Family finds body of missing Anchorage hiker

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Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 12:27 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The body of an Anchorage hiker whose disappearance prompted a multi-day search has been found.

According to the Anchorage Police Department dispatch, Juan Toscano’s family informed police around 9 p.m. Friday that they were able to locate the 28-year-old.

“I can’t even understand what’s happening, I’m just in shock,” said Itzel Toscano, Juan’s younger sister, from the Basher Trailhead early Saturday morning. “It truly is something where we really appreciate all of our friends and family for being here and for helping us get an answer even though it’s not what we wanted.”

Juan was last heard from on Tuesday when he went hiking along the Basher Trail. Rescue groups conducted extensive searches in the area of trail on Wednesday and Thursday, but were unsuccessful.

Family members didn’t give up hope they would find Juan, continuing to search through Friday.

“We were told that no one was going to come out unless we found more signs, more clues that he was out here. It was essentially put back on us to put in the work and unfortunately for close friends and family to see him in that state,” Itzel said.

Corey Aist of Alaska Search and Rescue said cellphone pings showed Toscano’s phone near the South Fork of Campbell Creek, close to Campbell Creek Gorge. But officials were hesitant to get too close to the creek, according to Itzel. She said one of her brother’s friends walked along the river and found him. The body has not been recovered as of early Saturday morning.

“We had rescue teams out here but they kept saying that they couldn’t go down there because it was too unsafe,” Itzel said. “A friend of ours went down there who’s untrained, inexperienced, doesn’t have the resources, and that friend is who was able to get us answers because they just wanted it enough.”

Itzel described her brother as a joyful person who “enjoyed life to the fullest” and loved going fishing in Alaska.

“We just ask everyone to continue to keep our family in their prayers and if you knew Juan you knew that he was easy to love. Please continue to talk about him, allow him to live through you.”

Supporters of Juan Toscano's family gather in prayer at the Basher Trailhead after the...
Supporters of Juan Toscano's family gather in prayer at the Basher Trailhead after the 28-year-old's body was discovered on Friday, June 2, 2023.(Luke Patrick/KTUU)

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.