Police have 'pretty much 100% covered' area where missing California runner could be as search enters fourth week
UPDATE: A body matching the description of missing runner Philip Kreycik was recovered in Pleasanton, California, Pleasanton police said at a press conference shortly before 5 p.m. Local time on Tuesday evening. Lieutenant Erik Silacci said a citizen found the body in a remote area about 250 feet from a path in the northern part of the ridge.
The body has not yet been clearly identified and the cause of death is unknown.
The Pleasanton Police Department and the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department are on hand to investigate and recover any pertinent evidence.
The location the body was found is part of the East Bay Regional Park District jurisdiction and is about a quarter of a mile outside of Philips' intended route.
"Our thoughts go with the Kreycik family and we are focused on helping them through this difficult time," said Pleasanton police.
This is an ongoing investigation and anyone who may have seen Philip Kreycik on the day of his disappearance is encouraged to contact the Pleasanton Police Department at (925) 931-5107.
After nearly a month of searching for avid runner Philip Kreycik, police say they have "pretty much 100 percent covered" in and around Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park the Berkeley, California father might be .
The news came over the weekend as Pleasanton police resumed their official search for the 37-year-old PG&E analyst, who has been missing since his escape on July 10, 2021.
"We pretty much covered 100% of where he could have been, should have been, or would likely show up," Pleasanton's lieutenant Chris Niederhaus told the press on Saturday at a local high school where volunteer search teams had gathered .
On Saturday, police from 17 Bay Area authorities combed the many trails and canyons throughout the park. They pulled in GPS data from various search teams to make sure every location was searched - including an area around Tejan Creek, which the lieutenant said came from a new theory.
Local runners told police that it is not uncommon for runners or hikers to often get off the trail due to the heat and take a shortcut through the thick scrub to get back to their cars. On the day Philip went missing, temperatures reached 106 degrees.
Earlier that morning, Jen Yao's devoted husband and father of two young children, a three-year-old boy and an eleven-month-old girl, left their Berkeley home and told his wife that he was going to run some errands and then go for an hour's run at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park before meeting his family at Jen's parents' home in Stockton later that day.
But he never made it.
Jen told Dateline it was 10:45 am when she received a text from her husband. He had parked his car in the Möller Trail staging area in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park in the East Bay Area. Philip told her he was going to do a quick 8 mile run and that his ETA to Stockton would be 12:35 p.m.
As that time came and went, Jen began to worry. She checked his GPS location on his phone and was puzzled to find that he was still in Pleasanton.
"I thought okay, maybe he was a little late, but he should have been in Stockton by now," Jen said. “So I checked his status. Every 10 minutes. And called him. Written. And nothing. It's not like him at all. "
At 2 p.m. Jen called the Pleasanton police and reported her husband missing.
The officers responded to the trailhead of the Moller Trail staging area in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park that afternoon and found Philips' vehicle undisturbed in a parking lot. His cell phone and wallet were under the driver's seat.
Jen told Dateline that it was normal for her husband to leave his things in the car while he was walking, especially when it's that short. She added that he was wearing a watch but it did not have GPS functionality.
Extensive searches by police forces and volunteer groups lasted days and weeks. After about two weeks, the search was canceled by the police. Volunteers and fellow hikers and runners continued their efforts, contributed to the search for the soil and founded the Facebook group "Find Philip Kreycik", which quickly reached 12,000 members.
Last week, Philips friend and fellow traveler Chris Thoburn shared new details on the Facebook page. He said surveillance cameras at a UPS store where Philip was dropping a package showed him entering and exiting the parking lot, and traffic cameras and the car's FastTrak also tracked him to the staging area in the park.
In the Post, Thoburn speculated that heat exhaustion was taking its toll. Jen told Dateline that she remembered telling her husband to have water and sunscreen that day, but it's unclear if he had both with him.
"Philip was NOT thermally adapted," Thoburn wrote. “He lived on the Oakland-Berkeley border and spent most of his training on the bay side of the ridge. That means he rarely ran in temperatures above 80 and ran mornings and evenings (where he usually had time) in his 50s or 60s.
Hundreds of posters now line the pathways of the park, which spans a large area of rugged and steep terrain, and the streets surrounding it, as well as the neighboring cities of Dublin, Fremont and Castro Valley.
Last week, Sgt. Marty Billdt said an official search was resumed after Pleasanton police checked the GPS coordinates of the previously searched locations to investigate new areas.
Search teams were again deployed with members of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. Search dogs, drones, helicopters and an airplane with advanced thermal imaging were used as part of the searches.
Teams focused on remote areas of Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park over the weekend but found no new traces or signs of Philip.
"Today the search for Philip Kreycik continued when a number of teams were deployed in the Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park," the police said on Twitter on Saturday. "Unfortunately, no significant evidence was found in the area."
Philip's family say they are amazed they haven't found anything yet.
"It's strange we didn't find anything," said Jen. "Not even a trace, like a piece of clothing or a shoelace or something."
Jen and Philip have been married for four years and have two children together. He holds degrees from Harvard and MIT and is an energy efficiency analyst for Pacific Gas and Electric.
"He's got a lot of joy in his life," Jen told Dateline. “He's a good man who lives by his values. He challenges everyone he knows to be the best. He simply brings people together - even now when he is missing. "
Jen describes her husband as someone who is not only an avid runner and physically strong, but who is also mentally strong.
"He doesn't make rash decisions - he's a very level-headed person and thinks everything through," she said, adding that he runs ultra marathons and has extensive wilderness experience, so he may have ventured further than where the crews are Looking for.
In a post on the Alameda County Sheriff's Bureau Facebook page, Sgt. Ray Kelly described Philip as an "endurance athlete" who is in great physical shape and "thrives in extreme environments." He has no known health conditions.
The family continues to ask the public to keep an eye out for Philip, realizing that he may be disoriented. They ask people to check their outbuildings and ring cameras in case he stumbled upon looking for food or a contact point.
Jen told Dateline that she is still impressed with the hundreds of volunteers who have devoted their time and resources to finding her husband.
"I am so grateful for the love and support these people have shown us," said Jen. “I feel like I'm just saying that's not enough - I don't see how to start showing them how much I value every little thing they do. If possible, I would - I would really like to meet every single person who has helped and thank them. "
Search is nearing the 4 week mark, but the Philips family remains confident that things will change for the better.
"We're still hopeful," Jen told Dateline. “He's my better half - the more patient parent of our children. You need him. We all need him. It's out there somewhere and we're doing everything we can to find it. We won't give up. "
Philip is described as 5'11 "tall and weighs approximately 165 pounds. He has a thin physique, brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen in running shorts and a Suunto Ambit3 watch.
Anyone with information on Philips' whereabouts is asked to call the Pleasanton Police Department at (925) 931-5107.
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