MT. BALDY (CBSLA) ⁠— The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department announced Monday that human remains located on the northwest side of Mt. Baldy in Los Angeles County were those of a hiker who went missing last December.

Sree Mokkapati, 52, went missing Dec. 8 after becoming separated from his hiking group on Mt. Baldy. (Credit: Mokkapati family)

Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati, 52, of Irvine, was reported missing by his friends Dec. 8, 2019, after he became separated from the group.

The search continued daily with search and rescue teams from San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Tulare, Fresno, San Mateo and Kern counties assisting the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and the Angeles National Forest Service shut down trails to assist in the search.

On Dec. 14, Timothy Staples, a member of the search and rescue team for SBSD, died while searching for Mokkapati. Staples was on of the 126 people working in 23 teams to search large sections of Mt. Baldy. The search was subsequently called off due to weather conditions and treacherous terrain.

Aerial searches continued in the weeks following in hopes of finding Mokkapati. And in May of this year, after the snow started to melt, ground search and rescue members again returned to Mt. Baldy to search for the hiker.

On June 19, two hikers found human remains near the top of Fish Fork at the 7,800-foot level. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recovered the body and the medical examiner identified the remains June 27.

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