The Clark County coroner’s office confirmed Wednesday that a body found at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Tuesday is that of a hiker reported missing two days earlier.
The coroner’s office said a cause and manner of death for the hiker, Ronnie Lucas Jr., 33, of Las Vegas, was pending.
The recovery of the body ended a frantic, days-long search for Lucas. He went on a day hike Sunday but didn’t return home as planned. Before the sun set on Sunday he texted family saying he was off-track and attempting to get back to his vehicle. A comprehensive search was initiated Sunday night by the volunteer group Red Rock Search & Rescue. That search continued all day Monday with the help of Las Vegas police.
By Tuesday private helicopters and a cadre of concerned citizens were assisting in the search. A car belonging to Lucas was still in the same spot near a pull-off on the side of state Route 159. The search had focused around the Middle Oak Creek Trail area. His sister, Karsta Lucas, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal Tuesday night what Las Vegas police told her family earlier in the evening: that the body spotted by a helicopter was that of her brother.
Karsta Lucas thanked the Las Vegas public for their assistance in trying to find her brother, who was a diabetic and had no supplies or medicine with him to endure two nights in windy, near freezing conditions.
If there is “anything we can take away from this, when a person in our community was in trouble, Las Vegas banded together, and they treated us as if we were family to them,” she said. “That means the world to us.”
An outpouring of grief, love and remembrances were posted on a Facebook page belonging to Ronnie Lucas.
“Ronnie Lucas you will never know how much i loved you and how great of a friend family member and dad u were to my nephew Seth,” wrote poster Brandee Burns.
Another poster, Pamela Ryan Stephens, posted:
“RIP Ronnie. You where one of the greatest guys. The love you had for Seth is unbreakable. Your love for that little boy will be with him forever. I’m blessed you were part of our family.”
Much of the search for Lucas was organized by the all-volunteer Red Rock Search & Rescue with the help of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search and Rescue team. Donald Moore, incident commander for Red Rock Search & Rescue, praised police, all the volunteers and Skyline Helicopters of North Las Vegas, which provided at no charge the helicopters used in Tuesday’s search.