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Body found near San Diego trail where missing hiker separated from group during heat wave

The body of a woman believed to be a 50-year-old hiker who became separated from her group and went missing on a San Diego trail during a heatwave on Sunday has been found just outside a populated area, authorities said.

San Diego Police Lt. Daniel Meyer told reporters at a news conference near the search scene that the body of an Asian woman believed to be Diem Le Nguyen was found on the side of the road about 9:15 a.m. Monday during a helicopter search in Black Mountain.

“She was a quarter mile down a deserted road,” Meyer said. “She almost got out.”

Meyer said a hat believed to have been worn by Nguyen when she disappeared was also found by searchers shortly before her body was discovered.

Hiker missing for 10 days found alive in Northern California mountains

Police say Diem Le Nguyen is seen in this photo taken on the Sunday before she went missing. (San Diego Police Department)

Police said Nguyen had been hiking the Nighthawk Trail in Black Mountain with a group of about 100 family members and friends when they stopped midway along the trail around 8 a.m.

Nighthawk Trailhead sign

Authorities said Diem Le Nguyen became missing on Nighthawk Trail after getting separated from the group and continuing on the trail alone. (FOX5 San Diego KSWB)

The group was taking part in the Build a School Foundation’s annual fundraiser. FOX5 San Diego.

Police said Nguyen left the group and continued walking alone toward the summit.

Diem Le Nguyen

Diem Le Nguyen, 50, was reported missing Sunday after going missing while hiking on San Diego’s Black Mountain Nighthawk Trail. (San Diego Police Department)

Meyer told reporters that Nguyen made an “emergency call” to her family around 10 a.m. saying it was very hot and she needed water. That was the last they heard from her.

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Meyer said because of the call and the extreme heat in the mountains, search and rescue teams including helicopters, dogs, drones and ground teams were immediately dispatched to search for Nguyen.

Search and Rescue Station

Search and rescue teams are searching for missing hiker Diem Le Nguyen near the Nighthawk Trail in San Diego’s Black Mountains. (FOX5 San Diego KSWB)

California officials warned of high temperatures affecting inland San Diego over the weekend, and the National Weather Service issued an extreme heat watch for parts of Southern California through Sunday.

“Obviously, this is a very difficult moment for the family and friends,” Meyer said. “It’s really important that the community comes together to support this family as they get through this tragic time.”

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Meyer said the medical examiner’s office will conduct a death investigation and identify the body.

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