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Brooklyn native found dead after vanishing during hike in Mexican mountains

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MEXICO CITY (PIX11/AP) — A Mexican civil defense official says searchers have found the body of an American man who went missing in rugged mountains in central Mexico four days ago after going on a hike.

Carlos Mandujano says a search team found the lifeless body of Hari Simran Singh Khalsa, 25.

Friends say Khalsa died from a fall while hiking.

The civil defense coordinator for Morelos State says the body was found on Friday in one of the narrow gorges or ravines that crisscross the rugged mountains in the colonial town of Tepoztlan.  According to a statement on the FindHariSimran website, authorities believe he may have fallen while hiking and sustained a fatal injury to the head.

At least 150 searchers using helicopters equipped with infrared cameras combed the mountains to find the missing hiker.

Khalsa was in Mexico to attend a yoga retreat with his wife, Ad Purkh Kaur.


Kaur said her husband's last picture he texted to her read "I'm looking down on you." (Handout)

Kaur said that her husband left for the hike dressed only in a T-shirt and shorts; temperatures in the mountainous region can fall into the 40s during this time of year.  The only supplies he took were a liter of water, a handful of trail mix and a knife.

She said she received a text from him Tuesday that read: "Looking down on you!"  The  last message he sent, two hours later, read: "I accidentally summited another mountain.  Looks like I'll be a little later coming back.  Save me some lunch if you can."

Friends and relatives rallied support on social media and used the website to raise nearly $100,000 to fund the helicopter search.  They also pulled together a petition and convinced T-Mobile to release his cellphone data in hopes of tracking him using the last text message.

A memorial for Khalsa has been planned for Friday night in Virginia.

Read the full statement from the website below:

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Hari Simran has been found. He appears to have fallen while hiking and sustained a fatal injury to the head. We believe he passed instantly and did not suffer. His family and friends are making the proper arrangements in Mexico. There will be a memorial vigil tonight in Virginia. Please send your love to his family, friends and our entire community and pray with his family tonight. Thank you to everyone – the local and national governments of Mexico, the United States Embassy, the Red Cross, all the volunteers, the media, and all of you for helping us #findharisimran. This journey has been a testament to the enormous amount of love and goodness he shared with us all during his time on earth. His last picture said ‘Looking down on you.’ We know he is an angel in the heavens now looking down on all of us.

We love you, Hari Simran