Expert Hiker Found Dead at Bottom of Appalachian Trail Embankment 5 Days After Going Missing

Joelle Goldstein

An experienced hiker who recently embarked on a “short trip” through a Pennsylvania trail was tragically found dead this week, just days after he was reported missing by his family.

Pennsylvania authorities discovered Michael Kaiser’s body at the bottom of a 30-foot embankment on Thursday in an area known as Bear Rocks, according to WPVI-TV.

The tragic discovery in Lehigh County was made just five days after Kaiser’s brother had reported him missing to police.

Kaiser, 56, initially began in his expected two-day hike on the Appalachian Trail last Friday, according to a Facebook post by Allentown Hiking Club.

The following day, he communicated with his brother via cell phone, sending him photos from Bear’s Rocks, WPVI-TV reports. His cell phone also pinged from that area on Sunday, but had not shown any signal since, according to the Facebook post.

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After not hearing from the hiker, Kaiser’s brother became worried and went to the Bristol Township Police Department on Tuesday to report him missing.

Kaiser’s Ford F-150 was eventually located by authorities on Wednesday near where he had last been in contact with his family, according to WPVI-TV.

Just one day later, local officials discovered Kaiser’s body around 12:30 p.m. at the bottom of the embankment.

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Pennsylvania State Police told the outlet that they believe there is no danger to the public and his death appeared to be an accident, though it was unclear if Kaiser had fallen or it was medical-related.

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Kaiser’s death came as a surprise for those who knew him, according to the Allentown Hiking Club, who explained that he “had no pertinent medical or psychological history” and was “an experienced hiker.”

In the wake of the tragedy, the Kaiser family’s spokesperson, Suzanne Goss, issued a statement to WPVI-TV.

“The family would like to thank all that volunteered, shared social media posts and helped out in the search,” she said of the father of four. “Michael loved this area. This is a good place.”