63-year-old OC man found dead after going missing during hike, Sheriff's Department says

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Sunday, January 1, 2023
63-year-old OC man found dead after going missing during hike
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A 63-year-old man was found dead after going missing during a hike at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Orange County.

BREA, Calif. (KABC) -- A 63-year-old man was found dead hours after he went missing during a hike at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, authorities said Saturday.

"The Orange County Sheriff's Department is sorry to report that Jeffrey Morton has been found deceased," the agency said on Twitter shortly after 5:30 p.m., adding that Morton's death was being investigated by the county coroner's office. "Our hearts go out to his family and friends."

According to the Sheriff's Department, Jeffrey Paul Morton left his home in Yorba Linda for a hike at around 2:30 a.m. Friday. Investigators said he typically returned home by 6 a.m.

Morton's vehicle, a white 2004 Acura MDX, was found on the corner of Brea Hills Drive and Carbon Canyon Road, across the street from the park, according to the Sheriff's Department.

On Friday, authorities said he did not have a cellphone and his hiking route was unknown.

"Jeffrey has never failed to return home from a hike," a statement from the Sheriff's Department said at the time. "Due to the circumstances, Jeffrey is being considered a critical missing person."

The Brea Fire Department launched a rescue operation after receiving a call about Morton on Friday afternoon.

Crews searched the hills in the area, but aerial coverage did not help much due to poor visibility making efforts difficult.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Sheriff's Department at (714) 647-7000.