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UPDATE: Missing hiker found in Towsley Canyon after overnight ordeal

Posted: March 11, 2014 10:48 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2014 5:14 p.m.

Janet Napoli expresses hope that the sighting of a man in Towsley Canyon is her son, Brian who went missing Monday afternoon. Signal photo by Jim Holt

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A hiker missing since Monday afternoon was found safe and apparently sound Tuesday morning after searchers spotted him waving a piece of clothing in the hills of Towsley Canyon.

A Santa Clarita Search and Rescue helicopter responded to the spot where the man was spotted shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday and picked up 24-year-old Brian Napoli, who lives in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The chopper was sent up to circle the area where a man was spotted waving a piece of clothing, and about 15 minutes later it touched down with Napoli on board in an open field near The Old Road.

Napoli, wearing a dirty sleeveless undershirt, was escorted to an ambulance from the helicopter, pausing to tell reporters he was OK. he was placed on a stretcher and lifted into a waiting ambulance.

A paramedic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said he would be taken to the hospital “to be checked out.”

The search for Napoli began about 6 p.m. Monday in Towsley Canyon, located on the Santa Clarita Valley’s west side near Calgrove Boulevard, said a spokesman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Napoli, an experienced hiker, phoned his mother on his cellphone at 3:30 p.m. Monday and told her he was lost, said his mother, Janet Napoli.

“When he said he was lost I thought he meant on the freeway,” she said Tuesday morning as searchers scrambled in response to the sighting of her son.

Within an hour of that Monday afternoon phone call, the battery on her son’s cellphone died, she said. That’s when the worry set in and a call was placed to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“My biggest fear was that something severe had happened to him,” Janet Napoli said minutes before she hugged her son.

“My brain told me he is a strong young man and that he’ll be fine,” she said. “But he’s still my baby.”

The search launched at 6 p.m. Monday continued until 3 a.m. Tuesday and was launched again at 6 a.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Mark Hershey.

Janet Napoli said her son’s birthday is in two weeks.

“We’re thinking of getting him a GPS hiking device,” she said.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt



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