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College professor's body found in Needles

Missing hiker was associate dean at Cal State Northridge

STAFF WRITER

NEEDLES • After a two-day search by four agencies including Barstow Search and Rescue, the body of a Northridge college professor was found in the Mojave National Preserve on Saturday, according to authorities and published reports.

Darrick Rollin Danta, who had turned 58 on Valentine’s Day, was the Associate Dean for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cal State Northridge according to a report by the university’s student newspaper the Daily Sundial.

News of Danta’s death was relayed via an e-mail from the department, the report said.

At approximately 4:46 p.m. on Friday, deputies from the Colorado River Station responded to Caruthers Canyon in the Mojave National Preserve near Needles in search of Danta, a resident of Northridge.

The search began in the area of New York Mountain Peak, which is located on the northwest side of Caruthers Canyon. Due to conditions and rugged terrain, efforts were suspended at midnight and resumed at the following daybreak, according to officials.

On Saturday just after 10:20 a.m., the Sheriff’s Department Aviation Division located Danta’s body at an elevation of roughly 6,800 feet near the mountain summit.

Sheriff’s aviation transported members of the Colorado River Station to the scene where Danta’s body was recovered, according to officials.

In addition to the Sheriff’s aviation and search and rescue teams from Barstow and the Colorado River Station, National Park Service Rangers also assisted with the search.

The cause of death is under investigation. Foul play does not appear to be a factor, officials said.

Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.


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