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Hiker missing in Yosemite is Hawthorne resident

June 19, 2011 |  1:13 pm

Rescue crews on Sunday were searching a section of Yosemite National Park for a Southern California man who went out on a day hike and never came back.

A park spokeswoman says George Penca, of Hawthorne, was last seen Friday as he hiked the Upper Yosemite Falls trail in Yosemite Valley with about 20 people from his church.

Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb says when the church members finished their hike, Pensa, 30, was not with them.

Because the group had dispersed during the hike, Cobb says that the other hikers assumed that Penca had returned ahead of them. A missing person's report was filed at about 9 p.m. Friday.

Cobb described the trail that Penca disappeared on as a “popular and well-maintained trail.”

Yosemite National Park search-and-rescue teams, as well as rescue teams from adjoining counties, were taking part in the search.