Hiker found dead after fall from rock on outskirts of UC Berkeley campus

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A 24-year-old man was found dead on UC Berkeley campus property Wednesday night after being reported missing by friends earlier in the day.

At about 6:29 p.m., UCPD received a cell-transfer call from the California Highway Patrol informing the police that a missing person had been reported, according to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao. UCPD officers responded to help locate the missing individual and found him about 200 ft. downhill from Grizzly Peak Boulevard to the west, near Signpost 15, Yao said.

“We are looking at the case, and the injury might have been caused by a fall,” Yao said Thursday. “At this point, we have not discovered anything that would indicate foul play.”

According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, the victim was Jonathan Mendiola Urbina of San Pablo, who wandered away from a group of friends and cousins to climb a large rock below the trail. Neither Mendiola Urbina nor any of his companions are affiliated with the campus.

Mendiola Urbina was declared deceased at 7:22 p.m. He had been missing for about one hour when UCPD learned about the incident, Yao said.

However, UCPD Captain Margo Bennett reportedly told Berkeley Patch that Mendiola Urbina had been climbing a rock with several companions while hiking Wednesday evening when he fell. The members of the hiking group told the police they had been intoxicated, according to Patch.

When asked about the role of alcohol in the incident, Yao declined to comment.

Grizzly Peak runs through the Berkeley Hills. The location where Mendiola Urbina was found is in the campus department’s jurisdiction despite being in the city of Oakland, Yao said.

Police are still investigating the case.

“We will conduct a comprehensive, thorough and detailed investigation,” Yao said.

Chloe Hunt covers crime. Contact her at [email protected]