San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reported that Sreenivas “Sree” Mokkapati, an Irvine hiker who has been missing since Dec. 8, 2019, was found dead on Friday, June 19, near Fish Fork on Mt Baldy.
According to a sheriff’s department press release, on June 19, two hikers located human remains on the northwest side of Mt. Baldy in Los Angeles County. The remains were found near the top of Fish Fork at the 7,800-foot level. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department recovered the body and the County Medical Examiner positively identified the remains to be Sreenivas "Sree" Mokkapati, on June 27.
Mokkapati was reported missing by his friends on Dec. 8, 2019, after becoming separated from his group. The search continued daily with San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Volunteers along with search and rescue members from San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Tulare, Fresno, San Mateo and Kern Counties. Helicopters from San Bernardino and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Departments assisted in the search efforts.
On Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department - Search and Rescue team member Timothy Staples, 32, died while searching for Mokkapati. Staples was one of the 126 people working in 23 teams searching large sections of Mt. Baldy. He was a dedicated volunteer and a 9-year veteran with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department – Search and Rescue Team assigned to the West Valley Search and Rescue Unit.
The search operations that began on Dec. 8, were suspended at that time due to weather conditions and treacherous terrain.
In the weeks that followed, aerial searches continued in hopes of locating Mokkapati. In May of this year, after the snow started to melt, ground search and rescue members returned to Mt. Baldy to search for Mokkapati.
The department would like to thank all the allied agencies for their assistance during this difficult search.