Dog of Missing California Firefighter Found as Search Continues

By Andrew Lopez
|  Monday, Jun 23, 2014  |  Updated 11:47 AM EDT
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Dog of Missing California Firefighter Found as Search Continues

Ventura County Sheriff's Office

Duke, the dog of missing firefighter Mike Herdman, was found on Sunday, June 23, 2014.

The dog belonging to a firefighter who disappeared in a Southern California forest more than a week ago was recovered Sunday, as officials announced plans to scale back the search for missing camper Mike Herdman.

Herdman, 36, disappeared June 13 during a camping trip in the Los Padres National Forest near Fillmore with a friend and fellow firefighter. Duke ran away from the campsite and Herdman chased after him, barefoot and wearing just a t-shirt and shorts.He was reported missing Sunday night when his friend emerged from the forest and contacted authorities.

Much of the search focused on finding Duke, who had been spotted twice in the past week. Authorities set a caged trap to capture Duke on Friday. Good samaritans found Duke around noon in a parking lot Sunday where the missing person's vehicle had been parked, said Sgt. Kevin Donoghue of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

The breakthrough came seven days after the search in the Los Padres National Forest began. Authorities said in a news conference Sunday they would scale back search efforts after combing through a 50-square mile radius without finding Herdman.

Eighty-six search and rescue volunteers were were looking for Herdman on Saturday - the largest group so far. Two manned flight crews and two drones were used to search the rugged terrain.

Several Southern California sheriff’s departments and a team of special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are also involved.

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