An inmate who walked away from an Antelope Valley conservation camp was found dead in a camping area just miles away from where he was reported missing, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a written statement Friday.
Jon Nicholas, 37, was serving time at the Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp in Valyermo when staff discovered that he was missing during a routine check on April 2, and launched a search for him, authorities said.
On Thursday, about nine days after he was reporting missing, a hiker found Nicholas’ body near the South Fork Campground, the department said.
The camping area is about a 10-minute drive away from the conservation camp.
It is unclear how Nicholas left the camp or what led to his death.
Officials said a cause of death had not yet been determined as of Friday morning.
Nicholas was serving a five-year-and-four-month sentence for assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft auto, authorities said.
The conservation camp, which is operated by Cal Fire as well as the department of corrections, provides six full-time fire crews with 17 inmates in each one. The crews work to battle fires in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino counties.
The case is under investigation.
No further details were immediately available.