COSTA MESA (CBSLA.com) — A hunting trip to New Mexico ended in a double tragedy for an Orange County family where a father and son both died in separate incidents.
The father, 70-year-old Ray Lockhart of Huntington Beach, died while searching for his son.
Costa Mesa resident Stephen Lockhart, 43, died in the rugged mountain terrain of Western New Mexico.
It was initially reported that Stephen Lockhart was lost while hiking but he was on a hunting trip with friends, before he got separated from the group.
The Daily Pilot newspaper reports the younger Lockhart died four days after his father.
The elder Lockhart suffered an apparent heart attack on Oct. 23 while a search and rescue mission was underway for Stephen. The dad died on the way to the hospital.
A rescue team found Stephen alive but couldn’t get to him in time, said officials.
Stephen was reported missing on Oct. 20 in the Gila National Forest, southwest of Albuquerque and near the Arizona line. He had become separated at night from the hunting party he was with, according to the newspaper.
The Silver City Sun-News described the terrain as “moderate to steep and rugged” and said overnight temperatures dipped to about 25 degrees.
Scores of searchers looked for the younger Lockhart, including mounted horse patrols from as far away as Albuquerque and Arizona, U.S. Broder Patrol trackers, New Mexico State Police and several volunteer search and rescue squads.
After three days, New Mexico officials called off their air and ground search, citing “strong evidence” Lockhart had made it to safety on his own.
But four days later, Stephen was found by another group of hunters in the mountains, conscious but incoherent.
The hunters left to get help, an undersheriff with the Catron County sheriff’s department told the Daily Pilot. By the time they returned, Lockhart had died.
The undersheriff said Lockhart’s injuries were consistent with a fall.