Missing hiker makes contact with family, search is suspended

CREATED Mar 4, 2013

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Web Producer: Mekita RivasIna RonquilloTaylor Higgins

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Deputy Tom Peine with the Pima County Sheriff's Department tells KGUN9 that the missing hiker, 31-year-old Jason Bruscha, has made contact with his uncle and says that he is okay. 

Search and Rescue crews have suspended the search, but medical personnel will evaluate Bruscha to make sure he is in fact in good medical condition, according to Peine. 

Deputies began searching for Bruscha Sunday night after his uncle called 9-1-1 to report that his nephew hadn't returned from a sightseeing trip that began at around 8:30 a.m. in the Catalina State Park, Peine said.

Bruscha came to Arizona from Michigan to visit his uncle in Oro Valley.

Oro Valley Police notified the Pima County Sheriff's Department Search & Rescue Unit that Bruscha was reported missing at approximately 9:00 p.m. Sunday. The Sheriff's Air Unit surveyed the area using Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR), but did not find Bruscha.  Volunteers with the Southern Arizona Search & Rescue Association (SARA) and Southern Arizona Mounted Search & Rescue (SAMSAR) also assisted, Peine said.  They actively searched the area until approximately 3:00 a.m. this morning.

Early today, search efforts resumed.

Volunteers with SARA, SAMSAR and the Southern Arizona Rescue Dogs, Inc. (SARDI) were involved in the search.

Pinal County Sheriff's Department, Border Patrol's BORSTAR Unit, as well as Arizona DPS Air Rescue and Customs & Border Protection also assisted with helicopters.

It is still unknown what kind of provisions Bruscha may have taken with him. His cell phone was 
found at his uncle's house.

Bruscha is described as a Caucasian male with brown hair and brown eyes, 5'10" tall, weighing approximately 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, khaki shorts and running shoes.

KGUN 9 On Your Side will continue to update this story. Stay with us.