Search intensifies for missing father, son in Echo Lake area

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — The search for a father and son hiking in the Colorado high country intensified Monday.

Crews are focusing their efforts in the Echo Lake area off Highway 103 in Clear Creek County, between Idaho Springs and Mount Evans.

The missing hikers — Damian McManus, 51, and his son, Evan McManus, 18 — are from St. Louis Park, Minn., and were on a father-and-son spring break trip. Search and rescue teams are scouring the area searching for the men.

kwgnmapThe wife and mother of the hikers, Katherine McManus, arrived in Denver on Monday and was set to meet with a victim’s advocate in Idaho Springs.

Katherine McManus and her daughter Lauren, Evan’s twin, went to Mexico for spring break, while Damian and Evan McManus went to Colorado, KARE-TV in Minneapolis reported.

“We became really worried when we got off the plane from Mexico (Monday) afternoon and she still hadn’t heard anything from Damian. We tried texting them and calling them and both of their phones were dead,” family friend Andrea Bouzrara, who was on the Mexico trip, told KARE.

Bouzrara said Damian McManus has survival and orienteering skills from his military background in England.

The search began Sunday afternoon but was called off at sunset. The father and son were last seen in Lakewood on Wednesday and were supposed to return to Minnesota over the weekend. The last transaction on Damian McManus’ credit card was for breakfast at a Lakewood Denny’s on Wednesday morning, KARE reported.

Search and rescue teams say Echo Lake is a very large area with a number of trails. About two dozen people and a team in a helicopter are helping with the search. Buckley Air Force Base also pledged a helicopter for additional air support. Steep terrain and weather will pose a challenge.

Evan’s girlfriend in Minnesota first alerted family members when she did not have contact with Evan after they had set out on the hike, KARE reported. The two had spoken numerous times during the trip up to that point.

A Facebook page has been set up in the search for the two.