The body of a man found in Angeles National Forest was identified as a suspect in the fatal shooting of his friend in the area last week, officials said Tuesday.
A hiker discovered 53-year-old Kevin Pochter of Huntington Beach at 8:30 a.m. Monday, with a handgun nearby, sheriff's officials said. Authorities were looking for Pochter, who was suspected of fatally shooting his lifelong friend and leaving him on the side of a road in the forest.
Pochter, an experienced hiker, was last seen Saturday night in the San Gabriel mountains above Arcadia and Monrovia, Capt. Mike Parker of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau said.
The hiker who found Pochter thought he was possibly sleeping. Sheriff's officials said the hiker had read a newspaper story about the search for a suspected killer in the area, which included an admonition that the missing man might be armed and dangerous.
The hiker reported his discovery at a ranger station, and the first deputies arrived on scene on horseback.
The area where Pochter's body was found has a panoramic view and is about six miles from Mount Wilson, where the car of the murder victim was located. The distance between Mount Wilson and Chantry Flats, where Pochter was found, is a steep slope of rugged terrain, about 3,000 vertical feet lower than where the car was abandoned.
Investigators believe Pochter was involved in the death of 53-year-old Dean Ron Albert, who was found lying on the side of the road at the Chantry Flats Campground at about 5:40 p.m. on Thursday, Parker said.
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Albert was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to the upper body, Parker said.
The victim's vehicle, a silver four-door 1993 BMW 740, was driven from the shooting site on Big Santa Anita Canyon Road and turned up in the parking lot of the Mount Wilson Observatory at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, Parker said.
Deputies spent the rest of that day searching the area between the Mount Wilson Observatory and Chantry Flats recreational area with help from officers from the Arcadia, Sierra Madre and Monrovia police departments.
Deputies from the sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau and Emergency Services details carried out a ground search for Pochter on Sunday over more than 62 square miles of rugged terrain while a sheriff's helicopter crew looked for him from the air, Parker said.