SDMRT 2019-03 Idyllwild Mutual Aid Piotr Hopper-Jasinski

SDMRT Operations Report 2019-03

Limited Callout – Mutual Aid for Riverside County, Idyllwild, CA

Piotr Hopper-Jasinski

20 February 2-19

SDMRT Responders: Richard Yocum

SDMRT ITC: Tony Rolfe

Other responding organizations: Riverside County SAR (RMRU) and LE, along with SAR mutual aid from San Diego County Sheriff’s Department SAR (Lauren Myers and David Huang). A couple dog teams. Estimate 10 ground searchers this operational period.

Short Summary:

  • Type of callout: Limited (specifically for 10-20 Type I and II ground searchers, per Cal-OES mutual aid request)
  • Out of County – Mutual aid, requested by Riverside County, in Idyllwild, CA (Cal-OES Mission# 2019-LAW-57882)
  • Type of search: Search for missing person with medical issues
  • Environment: Suburban, and undeveloped hillsides and creek area
  • Location:
    • LKP at Idyllwild Pizza, 54391 Village Center Drive, Idyllwild, CA
    • CP at 12845 at Idyllwild Fire station, 54160 Maranatha Dr, Idyllwild, CA
    • Subject located at approx. 1200 hours this operational period
  • Operational periods:
    • Earliest time of activity: Callout request received by Kyle Anderson, President SDMRT, at 2009 hours on 2/19/19, forwarding request from Eric Hannigan, for operational period beginning 0800 on 2/20/19
  • Information about the subject:
    • Number/names of subjects: 1 subject, Piotr Hopper-Jasinski
    • Age/Gender: 62-year-old man
    • Level of fitness and preparedness: Fitness level not reported; believed to be not prepared for long duration exposure outside or overnight in sub-freezing temperatures, snow-covered terrain; reported to have already exceeded his anticipated life-expectancy on hospice care, within known oxygen-dependent congestive heart failure and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
    • Mental status: Wife reported no cognitive impairments (although the initial callout described dementia, which was not accurate)
    • Injuries, if applicable: No prior injuries reported
    • How were they found: Subject located by ground search SAR team
  • Any rescuers injured: None known
  • Aircraft used: None known.

Descriptive Report

Missing subject is a 62-year-old man, 6’1”, 170 pounds, with significant medical problems, reportedly to have already exceeded his anticipated life-expectancy on hospice care, within known oxygen-dependent congestive heart failure and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. His wife reported that he left their residence at 54820 South Circle Drive in Idyllwild at 1830 hours on 2/18/19, after they had an argument, on foot with unknown destination or direction of travel. This was unusual for him and he had not been missing in the past. He took with him a toiletry-size bag with some medications. He reportedly has no cell phone, no credit card, does not drive, and could have cash on him from his $25/week allowance. He was reportedly wearing an aqua beanie, grey/black jacket with red liner, green pants, and black boots.

A server at Idyllwild Pizza reported serving him a single beer at about 1830 hours that evening. He left the pizza place, and may have traveled in the direction of the Idyllwild Brewery. There was an unconfirmed report that someone may have seen a person of his description get into a vehicle.

Little was described about search efforts on 2/19/19, but they were apparently limited due to a limited number of search personnel available. A dog took interest in the direction of the Brewery, and also around/under the nearby bridge over Strawberry creek. Several deputies found nothing around the bridge during their search in the dark.

For 2/20/19, a briefing occurred at about 0815 hours. No additional clues were available. The sole SDMRT member in attendance was assigned to the 2 SDSDSAR members in attendance, making up a team, for a total of 2 assignments.

  • The first assignment (Team #1) was to search Strawberry Creek and both sides of the creek from the Village Center Drive bridge west to the Highway 243 bridge. The team was assigned a dog team (Amber, with air sniff/HRD dog Canyon). Richard and Amber searched the north side of the creek and David and Lauren the south side. The creek was flowing briskly, and the ground covered with about 18” of snow. The last snowfall was before the subject went missing. Temperatures were in the low 20s. A red scarf and black sock were each found in the creek bed, but both appeared to have snow on top and did not fit the subject’s description. The search assignment was completed in about 2 hours with no clues found, and the team returned to the CP.
  • After a 15-minute rest at the CP, the 3 team member without the dog team were assigned to an area search segment bounded by Village Center Dr to the east, the creek to the south, the village square to the north, and a street to the west. After searching the extreme southeast corner of the sector, the team spread out high, middle and low along the hillside extending west from the Brewery. Immediately behind the Fairway Market that anchors the west end of the parking lot the subject was located lying in the snow, on his right side, in a semi-fetal position with his face down in the snow. His attire matched the clothing description. A black toiletry bag was by his side containing many pill bottles. One pill bottle and insulin packaging lay beside him in the snow. A cell phone lay under his feet in the snow. There was no carotid pulse, no apparent respirations, his skin at the neck and lower leg was white and cold, and an attempt at passive movement of his left leg revealed complete rigidity. Based on this clinical assessment, the subject was believed to be deceased for at least several hours. CP was notified of the location of the deceased subject by using the designed radio code message.

After providing individual statements to the Riverside Sheriff, the 3 team members were dismissed and departed for San Diego.

Piotr Hopper-Jasinski (now reportedly with full beard)

Lessons learned/ suggestions for future operations:

Missing subjects may be found very close to the LKP, and searching a small radius around the LKP early in the operation may be beneficial.