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71-year-old Santa Rosa hiker’s body found at Hood Mountain park

A 71-year-old Santa Rosa man missing since Nov. 2 was found dead Thursday afternoon, bringing to an end a dayslong search for the hiker.

Searchers concentrated on Hood Mountain, where Jon Clifford was last seen and where deputies found his vehicle parked Tuesday at the Los Alamos Road entrance to the popular Mayacamas Mountains park east of Santa Rosa.

Clifford’s body was found in the southern part of the county park, in a creek bed, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Juan Valencia said Friday. The death is not being investigated as suspicious, but a cause of death has not yet been released. Valencia did not know whether Clifford had suffered any injuries, saying more information would be available once the autopsy report was released.

Concerned friends contacted deputies Tuesday to report Clifford hadn’t been seen for three days.

About 10 members of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office search-and-rescue team Tuesday combed the park until about 11 p.m., both on motorcycles and on foot. Two tracking dogs were added Wednesday.

By Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office brought in its helicopter, Henry 1, and had 87 people searching, Valencia said.

One of Clifford’s friends, Tom York, has known him since they attended Bryan Adams High School together in Dallas.

Clifford was retired, having worked as a janitor at Santa Rosa Junior College, York said. He said many local friends were out looking for him the past few days. Friends and family declined to offer further comment Friday.

Hood Mountain Regional Park, at 1,750 acres and with 19 miles of trails, offers some of the most rugged and remote public open space in Sonoma County.

Friends told deputies Clifford was an avid hiker and was familiar with the park.

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