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Search intensifies for missing East County backpacker

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WARNER SPRINGS, Calif. -- Authorities planned to intensify the search Thursday for Chris Sylvia, who went missing while backpacking in the East County wilderness east of Palomar Mountain.

More than 50 people are expected to assist in the search Thursday from various San Diego agencies, the San Diego Sheriff's Department says.

Chris Sylvia, 28, was reported missing Tuesday after he failed to arrive as planned at his final destination of Campo, according to sheriff's officials. Other hikers subsequently found his identification and some hiking gear believed to belong to him about 12 miles off state Route 79, north of Warner Springs.

Sylvia, an experienced outdoorsman, had started his hike in the Anza- Borrego area on Feb. 12.

Search-and-rescue personnel resumed looking for Sylvia -- described as a 5-foot-8-inch, roughly 155-pound white man with brown hair and hazel eyes -- at daybreak this morning. Assisting deputies in the effort were Border Patrol agents and the Civil Air Patrol.

No more signs of Sylvia were found by the time the search was suspended for the night about 5:30 p.m., sheriff's Lt. James Bolwerk said. The operation was slated to resume about 7 a.m. Thursday, Bolwerk said.

Anyone who might be able to help find Sylvia was asked to call the San Diego County Sheriff's Department at 858-565-5200.