Missing Man Found By Quad Riders


Two men riding ATVs on Bloody Basin Road Saturday found the man search and rescue crews spent most of last week looking for.

Ronald Hamby was treated for dehydration and starvation, and released from a Phoenix area hospital, Gila County Sheriff's Sgt. Terry Hudgens said.

Hamby, 52, of Forest Lakes, was on his way to Yuma on horseback when he stopped to camp overnight near Doll Baby Ranch. A caretaker called the sheriff's office when Hamby's two horses returned to the ranch 13 days later, with no tack and no sign of their owner.

Tonto Rim Search and Rescue trackers spent last week combing through the rugged Mazatzal Wilderness Area looking for the missing man.

"Our trackers tracked him across the entire Mazatzal wilderness all the way to the Verde river," Hudgens said. "They did come across all of his gear, where he had stripped all the tack off the horses and left his rifle. He took off walking from there."

Hudgens said Hamby went across the river where he slept overnight.

"They tracked him about two miles into Yavapai County late Friday afternoon," Hudgens said. "They stopped there, because it's way out of our jurisdiction."

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office was notified that searchers believed Hamby was somewhere in the area.

"Some ATVers recognized him as the man we were looking for," Hudgens said. "They found him at the Tango Creek Forest Service admin site -- he was in pretty bad shape."

Hamby was just off a well-traveled stretch of Bloody Basin road, which comes out on Interstate 17.

"The closest settlements are Seven Springs and Cave Creek," Hudgens said.

Hamby was flown to a Valley hospital.

"Apparently, he'd been sitting there for a week or two, making no effort to catch a ride," Hudgens said. "Vehicles drive by there fairly often. I don't know what was going through his mind."

Hamby told the Department of Public Safety pilot who transported him that he had run out of water and decided to turn his horses loose so they could find food and water.

Hudgens said he does not know why Hamby made the choices he did, but that medications found in his pack are used for treating mental illness.

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