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Montrose Search & Rescue Helps Recover Body in Anza-Borrego Cave

The medical examiner has taken possession of the body. The identification is pending.

Montrose and Sierra Madre rescuers working late Tuesday night were able to successfully remove a body from a mud cave in Anza-Borrego desert, a sheriff's spokeswoman told Patch Wednesday.

The body was reported found Saturday in an area of unstable caverns known as Arroyo Tapiado, beneath a 60-foot shaft. The family of missing San Diego hiker Guillermo Pino reported the find, in the area where he went missing while hiking with them Easter Sunday, April 8.

The medical examiner has taken possession of the body. An examination will be performed and an identification released soon.

Authorities suspended the search for 26-year-old Pino by April 17 due to the difficulty of working in the rugged, unstable terrain, locally known as "the Badlands." However, Pino's family continued the search.

No information was available from authorities early Wednesday about whether Pino's family was present during the removal.

Search and rescue experts from all over Southern California weighed in this week on how to remove the body respectfully under such tough conditions.

Responding were Montrose and Sierra Madre SAR teams, along with three members of the LASD Emergency Services Detail, Sheriff's Reserve Chief Mike Leum told Patch. 

The Sheriff's Department announced at 7:16 p.m. Tuesday that mine rescuers from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department were expected to extricate the body "in a few hours."

The original search for Pino included a total of roughly 60 personnel with the state parks system; the U.S. Border Patrol; the American Red Cross; San Diego Mountain Rescue; the Sycuan Fire Department; and sheriff's deputies from San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

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