Missing Hikers, Including Native-Iowan, Found Safe in California

Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace (WHO-HD)

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, California. — Two missing hikers, one originally from Johnston, have been found alive after they disappeared while hiking in California over the weekend.

Thirty-three-year-old Eric Desplinter, who grew up in Johnston and went to Iowa State, and 31-year-old Gabrielle Wallace hadn’t been seen since Saturday when they didn’t return from a hike to Cucamonga Peak.

Wednesday night, a search crew in the Mount Baldy area found footprints and contacted the command post. A helicopter flew over the area and eventually saw a camp fire and two people.

The hikers were airlifted out and taken to the Mount Baldy fire station where they underwent medical evaluation before reuniting with family.

We spoke with Desplinter’s mother Karen Ziebarth earlier this week, before she headed out to California. She said, “He’s very strong, he’s very skilled, he’s very knowledgeable and he’s safe. He’s not going to go into an area unless he’s got the right equipment, and we know that they left with the right equipment, we just don’t know what happened.”

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