Khayman “Khay” Welch, 25, was last seen on August 12, 2020, walking southeast from the parking area at Weaver’s Needle Vista Viewpoint near State Route 88 in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona at approximately 7:15p.
“Khay” was working with his uncle doing AC work at Tortilla Flat that day. On their way home, they stopped at the Weaver’s Needle Vista. Khay told his uncle he wanted to get a better view of the sunset and walked South East from the parking lot towards Weaver’s Needle. Image by Strange Outdoors
Weaver Needle Vista Trail is a 6.4 km moderately trafficked loop trail. It is not in a remote wilderness area.
Khayman was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with a “Ghost Busters” image, black jeans, Army-style boots; his hair style was perceived as a “buzz” haircut and has full tattoo sleeves on both arms.
The Tonto National Forest, encompassing 2,873,200 acres (1,162,700 ha; 11,627 km2), is the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and is the fifth largest national forest in the United States. It is the most visited “urban” forest in the United States. The forest has diverse scenery, with elevations ranging from 1,400 feet (427 m) in the Sonoran Desert to 7,400 feet (2,256 m) in the Ponderosa Pine Forests of the Mogollon Rim (pronounced MOH-gee-on, or MUH-gee-own). The boundaries of the Tonto National Forest are the Phoenix metropolitan area to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian Reservation to the east.
Search efforts were conducted in the surrounding area where Khay was last seen. Search-and-Rescue (SAR) teams searched the surrounding Weaver’s Needle Vista, to the east of State Route 88. Search teams deployed on foot and included tracker dogs, horseback riders, drones, and even helicopters with infrared cameras. Volunteers and friends of “Khay” searched the west side of State Route 88 in early-mid October; SAR teams walked the area but a focused search effort was not conducted west of SR 88.
Possible routes “Khay” may have traveled toward includes the First Water / Hackberry Spring area, or perhaps even into nearby canyons, such as La Barge, Battleship and Boulder Canyon.
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