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UPDATED: Search on for missing Southern California hikers

Posted: April 3, 2013 7:00 a.m.
Updated: April 3, 2013 7:00 a.m.

Hiker Nicholas Cendoya, left, and Kyndall Jack, right, have both been missing since the weekend in the Orange County area.

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA (AP) — Dozens of searchers aided by bloodhounds and horses scoured Orange County's Cleveland National Forest on Tuesday for a young man and woman who vanished during a weekend hike.

Parents of Nicholas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, hoped for a sign of their kids somewhere in the wooded area as experts and volunteers continued the hunt, sheriff's Lt. Erin Guidice said.

"I've got a good feeling they're going to be found today and they're going to be fine," Jack's father, Russ Jack, told KCAL9 News. "Even if they're hurt or they've fallen down in the valley or something, you know, the more eyes the better to look for them."

Searchers were concentrating on an area of the Holy Jim Trail where a bloodhound picked up a scent during an overnight search, Guidice said.

The Costa Mesa teens called authorities Sunday night saying they were lost about a mile from their car in Holy Jim Canyon, but their cellphone lost power soon afterward.

Friends who joined the search told KCAL9 that the couple is very active.

"They're very fitness-oriented, so it's not really a shocker that they'd be hiking but it's a shocker that they'd be missing because of it," Daniela Conderes told the station.

The rocky, tree-shaded dirt trail leads to a waterfall on a 2.8-mile round trip and is popular with day hikers. Its difficulty is listed as moderate to serious on a U.S. Forest Service website. However, the lost hikers "did not keep to the trail," Guidice said.

The area has heavy brush and a creek running through it, she said. Temperatures were moderate Friday, following an overnight low in the 50s.

The area is in a section of the national forest in the Santa Ana Mountains, which lie along the border of Orange and Riverside counties southeast of Los Angeles. The trail ranges in elevation from about 2,000 feet to about 4,000 feet.


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