The father of a hiker who went missing over a week ago on a Borrego Springs trail said Monday he's not giving up in the search for his son.
25-year-old Guillermo Pino was exploring the caves in an area called Arroyo Tapiado around noon on Easter with his sister, his brother-in-law and two close friends.
Though investigators have seen virtually no sign of Pino since his disappearance, Pino's father, Guillermo Pino Sr. said he and his family still believe they will find him.
“We’re going to find my son,” Pino Sr. said. “And we’ll need everyone's help.”
He believes his son is not in the canyon because they have searched that area extensively.
The family did insert a rod inside one of the caves and thought they heard tapping from it last night. Crews were sent out Monday and lowered down to the area but it was just hard-packed dirt. Sheriffs say the noise could have been a small animal.
About 50 to 60 people with various law enforcement agencies have been looking for Pino in an area described as extremely rugged with ravines, washes, mud caves and loose dirt and rocks.
“The difficulty here is that these caves are numerous,” said Don Parker with San Diego Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in a previous article. “They go vertical, they go horizontal, they go diagonal.”
Pino, described as a fairly experienced hiker, was sitting on a ledge at the top of a cave when his sister, Michelle Pino-Knaak, last saw him. She said he was acting happy and seemed to be having a great time.
The group went to cool off inside the caves. When they came outside about 15 minutes later, Pino was no longer sitting on the ledge.
Pino-Knaak said nothing in the area looked suspicious.
Pino is 6 feet tall, slender with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen wearing a white shirt with black plaid and jeans. Deputies said Pino did not have shoes, food, water, a flashlight or a cell phone when he was last seen.
Pino was taking a year off from obtaining his psychology degree from UC San Diego, according to Knaak.
Search teams spread across the area south of Scissors Crossing near State Route 78 throughout last week.
San Diego Sheriff's Search and Rescue, San Diego Mountain Rescue, Sycuan Fire Department are helping in the search as well as crews from Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, State Parks and Border Patrol.
This is the first time authorities have heard about a person gone missing in that canyon, Guillermo Sr. said. The nearest freeway is about three miles away, he added.
On Friday, search teams headed out again to look for Pino, but their efforts were somewhat derailed by the heavy rain.
“My son has been missing for eight days,” Pino Sr. said tearfully on Monday. “Prayers and support have come to us from everybody. We couldn’t have sustained ourselves without the support we’ve gotten from our family.”
For updates or to donate to the family, visit their Facebook page.
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