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Search to resume at first light for Windsor man missing in Trinity Alps

A search for a missing Windsor man who disappeared this past weekend on a hike in the remote Trinity Alps area of Northern California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest was suspended due to darkness on Tuesday with no sign of the missing man.

Searchers were expected to renew efforts to locate Santa Rosa psychologist Stephen Michael Morris, 59, at first light, according to Trinity County Sheriff’s officials.

Morris, a Christian family therapist, was backpacking with a men’s group from First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa when he and the others left their camp at Stoddard Lake on Saturday to climb nearby Billy’s Peak, elevation 7,342 feet, authorities said.

On the return trip, Morris got ahead of the group but never returned to camp, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office said.

Billy’s Peak is located a mile or two from Stoddard Lake, in a granite area amid several lakes four or five miles from the nearest road and a little more than a mile from the 4,487-acre Coffee Forest Fire.

Authorities were alerted to his disappearance late Saturday night, the sheriff’s office said. The area received about a half-inch of rain overnight Monday.

Morris operates a counseling firm with his wife, Carrie Morris, who was in the search area Tuesday, as was their church pastor, Dale Flowers, Assistant Pastor Megan Katerjian said.

Church members and other concerned friends held a prayer vigil at the church and were to continue Wednesday if Morris was still missing, she said.

About 30 search and rescue volunteers from Trinity, Marin and Contra Costa counties were involved in the search effort, at least some of them dropped into the remote wilderness by helicopter, Katerjian and Trinity County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jessica Tillinghast said.

But there was no news of any sightings, they said. A five-person search and rescue team from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office was expected to join the search Wednesday, said Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Essick.

Trinity County Sheriff Bruce Haney returned from the search area Tuesday afternoon and said crews would continue to scour the area through the night, or until they found Morris, Tillinghast said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com.


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