Missing hiker found safe, could face charges

Reported by: Katherine Underwood

Editor: B. Flynn
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Updated: 10/10/2012 7:17 pm
A Northborough, Massachusetts man has survived 36 hours in Taconic State Park.

Kyle Pember, 28, was first reported as missing by his father, but authorities are now saying Pember intentionally stayed in the woods.

The Columbia County Sheriff says the search effort was a tremendous undertaking and has contacted the District Attorney concerning criminal charges, and the County Attorney about legal action to force Pember to pay up for fuel, equipment, and overtime.

Rescue teams found the hiker early Wednesday morning, deep in the woods in the Town of Copake.

Just after 4 a.m. Wednesday Pember was finally in safe hands.

Authorities say Pember was lethargic and hypothermic, but was doing okay considering he had spent two cold nights in Taconic State Park.

"The terrain is really rugged, it’s rocky and steep, cliff-like, I would say,” said NYSP Sgt. Darren Forbes.

For Pember's father, George, it was a nightmarish two days.

Police say Kyle was hiking with his dad in the Bash Bish Falls area when the two got separated Monday afternoon.

We were hiking and he told me he wanted to go to the bathroom I said, 'I am going to start back up this trail,' and that’s the last I saw him, that was three o’clock,” said Pember's dad.

By nightfall, Massachusetts State Police had called on more than three dozen search crews to scour the area.

There was no sign of Pember until late Tuesday night, when police say the hiker used his cell phone to call his dad and 911.

On Facebook, the Columbia County 911 center wrote, "His 911 call has provided searchers with valuable new information and they are reorganizing their search.”

Back at the command unit, search teams used the tracked cell phone coordinates to find Pember’s location.

“We are just assembling the crew and sending them up,” said Jennifer Boice with the Ancram Fire Department.

Once the ATVs took the team more than a mile into the woods – there was still a ways to go on foot.

“We had to make our way half a mile up steep terrain to get to the location where phone was pinged,” said Sgt. Forbes.

When they got to the phone location, Pember was just fifteen feet away.

“He knew were he was, he just didn't know where in the woods he was,” Sgt. Forbes said.

The Sheriff's Office says it does not appear that George Pember knew his son had intentionally stayed in the woods when he initially reported Kyle missing.

The investigation is ongoing.

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