Deputies and search and rescue crews are searching for a Forest Lakes man believed to be stranded or injured, lost in the Mazatzal Wilderness Area.
Ronald Hamby, 52, passed through the Payson area on or about Nov. 17, where he camped with his two horses near Doll Baby Ranch. On Nov. 30, Hamby's horses returned to Doll Baby Ranch with no packs or tack and no sign of their owner.
The Gila County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) was contacted the following day and a search effort was organized.
"He came down from Forest Lakes and camped at Doll Baby Ranch. He was on his way to Yuma for the winter," GCSO Sgt. Terry Hudgens said. "According to the caretaker who talked to him, he got up (Nov. 17) and took off from there. Thirteen days after he left, his two horses came back to the ranch."
Hudgens said trackers have been looking for Hamby for three days.
"We've been tracking and it's very difficult tracking in that wilderness," Hudgens said. "We're probably two-thirds of the way from Doll Baby to the Verde river."
A Department of Public Safety helicopter has been transporting the trackers in and out of the rugged wilderness.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's department at (928) 474-2208.