A body was discovered in the Pleasanton park area Tuesday where 37-year-old Berkeley resident Philip Kreycik went missing over three weeks ago. Pleasanton police say that the body, while not yet confirmed to be that of Kreycik, was found 250 feet from a game trail.
The baffling saga of Kreycik's disappearance reaches some closure today, after the Bay Area has followed headlines for 24 days since he went for a run on July 10 and did not come back. All signs pointed to Kreycik still being in the area, with his wallet, cellphone, and keys left behind in his car in a nearby parking lot, but the work of Pleasanton police, Alameda County sheriff's deputies, drones, a heat-seeking plane, trained search dogs, and hundreds of volunteers had still come up short day after day.
Pleasanton police and Alameda deputies gave a news conference late Tuesday to deliver the news that human remains were found under a tree, 250 yards off of a trail about a quarter mile from where Kreycik was believed to have been running. The theory that he perished from heatstroke in the 106-degree heat of July 10 seems to hold true, though an autopsy and investigation will hopefully reveal more.
Sgt. Ray Kelly with the sheriff's office said of Kreycik's family, "They deserve those answers," per ABC 7.
As the Chronicle reports, authorities are still trying to determine if the area where Kreycik was found had already been searched by volunteers or police.
Capt. Lance Brede with the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department said Tuesday that the area was a good distance from where investigators believed Kreycik should have turned around on his planned running route, and it's near a "game trail" that is "not something that someone would come across" during normal recreation in the area.
Kreycik's friend and frequent running partner, Chris Thoburn, theorized during an Ask Me Anything last week that Kreycik had likely become delusional due to heatstroke and was perhaps alive and still wandering the area when the search for him began on July 11.
"Irrational decision making is probably the most common heat symptom I've observed," Thoburn said. "Things like running the same 50' section of trail back-and-forth during a race, or choosing to retrace steps for miles instead of continuing a short distance forward to safety."
Despite being an experienced runner, Thoburn said, Kreycik was not adapted to the heat that he would have experienced that day, and he was more accustomed to the more temperate, bay side of the East Bay ridge line.
As recently as Saturday, when Pleasanton police and Alameda deputies officially picked up the search effort again, no leads had been found. Kreycik's wife, Jen Yao, said at a news conference, "We are all baffled that we haven’t found anything yet. Not even a trace, like a piece of clothing or a shoelace or anything."
Pleasanton police later said they had searched every possible place where Kreycik could be in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.
On the Facebook group where volunteers and interested parties have been trading information, admin Allison Rogers wrote Tuesday, "Although we don't have further information at this time, we first wanted to post a heartfelt THANK YOU again to our first responders and the hundreds of volunteers in our community -- on the ground in Pleasanton and literally around the world -- who came together over the last few weeks and have given so much of their time, energy, support, and love in this search."
Photo via Facebook