Saturday, December 9, 2023

Missing Bear Mountain Hiker Found Deceased in Creek

A missing hiker in the Bear Mountain State Park was found deceased in the Popolopen Creek yesterday, state law enforcement officials announced today.

At approximately 9:00 pm on Tuesday, the New York State Police and the New York State Park Police were dispatched to the park in the Town of Highlands for a report of a missing hiker. Police learned that Omar Benitez, age 23 from White Plains, was hiking with two friends and became separated from them. Police used Bloodhound dogs to search the area until 2:45 am on Wednesday, but were unable to locate Benitez. The search was terminated due to darkness and safety reasons.

At 8:30 am that same morning, police resumed the search. Police investigators, the State Police Aviation Unit, the State Police Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Unit, the State Police Underwater Recovery Unit, the New York State Special Operations Response Team, uniformed State Troopers, and the Park Police all joined the search.

At approximately 10:00 am, Benitez’s body was found in the Popolopen Creek. An investigation revealed that Benitez slipped and fell into the water.

According to police, there were no signs of foul play. The investigation is ongoing.

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