It’s been two months since Joel Thomazin, 31, of Denair, was last seen starting out on a solo hike in Yosemite National Park. Despite an extensive, multi-agency search of Thomazin’s planned hiking route and the surrounding areas, no clues were uncovered of what could have happened to the avid outdoorsman and searches have since been called off.
Thomazin had planned a solo hike from Hetch Hetchy to Lake Eleanor and then back to Hetch Hetchy starting on Sept. 6 and returning Sept. 9. He was last seen by a park ranger around 5 p.m. on Sept. 6 as he completed the steep traverse above O'Shaughnesy Dam.
Park officials had thought he could have decided to stay out longer and extended his trip to Cherry Lake or to the north or east as far as the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. The search — which included search and rescue crews on the ground, in the air and by boat — covered his intended path, along with Tioga Road between Cherry Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. Thomazin wasn’t found, nor was any of his equipment, including a bright red inflatable kayak.
Thomazin’s family is planning a memorial service for the beloved husband and father as he is presumed dead due to the length of time he’s been missing in the remote area.
Thomazin leaves behind his wife of seven years, Amanda, and 2-year-old son Titus. He was a Sonora Union High graduate and Stanislaus State alumnus, a Civil Affairs Specialists with the United States Army Reserve and employed by Sanny Bros. Royalty Restoration in Modesto.
Thomazin’s sister-in-law, Danielle Marty, started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the family during this trying time, as Amanda is not eligible for death benefits at this time.
“Though it’s unlikely he is alive, without proof of his whereabouts, Joel is considered a missing person. In the state of California, it can take five years to get a death certificate for a missing person which means his wife, Amanda, can’t collect on the things normally available to help bridge the gap such as Joel’s life insurance, social security, etc. The goal of this fundraiser is to alleviate the financial stress placed on Amanda by raising enough to cover monthly expenses (bills, small necessities, groceries) for a year. Any amount is helpful because it all adds up. Financial support means Amanda can focus on healing and raising their two-year-old son, Titus,” wrote Marty on the fundraising page.
A memorial service is planned for Thomazin at 11 a.m. Dec. 4 at Monte Vista Chapel in Turlock.
The GoFundMe page is titled “Help Amanda and Titus Bridge the Gap.”
Thomazin is not the only hiker still missing in Yosemite. Richard Judd, 69, was last seen on July 25 on a day hike from his camp near Lower Merced Pass Lake to Red Peak Pass.