The Alameda County Coroner's Office has confirmed that a body found in a wilderness area was that of a Palo Alto man who went missing while hiking in the the Sunol Regional Wilderness in unincorporated Alameda County on Wednesday.
Irwin "Don" Meyers, 70, died from multiple blunt trauma injuries related to an accident, most likely a fall, according to the coroner's office.
A search had been underway for Meyers, a Midtown Palo Alto resident who was reported missing at 6:50 p.m. Wednesday, after he didn't return from a hike, East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said. Rescue crews searched the area until about 2 a.m., then resumed searching at daylight.
The body was spotted by East Bay Regional Park District rescue crews from the district's helicopter. An arm was seen from the helicopter, sticking out from a rock outcropping or a cave, Jones said. Alameda County Coroner deputies are at the Maguire Peak area Thursday afternoon to identify the body and begin an investigation.
The area is steep, rugged and remote. The body was found near the top of the peak. It appeared that Meyers had gone off the trail, Jones said.
"It was one of his favorite places," she added.
More than 40 personnel from multiple agencies, including East Bay Regional Park District Police, East Bay Regional Park District Fire Department, East Bay Regional Park District Rangers, East Bay Regional Park District Search and Rescue, Alameda County Fire, Alameda County Search and Rescue, San Francisco Water Department Rangers and the California Highway Patrol were involved in the search.
"It's a difficult area because it is so steep. There are a lot of ravines. They were going over the area by foot and off trail and with rescue dogs. The coroner was taken up there via helicopter," Jones said.
There appears to be no evidence of foul play, Jones said.
Meyers has two grown children and lived with his longtime partner. He was in excellent physical shape, Jones added. He is also survived by a sister, his son said.
He was an employee at Abilities United, where he worked as a home companion in the respite program, his manager Soheila Razban said. Meyers joined Abilities United and worked with developmentally disabled adults and their families. He joined the organization in May 2013.
"He was such a vibrant gentleman -- very, very gentle and very sincere. He really really loved his job. It was important to him to a positive impact and quality of live for the people he was serving," she said.
Meyers also went above and beyond his regular work to bring comfort to his clients, both current and past. He started a hiking group for clients, she said.
When an older man required nursing home care and services that Abilities United does not provide, Meyers found him a top-notch facility that could cater to the man's specific needs, she said. And although the man was no longer a client of Abilities United, Meyers continued to visit him because he understood that continuity is important for someone with Alzheimer's disease, she said.
Meyers was a former volunteer with the Vista Center for the Blind, where he volunteered between 2012 and 2013, Alice McGrath, Vista Center's community relations manager, said.
"Don worked with our clients as a volunteer by delivering CCTVs, closed circuit televisions, which are used to magnify print and pictures. We have a loaner program at Vista center, and Don delivered the equipment, set it up and helped the clients learn how to use the device," McGrath said.
"He was a very, very sweet man, very gentle. He was a compassionate person and often spent time just visiting with the client after the equipment was set up to make sure they were all set. Don served as a volunteer for about one year before other job opportunities took up his time," she said.
McGrath said she remembered talking to Meyers about his love of the outdoors.
"I remember he said he used to do these trips once a year. He did some pretty exotic backpacking," she said.