“Looking for something hard to find”: Friend speaks out on mystifying disappearance of runner Philip Kreycik

6 mins read

More than two weeks have passed without any lead to finding the missing Bay Area runner at a regional park, a friend spoke out regarding the search, revealing clues and disappointing deadlock.

37-year-old Philip Kreycik from Berkeley was last seen on July 10 when he went for a run at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.

Kreycik, an avid runner and PG&E analyst, parked his car at around 11 a.m. near the Moller Ranch staging area. He informed his wife that he was off for a run for about an hour.

His wife reported him missing at 2 p.m. when he did not return home.

Police said the runner’s car, along with his belongings like wallet and cell phone were intact.

Chris Thoburn, Kreycik’s friend and fellow runner, shared in a Q&A that they have gone through the missing man’s location before he disappeared.

Kreycik, through CCTV at a UPS store, was spotted entering and leaving the lot. The same was also seen through the traffic cameras and the car’s FastTrak.

Thoburn said the deployed scent dogs were only able to trace the missing runner from his car towards the trailhead.

“Unfortunately they aren’t as amazing as some folks in the comments would have you believe,” Thoburn wrote. “… When you have a family, share your car with your wife, and do laundry together pretty much all scent articles are contaminated in some way. The family tried hard to give uncontaminated items to [search and rescue] for the search, but ultimately it seemed the dogs would instead pick up on the scent of others in the area.”

Hope arose on the fourth day of the search as residents near the park claimed they heard cries. Thoburn never heard the cries but he talked to the residents. The search, still, was not able to locate Kreycik.

“I do believe they truly did hear that sound,” Thoburn wrote. “My personal take is they heard someone else in the distance yelling ‘Philip’ of which there were a LOT of folks doing that night and which sounds a ton like ‘help’ in that canyon.”

He suspected that heat exhaustion has affected Kreycik as he remains missing after an enormous search involving law enforcement, search and rescue personnel, and volunteers.

It was not determined whether Kreycik brought water when he headed to the trail, which, at that day, is said to be under a scorching 105 degrees in temperature.

There is also not enough water in the creeks as the park’s terrain was reportedly rugged and steep.

“Philip was NOT heat adapted,” the friend wrote. “He lived on the Oakland/Berkeley border and most of his training was on the Bay side of the ridge. This means he rarely ran in temps above 80, and morning and evening runs (where he typically had time) would have been in the 50s or 60s.”

“He [may have gotten] dizzy from the heat, wandered into a ravine for either shade or shortcut, fell, got stuck, and either he’s still there or wildlife has encountered him since,” he said. “In either case we’re looking for something hard to find: harder if it’s the latter. If he’s in there, the bottoms of ravines after rains will probably be where remains will eventually turn up. If we don’t find him soon you’ll find me out there in them often in the coming months/years.”

Kreycik’s family and friends are not backing off as they continued the search through a daily walk in the park, he said. A 12, 000-member Facebook group was also established to coordinate with the search efforts.

“I feel we’ve exhausted the obvious, and what’s left is little nooks and downed trees we maybe didn’t get eyes around as well as we should have in the first pass or two,” Thoburn continued. “So I’ve been spending my evenings wandering those areas systematically, but also connecting the dots on the exact locations of all the ‘unofficial’ trails: been trying as hard as I can to both think like a runner, think like a runner in distress, and think like a runner in distress making irrational decisions. The trouble is, if it’s the third, we’ve potentially got no real boundaries for the search anymore.”

“My hope from fairly early in this search has been that he did make it out of the park. The odds are far better for his survival if he did,” he said, as reported by SFGate. “That said, we have no evidence that he made it out, and our search for video at potential exit points has turned up nothing so far.”

“All signs currently still point to him having gone for a run in the park and not having left it.”

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