San Diego

‘We really need her': Search continues for missing hiker on Black Mountain Trail

San Diego police say they received multiple tips of sightings – unfounded - after putting out a call for help from the community

Update: San Diego police believe they found a body that matches the description of Diem Le Nguyen. Follow the latest updates here.

San Diego police are asking for the public's help in finding an at-risk woman who disappeared on Sunday morning while on a Black Mountain hiking trail.

On Sunday morning, Diem Le Nguyen, a 50-year-old woman, was hiking on Nighthawk Trail on Black Mountain, located at 9711 Oviedo Way.

Her disappearance came during San Diego County's first heat wave of the summer, with an excessive heat watch in effect for the mountains until 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Nguyen was hiking with a group of 100 hikers participating in a 5K fundraiser for the Build a School Foundation. When the group stopped halfway up around 8 a.m., Nguyen went ahead and finished the trail alone, SDPD said.

At 9:30 a.m., she contacted her group, telling them she had reached the end of the trail. Then at 10:08 a.m., Nguyen contacted her sister to say she was tired and needed water.

Since then, she has not made contact or been seen, police say. She is considered missing at risk because of the hot weather and difficulty of the trail.

The search resumed Monday at 6:30 a.m. with countywide resources. San Diego police said search dogs were being utilized and asked volunteers to avoid the area so it doesn't impact the K9s' ability to do their jobs.

The prior day, crews were out until 1 a.m. searching for Nguyen. Search and rescue teams with more than 50 volunteers, search dogs and drones combed the mountain until dark.

"Worried, Because we really need her. We really need her," William Do, Nguyen's family member told NBC 7.

San Diego police say they received multiple tips of sightings – unfounded - after putting out a call for help from the community.

"Everyone who's called in, giving us tips we're very thankful for. Our biggest message is we want to bring Miss Nguyen home safely. And the best way to do that is to keep an eye out. If you see somebody walking around at night, give us a call. We'll check it out," said SDPD Officer Darius Jamset Jee.

Nguyen was last seen wearing a black shirt with a pink heart on the front, black pants, black backpack, sunglasses and a beige, wide-brimmed hat.

She stands about 5 feet, 1 inch tall, 105 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. SDPD shared a photo that was taken of her on Sunday.

Nguyen's family says more needs to be done, including contacting every person who is part of the hike.

"Don't be passive. Call them, ask them, who's there you know? Check mark each person you know so you know for sure that, 'Okay, I already called each person, so you can go next one,'" said Do.

Jimmy Thai, who organized the walk, said he hikes the trail multiple times a week – and will do whatever it takes to bring Nguyen home.

"I'm pretty sure if you have your sister lost for 11 hours, you'll be worried, too. But that's why we're here with her and rest assured, I will not rest until we find her. I will make sure that I will be the one with her sister and her family the whole time," Thai said.

If you or anyone you know has information related to Nguyen's whereabouts, please call 911 and reference Case Number 24-50182.

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