Found Deceased CA - Diem Le Nguyen, 50, Nighthawk Trail on Black Mountain, 23 June 2024

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San Diego Police are asking for the public's help finding a woman who is missing after hiking on Black Mountain Sunday morning.

Diem Le Nguyen was hiking with a group on Nighthawk Trail at 9711 Oviedo Way, police said on Twitter. When her group stopped halfway up the trail around 8 a.m., Diem continued on alone, police said.

Le Nguyen is a 50-year-old Asian woman about 5'1, with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black shirt with a pink heart on the front, black pants, a brown hat, sunglasses and a backpack.



c9fa1717-e7cf-4a96-8d44-bcff4e120fa5_16x9.jpg
c9fa1717-e7cf-4a96-8d44-bcff4e120fa5_1140x641.jpg
This is at the sign on the top of Black Mountain.
 
The department held a news conference Monday to announce a body was found that matched the description of Diem Le Nguyen, who went missing while hiking the Nighthawk Trail at 9711 Oviedo Way. The Medical Examiner's office would determine if the body was indeed the missing hiker.

"At this point, it's obviously a very painful moment for the family and friends," SDPD Lt. Daniel Meyer said. "It's really important for the community to come together and support this family as they go through this traumatic time." :(
 
Actually, the trail I’m looking at takes only 2 hours to complete. That timing wouldn’t add up; if the rest of her group made it halfway at 8:00, it wouldn’t take her an hour and a half to make it to that summit. Unless she’s a really slow hiker, or the trail was jammed up by the crowd.
IMO she was at a trailhead when she texted that she was at the end of the trail. But she was texting because she couldn't find her friends there. She had the wrong trailhead. Speculation.

Then, she might have headed back up the trail to get to the correct trailhead. She could be anywhere.

FWIW pro tip: if she had an iphone 14 and up, if she dialed 911, it would call the satellite if there was no cell service. It also might dial 911 automatically if she fell. Satellite reception would be fab there, because the ground is practically bald.
 
My understanding is that she was part of a small group of people she knows, who turned back halfway. But her small group was part of a larger group of 100 people, whom she did not know. Many of those hikers did make it to the peak.
Do you have a source? This could just be SM chat.
 
A couple of quotes from this LINK

“Police say the woman was with a group of about 100 hikers and was seen in a livestream at the top of the mountain, but had become separated from the group. She hasn’t been seen since.”

“There’s not a lot of shade on that trail, it’s just low-lying brush.”

===

I’m confused. Was it that she came with a smaller group of friends and only Diem of that group of friends continued on with the others from the larger group, and got overlooked by the others (maybe she wasn’t friends with anyone else) on the way back down the trail?
I'm thinking the 100 number may be a typo or not fact-checked by the media outlet.

It's possible there were about 100 hikers on the trail (it was a weekend?), but they were not all in one group.
 
Oh no!! :(


Oh, how heartbreaking!

People always say to never hike alone. She hiked with 100 other people — on a short, popular, clear trail — and still, people didn’t notice.

I thought she’d quickly be found alive. But things can take a tragic turn fast with no water.

Devastating.
 
Oh no!! :(


Sad news. My condolences to her loved ones.

It's also odd because someone had posted an earlier link to the Facebook page for the PD and the update (Update #2) made it seem as if she had been found (alive), imo.

 
How sad. RIP Diem.

I know how easy it is to become lost or overwhelmed by the heat when hiking, but on this occasion it seems like everything was done correctly and it still wasn't enough.

Somehow Diem was able to slip away from under the noses of dozens of people. Tragic and almost unbelievable.
 
IMO This was a search that was impacted by non-SAR community folks going into the area and thinking they were helpful, after they'd been formally asked to stay away. This may have delayed the find, since LE were using scent-oriented search dogs, drones, heat-seeking devices, etc. If someone inadvertently dropped a piece of micro-trash it could throw off any of that, not to mention inserting their bodies into the scene.
 
FWIW pro tip: if she had an iphone 14 and up, if she dialed 911, it would call the satellite if there was no cell service. It also might dial 911 automatically if she fell. Satellite reception would be fab there, because the ground is practically bald.

And Apple Watch Ultra can emit a pretty decent siren if you get lost or stuck.
 
How sad. RIP Diem.

I know how easy it is to become lost or overwhelmed by the heat when hiking, but on this occasion it seems like everything was done correctly and it still wasn't enough.

Somehow Diem was able to slip away from under the noses of dozens of people. Tragic and almost unbelievable.
I'm not sure what counts as correct/incorrect in this situation? I don't believe we have enough info to make that determination. For instance, I can't see we know a whole lot about the charity hike, who was in charge, what the instructions were, if the maps were correct, how much water participants were told to carry, who made the decision to continue in high heat, whether hikers were fit, whether there were helpers along the route, etc.
 
“Police said they found a body matching Le Nguyen's description around 9:15 a.m. Monday. She was found a quarter mile from the nearest intersection.”


I don’t know what is meant by nearest intersection.

This tragedy is bringing out strong emotion from me.i live in So Cal,too, and frequently hike on trails that sound a lot like the one Diem was on, where there are transmission towers at some of the tops, and when you look down you see the suburban homes down below.
 
And Apple Watch Ultra can emit a pretty decent siren if you get lost or stuck.
While we are on this subject, my public service announcement. Those of you who go hiking, even if it's a micro-hike....
Check your pack. Look at the buckle on the sternum strap (it goes across your chest). It may have a built-in whistle. If it doesn't, you'll need to tie a whistle to your pack, preferably within easy reach of your mouth (also, if boating, your PFD).

The whistle sound carries much further than a voice.

I can't find my photo, and I don't currently have a pack with a whistle on the buckle, but here's a visual.

Screenshot 2024-06-24 at 3.16.10 PM.png
 
“Police said they found a body matching Le Nguyen's description around 9:15 a.m. Monday. She was found a quarter mile from the nearest intersection.”


I don’t know what is meant by nearest intersection.

This tragedy is bringing out strong emotion from me.i live in So Cal,too, and frequently hike on trails that sound a lot like the one Diem was on, where there are transmission towers at some of the tops, and when you look down you see the suburban homes down below.

That is a little confusing. It might mean she was found up on the mountain, near the intersection of a number of trails, or it might mean she made it all the way down the mountain and was found near a road.
 
She was found a quarter mile from the nearest intersection.

Only a quarter mile . . . this was probably preventable. So sad.

While we are on this subject, my public service announcement. Those of you who go hiking, even if it's a micro-hike....
Check your pack. Look at the buckle on the sternum strap (it goes across your chest). It may have a built-in whistle. If it doesn't, you'll need to tie a whistle to your pack, preferably within easy reach of your mouth (also, if boating, your PFD).

The whistle sound carries much further than a voice.

I can't find my photo, and I don't currently have a pack with a whistle on the buckle, but here's a visual.

View attachment 512830

Super helpful advice. And a really easy thing to do!

If you do more than micro-hikes, an off-grid communication device (like the Garmin InReach) is worth investing in!
 

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