Search underway for missing hiker in El Paso County

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — A man from the Palmer Lake area has been missing since Sunday after telling friends and family he was going on a day hike by himself.

Kevin Rudnicki was heading to the National Forest area near Mount Herman, Raspberry Mountain and Palmer Lake in El Paso County.

Rudnicki set out on the hike about 7:45 a.m. Sunday.

”The only real substantial clue at this point was an eyewitness who knew the individual and saw him about 8:45 Sunday morning,” said Brian Kinsey,  El Paso County search and rescue incident commander.

Rudnicki  told his family he was heading to the popular hiking and biking area, which is roughly an area of 25 square miles.

“As you get up high near the peaks they get pretty rocky and loose. There is a maze of social trails all over this area that are not indicated on the maps,” Kinsey said.

El Paso, Douglas, and Fremont counties search are assisting the U.S. Forest Service to try to find the 20-year-old.

Victoria Scanlon, a friend and former co-worker of Rudnicki’s mom, Melissa, said the family is helping in the search, and they are optimistic.

“Today, she’s been really positive. First thing she said is we are going to find my son today,” Scanlon said.

There are 30 to 40 people searching, including volunteers. Their search continues until sundown.

They intend to start again first thing Wednesday morning if he isn’t found before then.