was exacerbated because they ingested unlawful drugs and as a result, they brought peril to themselves and then to first responders and especially to an Orange County deputy’s sheriff?”
Sheriff Sandra Hutchens told KCAL9’s Michele Gile that the drug charge doesn’t change anything about the department’s protocol.
“We’re still looking for two lost hikers,” she said. “We’d have to jump to the idea that perhaps they had the intent to get lost. It’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t make any difference.”
Hutchens said she doesn’t even know who would determine the person responsible for paying the rescue costs.