Missing hiker found safe thanks to man who recognized his photo

Hiker Rene Compean, 45, was found one day after he went missing.

April 14, 2021, 12:16 PM

A missing hiker has been found safe in California -- and officials credited his rescue in part to one man who recognized the hiker's photo.

Rene Compean, 45, was found safe at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Angeles National Forest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

When Compean was reported missing at about 6 p.m. Monday, rescue teams immediately launched a search in the Mt. Waterman area. They searched through the night to no avail, authorities said.

Missing hiker Rene Compean, 45, seen in a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department photo, was found safe April 13, 2021, in the Angeles National Forest in California.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department/Facebook

Compean had snapped this photo of his legs earlier during his hike and texted it to a friend, the sheriff's office said. Compean told his friend he was lost and his phone was dying, authorities said.

Compean's "location" from his phone was off, so crews couldn't obtain the location code of the photo, the sheriff's office said. Instead, the authorities released the image to the public in hope that someone would recognize the area where Compean was stranded.

An avid hiker of the Angeles National Forest came forward sharing information about the area in the photo, the sheriff's office said.

A helicopter then found Compean and airlifted him to safety, authorities said.

"His clue greatly helped us find the hiker," the Montrose Search and Rescue Team said.

Compean wrote on Facebook Tuesday night, "I want to thank God for getting me thru this safe and sound home. Also to thank all those who played a role in the search and locating me. Thank you all for your prayers and the collaboration with each other."