Officials say no charges expected in Boy Scout hiking death

PHOENIX (AP) — No charges are expected after a 16-year-old Boy Scout died while on a troop hiking trip in the Arizona desert, authorities said May 3.

Investigators looking into the death at Picacho Peak State Park last Saturday don’t expect to file a criminal case, Pinal County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Navideh Forghani said.

She said there were two adults leading a small group of Scouts on a hike at the park in southern Arizona that features distinctive 1,500-foot (457-meter) Picacho Peak.

Sheriff’s officials say the hikers had water when they left, but ran out at the top of the trail. The boy showed signs of extreme dehydration and died on the way down. It remained unclear if the lack of water led to the boy’s death or if he had some other medical issue.

The hikers called 911 but the boy was unconscious by the time a park ranger arrived. Two adults and one child were also evaluated by paramedics for exhaustion, but did not need to be taken to a hospital, officials said.

Authorities have not released the teen’s name, but an online obituary says he was a member of the junior varsity football team at Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear, a suburb west of Phoenix. A memorial service was scheduled for May 10.

Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the park by several hiking trails that offer spectacular desert views, as well as by seas of wildflowers that explode in Picacho Peak’s shadow each spring.

It was unknown which trail the Scout was on when he began feeling ill, but the most difficult is the 2-mile (3.22 kilometer) Hunter Trail that goes to the top of the peak, climbing a steep and twisting route with steel cables anchored into bare rock surfaces.

Andy Price, CEO of the Boy Scouts’ Grand Canyon Council, released a statement saying the organization is saddened by the teen’s death and is providing support for the family and the scouting community.

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