A California high school student’s body was discovered in the wilderness after they had gone to take measurements for a class project. Dante de la Torre, a 16-year-old Colfax High School student, was last seen Wednesday afternoon when he went into a wooded area near Interstate 80, People reports. “Dante went to the Gold Run rest stop area for a school project around 12:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon,” police said in a statement Thursday. “He has had no contact with friends or family since then.”
A boyhood friend told CBS affiliate KOVR that “he had to get dirt for a science project.” The police discovered that the teen had allegedly packed, “water bottles, a hand towel or small shovel, and snow boots.” Multiple civilian search parties expressed interest in joining the search in the wilderness. However, police issued a second statement urging the public to leave the operation to them. “While we appreciate the offer to help, this will only impede our search,” the police explained on social media.
“We currently have over three-dozen specially trained searchers and K9s who specialize in scent detection looking for Dante,” they continued. “If the public begins searching the area, there is a likelihood our K9s will lose Dante’s scent, impacting our search for him. We thank our community for their understanding.” The teen was found dead hours later.
The remote wilderness the teen was found in was unfamiliar to many
“It is with a heavy heart we are updating the community that 16-year-old Dante de la Torre was found deceased this afternoon. [He was] in a remote wooded area near the Gold Run Rest Stop,” police wrote in a statement. The police have not yet released a cause of death. However, they have said that there is no indication of foul play. His body will be examined by a coroner. “We offer our condolences to the de la Torre family and Dante’s friends during this unbelievably tragic time,” police added.
The remote wilderness where the teen was found is unfamiliar to many. This is according to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office who spoke with CBS station KOVR. “There’s varying terrain, steep terrain, rough terrain but it’s heavily wooded,” Angela Musallam explained. On Wednesday evening, temperatures were close to freezing.
On Thursday, the Placer Union High School District issued a statement. They wrote they were “heartbroken” to learn of the student’s death. “Such tragedies, especially when they involve young people, are very difficult to process. Chaplains and additional District Counseling staff will be on the Colfax High School campus to provide support to our students and staff as they deal with this devastating news,” school officials wrote. “Please join us in keeping Dante’s family, friends, and the Colfax community in your thoughts during this difficult time.”