SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A tragic end in the search for an Elk Grove hiker missing in Alpine County. Bradford Dozier was discovered dead 200 below a cliff.
The husband, father of three and attorney disappeared a week ago.
“He was doing something he loved. He came back out. He came back out a week late, but he came out,” said Brooke Wells, nephew-in-law to Dozier.
Wells is still struggling with the details of how Dozier died.
“He fell. He fell 30 feet and then another 150 feet or so and died instantly,” he said.
The Alpine County Sheriff’s Office says Dozier was trying to free climb a steep terrain, on the north side of Peak 9626 when he fell about 200 feet.
Family members describe him as an avid hiker so they knew something was wrong when he went hiking last Saturday and didn’t return.
“The fear obviously was that when we didn’t find him Sunday night and didn’t find him Monday night was that Brad was injured and cold,” Wells said.
Search efforts for Dozier began last Sunday and continued for six days. A large team, including the Alpine Sheriff’s Office, the California National Guard, California OES, and other local sheriff’s departments, took part in the search.
While devastated, Wells is grateful they brought Dozier back home.
“If the snow had come and we hadn’t found him it would have been very difficult so I want to thank them deeply for all the hard work,” he said.
He says there’s some comfort knowing he was happy in the moments before his death.
“There was no suffering here and he was doing something that he loved very very much in just a beautiful beautiful mountain.”
Wells says the family is now focused on the healing process, as well as providing support for Dozier’s three children.