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Catskill community prays for return of hiker missing in Russia

June 27, 2017 09:24 AM

CATSKILL -- For more than a week, the family of Catskill native Steven Beare has prayed for his safe return.

Now the community is joining them.

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“A blizzard came in when he was near the top of the mountain, that's our understanding,” said Beare’s uncle and godfather, Paul Ambrose.

Ambrose said Beare was hiking alone on Mount Elbrus in Russia, which is the country’s highest peak, during a snowstorm when he went missing last week.

Beare is a police officer in Littleton Police Department in Colorado. He lives there with his son and wife, who is pregnant.

He is also a National Guard soldier and family members said he wants to climb the world's seven highest peaks.

“Served a tour in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan,” Ambrose said.

“He's quite an experience hiker and mountain climber anyway,” said Beare’s uncle, John Gotebiowski. “He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.”

That was in 2015.

Russia's Mount Elbrus was the second on Beare’s list of peaks to climb.

Bad weather has hampered search efforts by Russian crews.

The family is funding a private search, which the Colorado Police Foundation is raising money for.

In Catskill, Sister Mary Mazza helped organize a prayer vigil for Beare Monday night at the Church of St. Patrick, where his relatives are long-time members.

“To upload them and help them maintain their trust and hope in God,” Mazza said.

“It's excruciating it really is,” Gotebiowski said. “It's hard to go to bed at night not knowing.”

While he was overseas, Beare was supposed to check in with his wife but on June 16, she did not hear from him.

On Father's Day, which was June 18, the Russian embassy confirmed to her that Beare was missing.

In an interview last week, Beare’s wife said she is holding out hope.

“And I'm hoping that the rescuers are going to be able to find him and that they will be safe as well, Ambrose said.”

Beare’s family has set up a Facebook page so people can stay up to date with the latest on the search. You can get to that page by clicking this link.

Here is the link to donate to the private search fund.

Credits

Nia Hamm

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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