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Foul Play Not Suspected In Arnold Missing Hiker Case

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Arnold, CA – Foul play did not play a role in the disappearance of missing hiker Ann Herford. Tragic News Story Update November 30

“Investigative measures taken during this case focused on determining whether foul play was a factor in this case. Facts and evidence obtained during the investigation have led to the investigative belief that a criminal act was not a contributing factor in the disappearance of Ann Herford,” according to Calaveras Sheriff’s officials.

Additionally, investigators report they have transitioned the search effort to “a limited continuous search while still investigating. A traveling nurse working at Adventist Health Sonora, 66-year-old Herford, disappeared on Tuesday, November 14, while hiking the Arnolds Rim Trail.  A resident reported seeing her before she parked her car at a trailhead, which was found the next day (11/15). Search efforts have included rescue teams combing the area of the Lakemont Pines subdivision, which surrounds the trail and is north of Highway 4, and a nearby field twice, as earlier detailed here.

Sheriff’s officials say the search has been extensive, involving 18 separate agencies and a total of 478 searchers over a seven-day intensive search.

“The search operation spanned a challenging and mountainous 12-square-mile area, in which search teams created over 2,475 linear miles of search tracks,” relayed investigators, adding, “This operation has been characterized by a continuous and coordinated blend of search and investigation, with investigators conducting over 100 neighborhood contacts to gather potential leads and information.”

Despite the challenging terrain and the complexity of the operation, 132 search teams have collectively contributed 3,842 search hours to the ongoing operation and a combined 500 hours of investigative efforts. Aircraft from the California Highway Patrol, the California Office of Emergency Services resource, the Air National Guard, and the United States Army have been deployed, along with drones from the Marin and Calaveras Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) teams. Additionally, special K9 units, off-road vehicles, and dive teams with remote-operated vehicles have also been utilized.

Technology was also used to provide real-time tracking and the assignment of search teams that will continue to be analyzed. Sheriff’s officials stated, “This technology is invaluable in optimizing search efforts, ensuring a systematic approach to assigning search areas, and monitoring searcher progress.”

A forensic examination of Herford’s vehicle and her computer has been conducted, with detectives sharing, “Security footage from both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties has been collected and analyzed, and a thorough forensic examination of digital data originating from her cell phone and vehicle usage was conducted and utilized for searcher deployment.”

The search will now continue with limited local search and investigative efforts, say sheriff’s officials, who continue to ask residents surrounding the Arnold Rim Trail area to check their property and outbuildings for signs of Herford or evidence of her having taken shelter from the elements. They added that updates will continue to be provided as more information becomes available.

The agencies involved in this search included:

  • Air National Guard
  • Amador County Sheriff’s SAR
  • Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit (BAMRU)
  • California Office of Emergency Services (Overhead and Air Resources)
  • Calaveras County Search and Rescue
  • Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office
  • California Highway Patrol
  • California Office of Emergency Services (SAR)
  • Contra Costa County Sheriff’s SAR
  • Marin County Sheriff’s SAR (including Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS))
  • Merced County Sheriff’s SAR
  • Nevada County Sheriff’s SAR
  • Placer County Sheriff’s SAR
  • San Mateo County Sheriff’s SAR
  • Santa Clara County Sheriff’s SAR
  • Tuolumne County Sheriff’s SAR
  • United States Army Aircraft
  • Yolo County Sheriff’s SAR
  • Ann Herford CCSO missing person
  • K9 unit searching in the Arnold Rim Trail area Trail area for missing hiker Ann Herford -- CCSO photo
  • Rescue crews searching in the Arnold Rim Trail area for missing hiker Ann Herford --CCSO photo
  • Rescue crews searching in the Arnold Rim Trail area for missing hiker Ann Herford --CCSO photo
  • Rescue crews searching in the Arnold Rim Trail area for missing hiker Ann Herford --CCSO photo