Previously missing hiker, Nellis airman found dead at Red Rock

Luke Saunders
Luke Saunders(LVMPD)
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 9:04 AM PST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 4:11 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A previously missing hiker was found dead at Red Rock Recreation Area Thursday.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police conducted a rescue operation Jan. 26, which started at about 8 a.m. FOX5 saw a helicopter in the area earlier that morning. LVMPD said the search operations ended just before 5 p.m.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office confirmed Luke Saunders, 22, was found deceased at Red Rock. His cause and manner of death were still pending as of Friday.

Saunders was last seen Jan. 24 while hiking at Red Rock Canyon. Red Rock Search and Rescue and LVMPD had both said they were looking for Saunders.

Nellis Air Force Base spokesperson Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry released the following statement:

We are saddened to confirm the death of Senior Airman Luke Saunders, whose remains were located following an exhaustive search near Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, Jan. 26. Airman Saunders was a model Airman and consummate professional while assigned to the 66th Rescue Generation Squadron and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts are with Airman Saunders’ family, friends and teammates during this difficult time. Nellis Air Force Base leaders are postured to provide every comfort and assistance to our community as we navigate this tragedy together.

Nellis Air Force Base spokesperson Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry

A camper in the area told FOX5 that search and rescue crews told them they believed the hiker had fallen.