Five days after Trinity County officials called off an extensive search for a Windsor man who went missing in the mountains, his family said they have “reluctantly come to terms” with the prospect that Steve Morris’ body might never be found.
Morris, 59, was on a church-led backpacking trip in the Stoddard Lake area north of Weaverville when he did not return from an Aug. 2 day hike up to a vista called Billy’s Peak. He became separated from his companions on the descent and was not seen again.
Searchers from all over Northern California took part in a week-long effort to locate Morris but were unable to find any evidence pointing to his whereabouts. Officials from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, which led the effort, suspended the search on Friday, speculating that Morris slipped or tripped in what is slick, craggy terrain and fell into a deep crevice.
His wife Caroline Morris and family seemed to accept that scenario as the most likely explanation in a statement released Tuesday.
“While Steve and his hiking companion separated briefly to look for an alternate route down the mountain they had climbed together, Steve lost his footing when a piece of rock gave way and he fell down one of the steep, rocky walls that surround Billy’s Peak,” the statement said. “We do not believe Steve could have survived such a fall.”
The family said while they would consider using drones and helicopters to continue to try to find Morris’ body, they felt continuing the search on foot would be too dangerous.
Morris and his wife ran a Christian family therapy practice in Santa Rosa.
The family said they were thankful for the wide-ranging support they received during the search.
“We have reluctantly come to terms with the belief that Steve’s body may forever rest among the mountain peaks he loves so much,” the family said. “And we are thankful to know he is at peace, enjoying the company of the loving God he worshipped.”
You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or firstname.lastname@example.org..