Body of missing Redwood City man found in Aptos Hills

posted Nov 7, 2012, 11:00 AM by Santa Cruz County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team   [ updated Nov 7, 2012, 11:02 AM ]
APTOS - Search and rescue teams Tuesday found the body of a 74-year-old Redwood City man who had gone missing from a retreat center in the Aptos Hills on Sunday, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said.
George Earl Sliter was found about 10 a.m. Tuesday at the bottom of a ravine above Cabrillo College, near the 600 block of Hudson Lane, deputy April Skalland said.

Coroner's deputies were investigating and Skalland said a cause of death would not be released until after an autopsy was conducted later this week. Sliter was with a group of church friends at Monte Toyon retreat center off Cathedral Drive and reported missing about noon after he didn't attend a 9:15 a.m. service Sunday, deputies said.

Later Sunday morning, two women reported seeing him on a trail accessible from the Vienna Woods neighborhood near Cabrillo College, deputies said. He asked them how to get to Monte Toyon, deputies said.

His body was found not far from Vienna Woods, Skalland said.

"It's about two miles as the crow flies, but who knows how many miles he traveled," she said. "He did get a distance in that terrain."

A full-scale search and rescue operation was launched Sunday and expanded Monday to include teams from neighboring counties, several K-9s, and search volunteers mounted on horses, motorcycles and a quad.

A team from Contra Costa County spotted the body, Skalland said.

"People are packing up now," she said about noon Tuesday, from a command post at Monte Toyon. "It's very somber up here."

Sliter was married and had at least one adult child.

A friend of his who emailed the Sentinel, Grant Huberty of Woodside, said Sliter maintained a busy, selfless life in retirement, volunteering to tutor math students and working tirelessly as an interfaith leader on the Peninsula to build greater understanding and respect between different religious groups.

Huberty said he and Sliter attend the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, which was the group on retreat at Monte Toyon. "He will be sorely missed in our close-knit community," Huberty said. "It's hard to believe we were exchanging emails only days ago and now he's simply gone."