A Los Altos Hills man who disappeared on foot Sunday, prompting an emergency alert and helicopter searches for him, returned home Tuesday afternoon the same way.
"He was a voluntary missing," said Capt. Ken Binder of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. Binder said he cancelled the alert that had been sent out about 10 a.m. Tuesday for Richard Lynch, 62.
Lynch's wife had contacted the Sheriff's Office at about 10 a.m. Monday, Binder said, after Lynch had failed to return home Sunday. He had last been seen Sunday, walking on West Loyola Drive near Eastbrook Drive in Los Altos Hills, not far from his home.
He often hiked in Rancho San Antonio Park, which has trailheads close by, and deputies tracked his scent with canines into the open space preserve. Deputies had searched the immediate area, sent up a helicopter during the day and deployed a heat-sensing device to no avail.
By Tuesday morning, Binder said he deployed an AlertSCC message, which delivers emergency messages via phone and email to residents who sign up for the service. The alert was sent out in a five-mile radius, encompassing Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, and Mountain View, he said.
They also contacted neighborhood associations and prepared a flyer, asking neighbors to be on the lookout, and supplying a detailed description of height, build and the clothing he was wearing.
Within a couple of hours, the missing person case was resolved happily.
"Today, while our deputies were talking to the wife, the gentleman walked back home," Binder said.
Lynch, who had not carried a mobile phone, had carried his wallet. "He seemed like he'd been taking care of himself, and didn't have any obvious medical issues at all," Binder said.
There were no law enforcement issues to resolve and the case was reclassified as a "voluntary missing," Binder said.