Trained searchers assisting the Thoke family were able to locate Matt Thoke on Saturday, and National Park Service (NPS) Rangers recovered his body on Sunday. Thoke was found in a location that was not visible by air and hardly visible on the ground, not far from where he was last seen, in technical terrain.
Matthew Thoke, 43, of Newport Beach, CA, was last seen on Wednesday, 7/21/21, at about 1 pm, leaving the High Sierra Trail approximately 3 miles east of the Crescent Meadow trailhead east of Panther Creek. Thoke split from his group and was hiking towards Crescent Meadow when he walked off-trail, downhill to the south, without his pack (a black overnight backpack). An extensive multi-agency search began on the same day in Sequoia National Park for Thoke. The search scaled back to limited continuous mode on August 2, meaning that while searching continued, the large number of resources and personnel dedicated to this effort were reduced. The family recruited skilled search teams to continue search efforts in coordination with NPS incident managers.
“We are saddened by this conclusion but are grateful for all the agencies, organizations, friends, and family who worked on this effort. It often takes a village to bring things to a close. We ask that the public and press continue to respect the family’s privacy in this extremely difficult time.”
– Clay Jordan, superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks thanks all involved in the search for Thoke, including friends and family, Tulare, Fresno, Los Angeles, and Alameda County Sherriff’s Offices, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Pinnacles National Parks, Sierra Madre Mountain Rescue, the Bakersfield Police Department, California National Guard, California Office of Emergency Services, and the US Forest Service.
The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is the consolidated management structure for Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park in California. The two parks have been jointly administered since 1943. They have a combined size of 1,353 square miles (3,500 km2). It was designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976.
It is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The Parks feature a wide variety of animals that include over 200 species of birds, gregarious slender salamander, western toad, western spadefoot toad, rainbow trout, coyote, wolverine, Mexican free-tailed bat, rubber boa, common kingsnake, and many more.