Police have ‘pretty much 100% covered’ area where missing California runner could be as search enters fourth week

UPDATE: A body matching the description of missing runner Philip Kreycik has been recovered in Pleasanton, California, Pleasanton Police announced at a press conference held just before 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday evening. Lieutenant Erik Silacci said a citizen found the body in a remote area about 250 feet off of a trail on the northern part of the ridge.

The body has not yet been positively identified and the cause of death is unknown.

Pleasanton Police and the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department are at the scene investigating and recovering any pertinent evidence.

The location where the body was found is part of the East Bay Regional Park District jurisdiction and is approximately a quarter mile outside of Philip’s intended route.

“Our thoughts are with the Kreycik family and we are focused on supporting them during this difficult time,” Pleasanton Police said in a statement.

This is an ongoing investigation and anyone who may have seen Philip Kreycik on the day of his disappearance is asked to contact the Pleasanton Police Department at (925) 931-5107.

Original report:

After nearly a month of searching for avid runner Philip Kreycik, police say they have “pretty much 100 percent covered” every single area in and around Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park where the Berkeley, California father could be.

The news came over the weekend when the Pleasanton Police Department resumed its official search for the 37-year-old PG&E analyst, who has been missing since he went for a run on July 10, 2021.

“We pretty much 100% covered where he could’ve been, should’ve been or would likely show up,” Pleasanton Police Lieutenant Chris Niederhaus told the press Saturday, at a local high school where volunteer search teams had gathered.

On Saturday, police crews from 17 Bay Area agencies scoured the many trails and canyons throughout the park. They pulled GPS data from various search teams to make sure every location had been searched – including an area around Tejan Creek, which the lieutenant said came about from a new theory.

Local runners told police that it’s not uncommon for runners or hikers to leave the trail, many times due to the heat, and take a shortcut through the heavy brush to return to their cars. The day Philip went missing, temperatures reached 106 degrees.

Earlier that morning, the devoted husband to Jen Yao and father of two young children, a 3-year-old boy and an 11-month-old girl, left their home in Berkeley, telling his wife he was going to run some errands and then squeeze in an hour-long run at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park before meeting his family in Stockton at Jen’s parents’ house later in the day.

But he never made it.

Jen told Dateline it was 10:45 a.m. when she received a text from her husband. He had parked his car in the Moller Trail staging area at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park in the East Bay Area. Philip told her that he was going for a quick 8-mile run and that his ETA to Stockton would be 12:35 p.m.

When that time came and went, Jen began to worry. She checked his GPS location through his phone and was confused to discover that he was still in Pleasanton.

“I thought, OK, maybe he got a little delayed, but he should’ve been in Stockton by now,” Jen said. “So I checked his status. Every 10 minutes. And called him. Texted. And nothing. It’s not like him at all.”

At 2 p.m., Jen called the Pleasanton Police Department and reported her husband missing.

Officers responded to the trailhead at the Moller Trail staging area at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park that afternoon and found Philip’s vehicle undisturbed in a parking spot. His cell phone and wallet were under the driver’s seat.

Jen told Dateline it was normal for her husband to leave his things in the car while going for a run, especially such a short one. She added that he had been wearing a watch, but it didn’t have GPS capability.

Extensive searches by police crews and volunteer groups went on for days and weeks. About two weeks in, the search was called off by police. Volunteers and fellow hikers and runners continued their efforts, contributing to ground searches, as well as creating the Facebook group “Find Philip Kreycik” that quickly reached 12K members.

Last week, Philip’s friend and fellow runner Chris Thoburn shared new details on the Facebook page. He said that security cameras at a UPS store where Philip was dropping off a package showed him entering and leaving the lot, and traffic cameras and the car’s FastTrak also trace him to the staging area at the park.

In the post, Thoburn speculated that heat exhaustion took its toll on his friend. Jen told Dateline she remembers telling her husband to take water and sunscreen that day, but it’s unclear if he had either with him.

“Philip was NOT heat adapted,” Thoburn wrote. “He lived on the Oakland/Berkeley border and most of his training was on the Bay side of the ridge. This means he rarely ran in temps above 80, and morning and evening runs (where he typically had time) would have been in the 50s or 60s.”

Hundreds of posters now line the trails of the park, which spans a large area of rugged and steep terrain, and the streets surrounding it, along with the neighboring cities of Dublin, Fremont and Castro Valley.

Last week, Sgt. Marty Billdt said an official search resumed after a review by Pleasanton Police of GPS coordinates of places already searched determined new areas to examine.

Search teams were again deployed along with members of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. Search dogs, drones, helicopters and an airplane with advanced thermal imagery have all been deployed as part of the searches.

The teams focused on remote areas of Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park over the weekend, but failed to find any new leads or any sign of Philip.

“Today, the search for Philip Kreycik continued as a number of teams were deployed at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park,” police posted to Twitter on Saturday. “Unfortunately, no significant evidence was recovered from the area.”

Philip’s family says they are baffled that they haven’t found anything yet.

“It’s strange we haven’t found anything,” Jen said. “Not even a trace, like a piece of clothing or a shoelace or anything.”

Jen and Philip have been married for four years and have two children together. He graduated from Harvard and MIT and is an energy efficiency analyst for Pacific Gas and Electric.

“He has a lot of joy in his life,” Jen told Dateline. “He’s a good man who lives by his values. He challenges everyone he knows to be the best. He just brings people together – even now, even when he’s missing.”

Jen describes her husband as someone who is not just an avid runner and physically strong, but is mentally strong as well.

“He doesn’t make rash decisions – he’s a very level-headed person and thinks everything through,” she said, adding that he runs ultramarathons and has extensive wilderness experience so he might have ventured further than where crews are searching.

In a post on the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Sgt. Ray Kelly described Philip as “an endurance athlete” who is in top physical condition and “thrives in extreme environments.” He has no known health conditions.

The family continues to ask the public to be on the lookout for Philip, noting that he could be disoriented. They ask people to check their outbuildings and Ring cameras in case he stumbled through looking for food or a way to make contact.

Jen told Dateline she remains in awe of the hundreds of volunteers who have dedicated their time and resources to searching for her husband.

“I’m beyond grateful for the love and support these people have shown to us,” Jen said. “I feel like just saying that is not enough – I wouldn’t know how to even start with showing them how much I appreciate every tiny thing they do. If possible, I would — I really would like to meet every single person who has helped and thank them.”

The search is nearing the 4-week mark, but Philip’s family remains hopeful that things will turn around for the better.

“We’re still hopeful,” Jen told Dateline. “He’s my better half – our children’s more patient parent. They need him. We all need him. He’s out there somewhere and we’re doing everything we can to find him. We won’t give up.”

Philip is described as being 5’11” tall, weighing about 165 lbs. He has a thin build, brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing running shorts and a Suunto Ambit3 watch.

Anyone with information on Philip’s whereabouts is asked to call the Pleasanton Police Department at (925) 931-5107.

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