Family holds out hope missing Idaho hiker will be found alive


by Kim Fields

Posted on October 5, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 5 at 4:22 PM

BOISE -- It's been seven days and still no sign of missing hiker Todd Hofflander.  The 39-year-old was last seen in the Seven Devils area, southwest of Riggins.  But a massive search on the ground and in the air, including thermal imaging, has turned up no signs of the experienced hiker.

"They found no traces of anything, nothing.  It's baffling," said Julie Hofflander, Todd's wife.

Hofflander says her husband set out on a four-day hike with friends in the rugged area of Seven Devils.  But on the fourth day, Sept. 27, the group split up, and Hofflander hasn't been seen since.

"Monday morning they split up because my husband's knee was bothering them and they were supposed to meet down at the river and my husband never showed up down at the river," she said.

Hofflander says the group thought her husband was capable of making it on his own, otherwise they wouldn't have left him.  She now thinks her husband started to make his way toward the meeting place, but possibly turned around because of the injury.

"He made it to McCaffey Cow Camp.  That's the last time he was seen.  It was still about half way down the mountain," Julie said.

The family's dog, Ruby was with Hofflander on the hike.  The three-year-old black lab was wearing a red doggie backpack.  Searchers have found no signs of it or Ruby, but that doesn't surprise Julie.

"She and Todd are inseparable so if he did go up that would explain why we haven't seen any sign of the dog down where we were searching," Julie said.

Todd Hofflander is an experienced outdoorsman and because of that the family isn't giving up hope.

"His friends, his brother and I, we think he's up there and he's hurt somewhere and we think that he's alive," Julie said.

The Idaho County Sheriff's Office says if anyone has seen Ruby to give them a call.  If she's been spotted or picked up, her location could provide critical information to investigators.

Todd Hofflander was last seen wearing jeans, a green T-shirt, blue baseball hat and a camouflage backpack.