Search continues for missing elderly hiker in Madera Canyon

Search continues for missing elderly hiker in Madera Canyon
Joe Smallwood called 911 from Madera Canyon on Feb. 5. (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - It's been nearly a week since 83-year old Joe Smallwood went missing while hiking in Madera Canyon.

He called 911 Tuesday afternoon to say he was lost and needed help.

Search and rescue crews have been out looking ever since. The weather and steep terrain are a couple of factors that have made this search and recovery more difficult.

Weather conditions haven't been ideal for another day of searching for Smallwood. It's been impossible for an eye in the sky to look for him, which has left searchers on foot.

Since the rescue transitioned to recovery mode days ago, agencies have covered a lot of ground.

Once declared a recovery, crews took a day to map out a game plan on Friday and picked back up again on Saturday.

Despite the transition, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office told KOLD the severity of the situation still remains high.

"We've already spoken to a son to gain additional clues," said Sgt. Oscar Pena with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. "It's just as important to give families any type of closure, whether it's a search or a recovery effort."

On Sunday, around a hundred people were on hand to look, including agencies from as far as Yavapai and Coconino counties.

Our local teams say they're thankful for all the statewide help.

If you have any information on Smallwood’s whereabouts you’re asking to contact law enforcement immediately.

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