The family of Philip Kreycik broke their silence Thursday, speaking to the public for the first time since a volunteer stumbled upon the missing runner's body earlier this week.
Kreycik’s widow and his parents said the news that a body was found at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park – the place where he went missing nearly a month ago while going for a run – was brutal to hear, but they thanked the army of volunteers who never gave up hope.
"Accidents can happen," Jen Yao, Kreycik's wife, said.
It could take days to find out what exactly killed the 37-year-old Berkeley father who went missing on July 10.
"I like to imagine him setting off on his final hike with joy, embracing the outdoors, running free as the wind," Marcia Kreycik, Kreycik's mother, said.
There was hardly any wind on that July day and temperatures peaked at 99 degrees in Pleasanton. Yao said her husband wasn’t used to running in that park.
"Philip was a very experienced runner," Pleasanton police Lt. Eric Silacci said. "Sometimes people just want to go out there and challenge themselves."
On Tuesday afternoon, a volunteer discovered a body matching Kreycik's description under a tree a mile north from his intended running route.
"Yeah, it was a letdown," Silacci said. "We wanted to locate him obviously sooner."
Silacci said based on their mapping, search and rescue teams two weeks ago came within 100 to 200 yards from where the body was discovered.
"They did search that area," he said. "You’d have to be very close in order to know that someone was there just because of the topography and the terrain."
For now, Krecyik’s family is focusing on the future, filling the role of father for Kreycik's two children.
"Phil’s told me that I’m the toughest person he knows when it counts the most, and if there ever was a time that counts the most, it would be now," Yao said.