2 missing Idyllwild hikers have La Jolla connections

Missing hiker Lydia "Dia" Abrams is a former La Jolla resident.

Two of six hikers who have gone missing in the Idyllwild area of Riverside County in recent months have connections to La Jolla.

La Jolla resident Kendra Johnson’s father, Pine Cove resident Roy Prifogle, was reported missing March 4. Former La Jolla resident Lydia “Dia” Abrams was reported missing June 7 from Mountain Center. Both are from communities in the mountainous Idyllwild area, about 115 miles northeast of La Jolla.

“These missing persons do not appear to be connected to each other and are being looked at as separate incidents,” said Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Correctional Sgt. Deanna Pecoraro. “Any missing person is a concern of the Sheriff’s Department, and our duty is to locate and bring them home safely. We continue to search for them. We are asking the public to assist us, and if they see and/or know of the whereabouts of these missing persons, to immediately call their local law enforcement agency.”

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at (800) 950-2444.

According to the Idyllwild Town Crier, officials searched for Prifogle with 150 volunteers for six days and only found his backpack.

Missing hiker Roy Prifogle has family in La Jolla.

Local relatives of the missing people could not be reached for comment.

In March, Johnson posted to Facebook: “Before the search was put on hold for [a] storm, they found his backpack in the woods. The backpack was found far off the Webster trail in the brush and it was sitting as if it was placed and it was intact and all of the pockets were zipped up. Inside the backpack was his phone, his fire hat, some snacks and an empty juice bottle. By the smell of the juice bottle it seemed that he had a separate bottle for water. ... They looked through the phone and they found some pictures of a creek (they aren’t sure which creek) that he took ... the day he went missing. That is all we know.”

In the search for Abrams, the Town Crier reported, the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit examined her ranch for clues to her whereabouts and the next day looked in the “more difficult” areas that surround the property.

According to the community’s website, Idyllwild is “nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains. Set among tall pines, sweet-smelling cedars and legendary rocks … Idyllwild has perfect day hikes for the quick weekend hike, as well as the high country for the longer ‘overnight’ hiking journeys. … Idyllwild gives way to many exciting and diverse mountain trails that provide hikers majestic views and breathtaking scenery.”

The area also is “one of the reputable places where the sport of rock climbing took its hold” and has landmarks called Tahquitz and Suicide rocks.

“If you are in the mood to climb but don’t have the experience, gear or bravery of heights, you will also find ‘bouldering’ a nice alternative,” the website states. “The term bouldering refers to climbing boulders to learn skills that are used in rock climbing. The nice thing about bouldering is that many rocks are only several feet off the ground and falling is less of a tragedy.”

In addition to Prifogle and Abrams, Rosario Garcia and Melissa Lane are still missing. Two other hikers, Venessa Vlasek and Jade Kemerer, temporarily went missing but have been found. ◆