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Volunteers, crews continue search for hiker overdue since Wednesday in American Fork Canyon

(Chopper 5, KSL TV)


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AMERICAN FORK — Crews returned to a mountainous area Friday for a second day of searching for an overdue hiker in American Fork Canyon.

Derrik Jenkins, 28, of Pleasant Grove, parked his vehicle near the Granite Flat campground not far from Tibble Fork Reservoir about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to go for a run. He was expected home Wednesday night but never returned, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Friends reported Jenkins missing when he did not show up for work Thursday.

Utah County search and rescue crews began searching for him about 1 p.m. on foot and by air. After seven hours of searching, they suspended the search and resumed about 8:30 a.m. Friday, according to the sheriff's office.

Crews focused their search effort to the south peak Box Elder Peak after they found that Jenkins had downloaded maps of trails to the mountain's south peak. A Utah Highway Patrol helicopter and a fixed-wing plane from the Utah County Sheriff's Office assisted in Friday's search.

"Weather has been a concern and some snow has fallen, but SAR teams will continue the search," Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said in a statement.

Jenkins was likely prepared for a short-term run and not multiple nights in the mountains, Cannon added.

Jonathan Scott, who said he's been a friend of Jenkins' for about two years, said Jenkins was in the area to continue his goal of reaching 100 unique peaks in the Wasatch Front this year. Jenkins was about 15 peaks away from reaching that goal Wednesday, and Scott said he believed Jenkins was aiming to reach Box Elder Peak or Silver Lake Peak when he went to the area on Wednesday.

Scott described Jenkins as an experienced runner who was "proficient in the mountains." He added Jenkins had told people he was about 30 minutes away from losing cell service when he last contacted someone Wednesday afternoon.

Nearly 20 of Jenkins' friends searched the mountains overnight Thursday but did not find him. They helped search and rescue crews Friday.

Scott said he was the first up the mountain to search for Jenkins and that he found some tracks on Box Elder Peak that appeared to have been made within the last day. However, the conditions were poor in the area.

"I waded through it for a bit, but it got a bit sketchy," he said. "It's very icy from the early snow being melted. Fresh snow on top, that is no good — definitely a dangerous situation he might not have been ready for. But he's extremely strong. He can handle things."

Scott asked for anyone familiar with the mountainous area and "competent in the mountains" to assist in search efforts by meeting at the Granite Flat campground Friday.

Friends also created a Facebook page Friday to provide updates about the search for Jenkins.

Scott said while Jenkins loves running, he loves his daughters "more than anything."

"That's absolutely clear," he said. "Derrik is a father first and foremost, but he's trail runner second."

Volunteers planned to resume searching for Jenkins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday after taking a break during the night.

Contributing: Felicia Martinez, Andrew Adams and Sam Penrod, KSL TV


Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated Jenkins' age of 27. This article has been corrected to state Jenkins' actual age of 28.

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