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Body found on Phoenix mountain confirmed as missing hiker

PHOENIX -- A body found Tuesday near the top of a popular Phoenix mountain has been confirmed as that of a missing hiker.

Seattle resident Eric Fernandes, 23, was last seen by other hikers Saturday. They said he was alone and described him as surprised by the difficulty of the hike.

Hikers reported finding a body later identified as that of Fernandes on the south side of Camelback Mountain, about 200 feet from the peak in rugged terrain dotted with some brush, Phoenix Fire Department officials said.

The ground search for Fernandes had been halted just hours before his body was found late Tuesday afternoon. Phoenix police said search crews had covered all the area they could by foot and there was no sign of him.

Sgt. Trent Crump, a police spokesman, said people in distress on the steep, rocky mountain can be hard to spot if they have fallen into crevices.

Crews had to stop searching for Fernandes on Monday because of 110-degree temperatures. The search resumed Tuesday morning. Investigators also posted Fernandes' photo and other information on Camelback Mountain's trailheads.

Fernandes had been visiting the Phoenix area with his father and planned to hike the mountain before heading home. Max Fernandes reported his son missing Sunday.

Investigators found Eric Fernandes' car at a trailhead and recovered receipts that indicate he bought a hydration backpack and some water.

Police said his cellphone died sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

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