Body of Missing Clovis Camper Found

August 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Friday morning, nearly 72 hours after Cherie Hamilton disappeared in the Eastern Fresno County Mountains a Yosemite National Park search and rescue team found her body. Fresno County Sheriff Deputy Gregg Collins said "It's basically a drainage. When people get lost from where they went missing they take the path of least resistance and apparently that's what happened."Sgt. Collins said the 20 year old Clovis woman and her boyfriend were walking toward Wishon Lake Tuesday afternoon when she decided to take a shortcut by herself. Fliers detailing what Cherie Hamilton was wearing during the walk say she had on flip flops and not good hiking shoes. Rescuers say the shortcut Hamilton took was down a notoriously unforgiving canyon called "Hell's Hole." Collins said, It's almost vertical, a lot of cliffs, like a gigantic staircase with cracks and valleys.

For two and a half days dozens of trained rescuers and volunteers from around the Valley combed miles of the Sierra in a helicopter, by jeep and on horseback. Even several scent dogs couldn't pick up signs of Hamilton's whereabouts. Collins said the area is so remote "Where she was located the only way she could have been seen was by someone standing at the top of the cliff and leaning out over."

Deputies don't know how the young woman died but say there were no obvious signs of an animal attack. Collins said, "It's a sad ending but at least we're able to give the family closure."

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