The Arcadia firefighter who was missing for two weeks while camping in the Los Padres Forest died accidentally and due to blunt force injuries, Armando Chavez with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday.
Mike Herdman, 36, went was last seen on June 13 when he and a friend tried to chase down his dog after it ran away from their camp site.
The search for Herdman did not begin until June 15 because it took two days for Herdman’s friend to hike out of the remote Sespe Wilderness area.
Search-and-rescue personnel searched the rugged terrain for weeks and suffered injuries including a rattlesnake bite.
Searchers had decided not to look in the area because they thought it unlikely that Herman would have hiked that far in elevation, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
“What are the chances that someone at night in bare feet and shorts would scale a 1,200-foot mountain?” Dean said. “The likelihood just wasn’t that high, so the search was focused in areas that there was a higher likelihood that he might be located.”