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2 Missing After Fires; Body Found

November 06, 2003|Allison Hoffman | Times Staff Writer

The body of a man missing since Saturday, when he decided to hike back to his home in Crestline to learn if it had burned, was discovered Wednesday near a creek.

The San Bernardino County coroner's office said it appeared that Harold Rathbun, a 43-year-old father of four, may have fallen and hit his head.

Rathbun was one of three people whom sheriff's deputies have been searching for since last week, when fires swept across the San Bernardino Mountains.

Rathbun left Phelan, in the high desert near Hesperia, last weekend, saying he was going to walk or hitchhike up the mountain. The community was under a mandatory evacuation order at the time.

Rathbun called his wife early Sunday morning, but had not been heard from since, said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Robin Haynal.

The coroner said that at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, a state parks employee was surveying near the Saw Pit Creek Bridge and Highway 138 near Silverwood Lake and came upon the body.

Deputies had been interviewing relatives and co-workers and retracing Rathbun's likely route along back roads through the heavily forested northern slopes, Haynal said.

Unpredictable weather conditions have hampered aerial searches, she said.

Two other mountain residents were reported missing during the evacuation.

Marilyn Fuller, 55, of Twin Peaks left her Ford Escort on the road as she left Oct. 25 and has not been heard from since. She was reported missing by a relative. Seth Dockstader, a 32-year-old Arrowbear resident, was reported missing Friday by his father, Haynal said. His car was found in Twin Peaks on Oct. 25.

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