Family of Missing Arizona Hiker at a Loss After Two Weeks of Searching

by Amy Myers
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

On the morning of September 30, a 63-year-old hiker went missing from a Granite Basin Campground in Yavapai County, Arizona. Two weeks into the search, the family of Jeff Stambaugh is pleading to the public for information.

Since her brother went missing, Pam Chambers feels that time has stopped, and the fact that there are no new developments in his search only makes the days pass that much slower.

“It’s been a lot of restless nights and it’s tough,” she said, per NBC affiliate 12 News.

Chambers continued,”It’s really tough. It’s hard to believe there isn’t a sign or trace of him when they’ve done all that they’ve done. The helicopters, the people, the drones, the dogs, search parties every day, where is he?”

According to Chambers, Stambaugh is an avid and experienced hiker. In fact, the reason the 63-year-old moved to Arizona was for its extensive and intoxicating wilderness. Initially, he grew up on the East Coast, but for 30 years, he’s been living in the Copper State.

At the time of his disappearance, he had set up shop at Arizona’s Yavapai Campground. That same day, he gave his phone to the camp host so that it could charge, but he never came back to retrieve it.

“We’ve been staying very close to our phones and computers,” Chambers said.

Arizona Police Have Exhausted Multiple Search Methods

Of course, Chambers and her family have been working closely with Arizona police to look for any sign of her brother.

“We have a lot of faith in the sheriff’s department that’s been doing all the leg work for us,” said Stambaugh’s brother-in-law, Scott Chambers. “They’ve had helicopters, the drones, the dogs, people on horseback.”

Along with multiple police agencies, more than 300 Arizona residents have joined the search efforts, scouring the region for the missing hiker. According to Chambers, one group even covered 12 miles in a day. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office even sent a remotely-operated vehicle controller into a nearby lake.

“Mr. Stambaugh had made a reservation at the Yavapai campground from, I believe, the 26th through the 29th,” said Heidi Howard, the Public Information Officer with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. 

Howard reported that officials located Stambaugh’s Subaru at the Metate trailhead.

“There’s a ton of trails out there, so the guys have been hiking and the women have been hiking as many trails as they possibly can,” she said.

The Search Will Continue for the Missing Hiker

Still, there have been no hints, no fragments of evidence to point to the Arizona hiker’s possible location. But Chambers assured that the search is far from over.

“We are determined to get answers,” she said. “Absolutely that is the main goal. We don’t give up easily. We are definitely out there, we have manpower out there, and we have 1,000 hours dedicated to this search already. The deputies re-checked some of the heat signatures that were identified by the drone flights, so that’s the plan for this weekend.”

The concerned sister urged folks headed towards the area to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary.

“They had already put in 12 days of searching, so they’re planning on getting a group together Sunday, so if you go out, we’re just begging for help, because time is running out,” both Pam and Scott said.

Anyone with information regarding Stambaugh’s disappearance should call YCSO (928)-771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.