Missing man located in Payson Canyon; told searchers he wanted ‘time alone’

Daniel Kory Walker is located after he was reported missing in Payson Canyon. Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Office

PAYSON CANYON, Utah, July 31, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Missing man Daniel Kory Walker was located Sunday in Payson Canyon after he left for a hike on Friday.

“At about 8:40 this morning, Daniel Kory Walker flagged down a motorist and got a ride to the command post,” says a statement issued by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

“He was weak from not eating or drinking for nearly 45 hours, but was otherwise OK.”

Walker, 52, told searchers he needed time to himself.

“Daniel told rescuers he needed to clear his mind and said he wasn’t avoiding searchers but wanted time alone,” the statement says.

Daniel Kory Walker is located after he was reported missing in Payson Canyon. Photo: Utah County Sheriff’s Office

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Utah County Sheriff’s spokesman, said adults are allowed to go on multi-day hikes to clear their minds and enjoy solitude, of course.

“There’s nothing against the law with getting lost … but let someone know, at least,” he said. “And then people wouldn’t worry. He didn’t do that. And we understand the need for the solitude and clearing your mind, but we would strongly recommend that you go about doing it a different way than he did.”

Leaving without water, food, and other life-sustaining items also put Walker at risk, Cannon said.

Search crews gather after Daniel Kory Walker is located in Payson Canyon. Photo: Utah County Sheriff’s Office

“He would have been better off if he’d just taken half a dozen bottles of water with him — or a filter or some way to purify water — and food. He had nothing to eat, nothing to drink for the better part of 45 hours.”

Cannon said everyone was happy to have Walker back safe, but alerting someone to his plan could have saved time and effort for the 75 or so people involved in the search for him.

Search and rescue crews talk with officials in a DPS helicopter on Saturday, July 30, 2022. Photo: Utah County Sheriff’s Office

Walker suspected at some point that searchers might be looking for him, Cannon said. Walker told officials he waved at airborne searchers, but crews did not see him among the trees.

Cannon said it’s not likely Walker will face any charges in the case.

“We’re just glad that he’s OK. He still has things going on in his life, but physically he’s gonna be OK.”

Cannon expressed thanks to the agencies and volunteer groups involved in the search, including the Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau, search and rescue groups from Davis, Utah and Juab counties, Rocky Mountain Rescue dogs, Great Basin K-9s, the Utah County Sheriff VIPS, and the UCSO Mounted Posse.

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