California rescuers want to recoup cost of searching for two hikers

June 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

SANTA ANA, Calif., June 28 (UPI) -- Fire officials in California's Orange County said they are suing a "reckless" hiker for $55,000 to help replace money spent searching for him and his friend.

Nicolas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, disappeared on Easter Sunday in the rough Trabuco Canyon area of south Orange County.

Orange County Fire Authority officials found the two men after several days of searching.

They said they also found methamphetamine in Cendoya's parked car as they searched for clues about his disappearance.

Cendoya was charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance.

Officials said they believe they are entitled to recoup some of the money they spent searching for him because he behaved with "wanton or reckless conduct," the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

"We feel we qualify as a victim" of Cendoya's alleged crime, said Kris Concepcion, a division chief for the fire authority. "We are entitled to restitution as a result."

Rescue entities spent $160,000 of taxpayer money in the search for Cendoya and Jack, the Times said.

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