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home : latest news : local October 1, 2016

12/26/2013 1:03:00 PM
Search for missing hiker continues in Oak Creek Canyon
Thomas Lang
Thomas Lang

SEDONA -- The search for Thomas Lang continued at daybreak Thursday and now involves approximately 60 ground personnel, a dog team, and air support from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Rescue 1 helicopter.

Technical rescue teams from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Coconino County Sheriff's Office have been deployed to check steep terrain portions of the target search area. Technical teams carry special equipment and have the expertise to address steep and rough terrain topography thoroughly and safely. Of the approximately 30 square mile search area, about 5 square miles consists of vertical canyons and extremely thick brush necessitating the use of these special teams.

Along with the search effort in Oak Creek Canyon, the Coconino and Yavapai County Sheriff's Office have received several calls indicating sightings of Lang in convenience stores or supermarkets in areas of Yavapai/Coconino counties. Each of these leads is being checked which includes reviewing store security tape when available to try and verify the information. So far, there is no indication Lang left the general vicinity of the search area.

On Christmas day, over 30 searchers were used along with a dog team throughout the day and Lang could not be found.

Both sheriff's agencies are still encouraging calls regarding any information on Lang or his possible whereabouts. Persons who traveled in this area of Sedona after Wednesday, Dec. 18, and who might have seen Lang along roadsides in the vicinity are urged to call. Any new information that helps to establish a location timeline is very important to search effort planning. Agency contact numbers - Coconino Sheriff - 1-800-338-7888 / Yavapai Sheriff - 928-771-3260.

Lang is not carrying a cell phone and has no known medical issues. According to family members, he did not take any food but did have a supply of water. Lang has hiked this area before and has some outdoor survival experience. His destination was along the Sterling Pass area of Oak Creek Canyon.

Lang is a 22-year old white male with blond dreadlocks, hazel eyes, standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 140 pounds. Anyone with information regarding Lang's whereabouts is asked to call either the Coconino or Yavapai County Sheriff's Office or 911. Coconino Sheriff - 1-800-338-7888 / Yavapai Sheriff - 928-771-3260.

Cottonwood man charged with choking girlfriend

COTTONWOOD -- Police were dispatched to a domestic violence call and arrested a Cottonwood man on an assault charge.

The dispatcher told officers the victim possibly had a broken finger. Her boyfriend, Charles Thigpen, was walking down Aspen towards 12th St. One officer found Thigpen at the corner of 11th and Aspen. The couple had been dating since August.

They reportedly had gotten into a verbal argument about finances. During the argument the victim said she tried to leave the residence saying "I want to leave." Thigpen told her, "You are not going anywhere," according to the report. She said he began to "throw her around like a rag doll. He put his hand over her neck and threw her to the bed." While on the bed Thigpen was on top of her choking her to the point the victim was unable to breathe and she began to "black out."

She also said he punched her on the right side of her face. The officer observed injuries that were consistent with her story. The victim said in order to get him off of her she had to dig her nails into his back. She was finally able to get up and leave the residence and walk to a friend's house. Her finger may possibly be broken, but she did not know how this happened except sometime during the altercation. Fire crews looked at the hand, but she refused medical treatment and said she would drive to the hospital.

Thigpin said he and the woman got into an augment about him taking "his medication." During the argument he said the victim grabbed his wallet and took all of his money out and would not give it back. Thigpen stated he tried to bite her finger to get his money back. Thigpen said she also scratched his back. The officer observed large scratches on his back that were consistent with her statements of scratching in self defense. Thigpen said this was all that happen and she left the house and about an hour later he went to the residence to try and get the money back. This is when the friends called the cops.

Thigpen was placed under arrest. A search on his arrest located two pills in his pocket. Thigpen told police they were hers, not his. An Internet check revealed one of the pills was a soma and the other was Hydrocodone. He was taken to jail charged with aggravated assault per domestic violence, disorderly conduct per domestic violence, unlawful imprisonment per domestic violence and unlawful possession of prescription medicine.

Related Stories:
• Sheriffs seeking missing hiker

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