The body of a beloved San Francisco teacher who went missing more than two weeks ago in a Northern California national forest, was found Tuesday, his family said on Facebook.
Ed Cavanaugh, 45, who taught at Downtown Continuation High School, disappeared on July 17 after taking off to ride his motorbike on the Rock Creek trail system in the Eldorado National Forest.
A member of the family's search party located a motorcycle matching the description of Cavanaugh's and a deceased person in a remote part of the forest, Lt. Tom Murdoch of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Murdoch described the location as a trail in the "rugged brush-filled terrain west of Slate Mountain," adding that the "decedent has yet to be positively identified."
Even without the formal identification, Cavanaugh's sister Debbie Cavanaugh Schultz, however, took to Facebook not long after to express her grief for her brother, whom she essentially acknowledged had died.
"My family is heartbroken to share the news that Ed has been found but he is no longer with us," she wrote.
The Cavanaugh family, upon learning of the discovery, also included their thoughts in the statement issued by the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
"Ed has touched so many lives in countless ways. We hope all who love Ed find comfort in knowing that his bright spirit is with us all during this heartbreaking time," they wrote.
Cavanaugh, who rented a cabin on Darling Ridge, was captured by surveillance cameras atop a blue Yamaha YZ 250 motorcycle along the Rock Creek trail area around 11 a.m. on July 17. He was dressed in Fox brand dirt biking clothing and a black helmet.
The teacher and a friend went to the area together but Cavanaugh left by himself after lunch. There was no sign of him returning, his sister said.
Along with being concerned by the sometimes treacherous landscape where he was last seen, the family also worried that Cavanaugh, a diabetic, would run out of insulin, water and food.
But as word of Cavanaugh’s disappearance spread, family members, friends, colleagues, students and even strangers flocked to El Dorado County to help look for him. The teacher's family offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could find him.
Along with creating social media slogans, including #FindEdToday and #BringEdHome, they joined search-and-rescue teams from Yolo, El Dorado and Stanislaus counties by walking the area on foot or riding dirt bikes and quad runners.
The California National Guard also launched a drone in a bid to find Cavanaugh at the request of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
The Cavanaugh family also expressed their appreciation to all those who contributed to the days long effort.
"Our family would like to thank every single individual who has worked so hard to bring Ed home," they wrote. "We are overwhelmed with the kindness, generosity and support that has been shown by all in finding Ed. It truly is a testament to Ed’s extraordinary spirit and beautiful soul."
An online campaign established to raise funds to aid the search picked up $68,908 from 666 donors as of Tuesday.
No further details were immediately available.