Body of missing hiker found in Olympic National Park

The body of a 60-year-old Port Angeles man, missing since Christmas Eve, was recovered Sunday in rugged terrain in the northern portion of Olympic National Park.

Searchers, aided by several dog teams, discovered and recovered the body of James Thomas Griffin near the Boulder Creek Trailhead. Griffin was the subject of an intensive five-day search that began Dec. 24.

Griffin’s remains were found by a search dog team in a very steep, rugged and densely forested area about a third of mile and nearly 1,000 vertical feet above the trail, park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said Monday. An investigation showed no indications of foul play or wildlife interactions.

Griffin, 60 years old, was last seen by other hikers about 4 p.m. Dec. 22 at Olympic Hot Springs. A couple told investigators they talked to Griffin at the hot springs. It is believed he tried to hike back to his vehicle in the dark. He was reported missing Dec. 24 when he did not arrive at a Christmas Eve dinner as planned. Griffin was know to frequently hike the trail to the hot springs.

His daypack was found Dec. 25 about 50 feet off the trail and a half-mile from the trailhead. At that time, park officials said it appeared he had taken things out of the pack, including a towel. Despite the five-day search involving more than 20 searchers, friends and several search dog teams, no other clues were located until Sunday.

Maynes said searchers resumed the search for Griffin thanks to favorable weather patterns and conditions over the weekend. The dog teams worked areas beyond the ground searched during the initial search, going beyond the grid search that extended 500 feet in all directions from the location where his daypack was found.

Griffin’s body was transferred to a funeral home late Sunday.

Six dog teams from the all-volunteer group German Shepherd Search Dogs searched on Saturday; two teams searched Sunday.