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Coroner identifies two climbers who died on mountainside near Idyllwild; One was a former Dallas Cowboys player

The two rock climbers whose bodies were found Wednesday on the rockface of a mountainside just east of Idyllwild have been identified by the Riverside County Coroner.

A report of "hikers down" came in at 12:25 p.m. near the Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout, southeast of Humber Park, within the San Bernardino National Forest, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.  

On Thursday, the coroner identified the two as Gavin Escobar, 31, and Chelsea Walsh, 33. Both Escobar and Walsh are from Huntington Beach.

Escobar was a former NFL player, spending most of his career with the Dallas Cowboys. He attended San Diego State before being drafted by the Cowboys in 2013. He also played for the Dolphins, and Browns. He last played in 2019.

In February 2022, Escobar became he a member of the Long Beach Fire Department, the department confirmed on Facebook.

Escobar leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Riverside County fire crews had accessed the rockface in the attempted rescue operation but determined that both victims had died at the scene.

Location of rockface, Google Maps

The image above shows an aerial view of the location where the two rock climbers were found.

The agency described the two victims as rock climbers, though it wasn't immediately clear whether they suffered fatal injuries during an ascent or descent on the mountainside, or died by other means.

The coroner did note the location of injury was the same as the location of death.

CalFIRE turned the case to the Riverside County Sheriff's investigators.

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KESQ News Team


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