California hiker, 22, found dead in wilderness at base of cliff in apparent accident

Officials in Ventura County, California have found the body of a 22-year-old hiker who was reported missing last week.

The body of Zachary Zernik, 22, was found at Boney Mountain State Wilderness on Thursday, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.

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His remains were found at the base of a cliff — and it appears that Zernik died of an accidental fall. 

Photo of Zachary Zernik, a 22-year-old hiker who was found dead Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Boney Mountain State Wilderness.

Photo of Zachary Zernik, a 22-year-old hiker who was found dead Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Boney Mountain State Wilderness.
(Ventura County Sheriff’s Office)

“It is with great sadness we report that at about 9:00 a.m., Zachary Zernik was located deceased in the Boney Mountain State Wilderness Park,” the Ventura County Sheriff Office said Thursday. “His death appears accidental. There is no evidence of crime or foul play.”

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Ventura police are currently awaiting a determination on cause of death.

“The cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiners Office pending an autopsy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.”

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Zernik was last seen Saturday morning by his family. He failed to show up for work on Monday and was declared missing on Wednesday.

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