In a heartbreaking turn of events, the body of missing hiker Rich Moore has been discovered two months after he and his loyal Jack Russell terrier, Finney, went missing during a hiking expedition. Moore, 71, and Finney set out on August 19, 2023, with the goal of reaching the summit of Blackhead Peak, located east of Pagosa Springs.
The duo was last heard from on the day of their departure, and a massive search and rescue operation, involving over 2,000 hours of efforts, ensued when it was realized they were missing. Despite their extensive search, rescue teams could not locate Moore, only finding his car in the process.
However, on October 30, a hunter made a tragic discovery in the Lower Blanco drainage basin – Rich Moore’s lifeless body was found, but remarkably, Finney was still alive, faithfully standing by his owner’s side. The Denver Gazette reports that the loyal Jack Russell had managed to survive the challenging conditions of the wilderness for over two months.
In a Facebook post, Taos Search and Rescue shared updates on the search efforts. Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, a member of TSAR, along with her certified K9 AkioYodasan, responded to the initial search. Delinda recounted, “We searched from just under the peak-top and directly West, searching down the mountain toward where his car was located. Winds were directly from the West/Soutwest. It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter. He was found 2.5 miles East of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted.”
The news of Rich Moore’s tragic fate and the unwavering loyalty of his canine companion garnered an outpouring of support on social media. Condolences were offered to Moore’s family, and admiration was expressed for Finney’s dedication. One commenter remarked, “Oh my goodness…his sweet dog stayed with him for over two months? Sending prayers for his family. Thank you for your work in locating him and giving this family some closure.”
Another user added, “Amazing that the dog stayed with him. They are truly man’s best friend.”
While the official cause of Rich Moore’s death has not been released, the Denver Gazette reports that no foul play is suspected. In their concluding remarks, Taos Search and Rescue expressed condolences to the family and expressed relief that they could provide some closure and reunite Finney with his home.