The body of a 22 year-old missing Santee resident who was believed to be wandering the mountains in San Bernardino National Forest after suffering an apparent head injury was found Friday morning.
Bryson Paul Lukacik, reportedly was attempting to find his way home, disappearing into freezing temperatures wearing just a sweater and jeans during a Thanksgiving weekend snowboarding trip at Big Bear.
Lukacik was found Friday morning around 10:30 a.m. within half a mile of the vacation cabin near Big Bear Lake.
The Union Tribune reports that his father said it looks like the snow from the roof fell on top of him and “he basically froze to death in the snow,” Lukacik said.
The incident began when Lukacik apparently injured himself while snowboarding.
“We were told that Bryson apparently fell off the ski lift and hit his head, but no one knew it until they saw a big lump on his head,” said Stars Assistant General Manager Kelly Ritayik. “Later in the day, we found out he collided with another snowboarder or a skier.”
Disoriented, Lukacik talked about going surfing the next day. He later asked where his bed was, but instead of remaining at a vacation cabin, the 22-year-old dashed into the night to find a way back to his San Diego County residence.
“We were told that people with head injuries like this can have a one-track mind,” added Ritayik. “So everyone is assuming he’s trying to come home to his own bed-but he doesn’t have any money or his cell phone.”
A lone possible sighting came from a local rapid-transit bus driver, who said a man matching Lukacik’s description boarded his bus early Saturday morning, arriving at a Greyhound bus station 25 miles away in San Bernardino. However, the driver failed to positively identify Lukacik from a photo, Ritayik said.
Deputies and volunteers conducted an extensive search of the Big Bear area, said a sheriff’s spokesperson. On Thursday and Friday morning, more than 80 people participated in search teams combing the woods and searching door-to-door.
Story by: Pellegrino, Nick & Bartholow, Steven “Body of Missing Santee Man Found in San Bernardino Mountains” Santee Patch 3 Dec. 2010