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Remains of Hiker Missing Since November Found on Ketchikan’s Deer Mountain

Hiker, Justin Nathan's remains were discovered and retrieved from Deer Mountain on Sunday. Image-NOAA

Hiker, Justin Nathan’s remains were discovered and retrieved from Deer Mountain on Sunday. Image-NOAA

On Sunday, the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad notified Alaska State troopers in Ketchikan that while conducting training exercises on Deer Mountain, they discovered the remains of 22-year-old Justin Nathan, a hiker who had gone missing and was last seen on November 11, 2015 as he was descending the mountain.

Nathan had been hiking with a 17-year-old teen in November when he was last seen. The teen reported to troopers that Nathan had been drinking during the descent down the mountain, and at one point could no longer maintain his footing and continue down. The teen told troopers that he left Nathan on the mountain and descended to get help.

A search for Nathan was initiated, as family members and the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad took up the ground search in the difficult terrain, and a helicopter was launched.


Five days later, on the following Sunday, the search for Nathan was suspended. Further searches were unsuccessful “due to heavy snow and adverse weather conditions,” the trooper dispatch reported.

Nathan’s remains, which were discovered at the 3,200 foot level of the mountain, will be sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for examination.

Nathan’s next of kin were notified of the discovery and retrieval of his remains.