Los Angeles

Missing UCLA Grad Student Killed in Avalanche

A 25-year-old UCLA student who went missing after going hiking about 200 miles north of Los Angeles earlier this month was killed in an avalanche, Inyo County Coroner's officials said.

Michael David Myers, a physics student, was last seen Nov. 4. His body was found southwest of Mt. Whitney in an area called the John Muir Wilderness on Saturday, according to the Inyo County Coroner's office.

His friend, Peicheng Yu, said the last time he saw Myers, the hiker was showing him where he was planning to go on his excursion to Mount Whitney in Inyo County.

Yu said Myers showed him a live webcam site showing snowed-in, cloud-shrouded mountains. Myers reassured his friend he would be totally prepared when Yu said it looked dangerous. After five days, Yu didn't hear from his friend.

When Myers didn't show up the weekend of Nov. 14 for an important project meeting in Georgia, Yu and his colleagues took action.

With the permission of Myers' family, they hacked into their colleague's laptop. His search history indicated he was planning a possible "off-road" foray into the nearby Mojave Desert.

The Inyo County Sheriff's Department conducted a search for Myers. The clues they had included a gasoline, water and protein bar purchase on Myers' credit card on Nov. 5.

Sheriff's officials said Myers' vehicle was found abandoned on a side road near the entrance to the Mount Whitney trail days later.

Myers' body was located on Saturday and the Inyo County Coroner's Office confirmed on Monday that he was killed in an avalanche.

Yu said Myers was passionate, and dedicated to the plasma physics project they're working on at UCLA.

UCLA issued the following statement: "The entire UCLA community is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Minnesota native Michael Meyers, a graduate student studying physics at UCLA. UCLA was notified of this tragic loss by law enforcement in Inyo County this past weekend. We join together in offering our deepest condolences to all of Michael's family and friends. UCLA counseling resources are being offered to all of those impacted in our campus community."

The cause of death was under investigation.

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