Missing hiker's family share their story

By Allison Richmond | Jan 07, 2017
Courtesy of: Kendall Hunt David Crockett, at left in orange, with the Rockstars, the cheerleading squad he coaches in Gastonia.

It was a long, anxious night for the family of missing hiker, David Crockett, 23, of Charlotte, as they as awaited news that he and his hiking partner were found safe.

Crokett’s mom, Denise Crockett, said she knew her son planned to go on a day hike Thursday with a friend, but got nervous when the family hadn’t heard from him by evening.

Not sure if he had simply spent the night in the Asheville area after the hike or if something had gone wrong, they continued trying to reach him until they got word Friday morning that David had called 911 to report that he was lost in the Shining Rock Wilderness area.

“We didn’t know for sure that he was missing until we got the call from the deputy that the search had begun,” she said.

David is a student at UNC-Charlotte, studying accounting and finance. His mom and two siblings live in Albemarle. He is also a highly esteemed cheerleading coach of the Rockstar cheerleading squad from Gastonia, whose members were understandably very worried for his well-being.

Denise Crockett said David is relatively new to hiking, having taken up the hobby just a few months ago. He has only been on a few small day hikes prior to this, she said.

“I’m sure he wasn’t really prepared for the situation he found himself in,” she said.

Throughout the long night, Denise Crockett said thoughts like, ‘Will I ever see him again?, What is he going through up there?,’ were running through her mind.

“It was just a horrible night, last night,” she said.

Relief came in the morning though, when the family got word that David had contacted 911 again to say they had made it through the night and that they had fire and shelter.

The Mountaineer spoke with Denise Crockett shortly after she found out he and his friend, who has yet to be identified, had been located by search helicopter. She was preparing for another potentially long night as rescue teams work to reach the hikers.

A news release sent out by Haywood County at 7:22 p.m. said the lost hikers had been rescued and were airlifted to an area hospital.

Denise Crockett said her family is grateful for the hard work and dedication of the rescue teams.

“I know they had a rough night, too.”

“Right now, I’m just really looking forward to having him safe with us.”