Former Dallas Cowboy Gavin Escobar killed in hiking fall near Idyllwild

IDYLLWILD, Calif. (CNS) — A former tight end for the Dallas Cowboys was one of two hikers killed trying to climb a mountainside east of Idyllwild, authorities said Thursday.

Gavin Escobar, 31, and Chelsea Walsh, 33, both of Huntington Beach, died around 12:20 a.m. Wednesday near the Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout, southeast of Humber Park, in the San Bernardino National Forest, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Escobar was a former professional football player who spent four years with the Cowboys and also had stints with teams including the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. He played college football at San Diego State University.

He worked as an off-duty firefighter in Long Beach. He joined the agency in February, according to a Facebook post from the department.

Escobar is survived by his wife and two young children, according to the Long Beach Fire Department.

Officials said the victims died while climbing a cliff face, but no other details were available.

It was not known whether they were seasoned or amateur climbers.

Two witnesses spotted the victims and called 911, managing to get marginal cell phone reception in the remote area.

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, multiple engine crews and a sheriff’s helicopter crew were dispatched to the scene to initiate a search and rescue operation.

Firefighters walked a steep path and reached the spot where the victims were seen at 13.20

Escobar and Walsh were pronounced dead at the scene.

The case was turned over to sheriff’s deputies after the discovery.

The investigation is ongoing.

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