Kittitas County - The Kittitas County Coroner completed an autopsy on the deputy fire chief from Seattle, Jay Schreckengost, Friday morning and determined he died because of accidental fall.
Schreckengost went missing on November 2 after texting his family he was going scouting for elk near Cliffdell. The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office pointed out the area where the chief was hunting had rough terrain and the day he went missing conditions were slick.
Nick Henderson, the coroner, said the chief he had bruises on his body. After preforming the autopsy, he confirmed other injuries which are consistent with a fall like a fractured vertebrae and a severed spinal cord.
Mountain rescue crews found Schreckengost Sunday afternoon at the bottom of a sharp 700 foot slope about a half mile from where his truck was found near Forest Service Road 1703.
Inspector Chris Whitsett with the sheriff's office said they believe Schreckengost fell more than once.
"He had some initial fall that got him into terrain he couldn't get out of and then trying to work his way out of that, he fell again," Whitsett said.
The second fall caused the injury to his spine and stopped his breathing.
Whitsett said based on the information they have, Schreckengost most likely died on November 2.
The mountain rescue crews searched the area where he was found on Saturday but came up empty.
"They searched one way and then they turned and searched the other way because you see different things going different ways," Whitsett said. "It was on the next day on Sunday that they were searching the same cliffband from the bottom up, on that day at about two in the afternoon, they located the chief."
Whitsett said he wasn't surprised the chief was found so close the initial search area near his truck because of the bad terrain.
"We had continued to concentrate the greatest amount of effort within a close range of where his truck was found," Whitsett said. "We knew because of the difficulties of the terrain a half mile circle when it goes [up and down] is a lot more ground to cover."
The cliffband where he was found is also covered in thick brush.
Firefighters from the Seattle Fire Department picked up the chief's body and took him home to Seattle after the autopsy.