MADERA, California (KSEE) – A Central Valley family is coming to terms with a devastating loss after 33-year-old Ronnie Lucas was found dead on a Las Vegas hiking trail.
He went missing Sunday during a solo hike in Red Rock Canyon. His body was identified by family Tuesday.
“We all loved him very much, and life won’t be the same without him,” Karsta Lucas said Wednesday.
Karsta Lucas of Madera said this love for her brother, Ronnie, was far from one-sided.
“If there’s one thing about my brother, he gave away his love to everybody, and you knew he loved you,” she said.
Ronnie moved to Las Vegas from Madera after high school. He attended Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Madera High School. His family said he was an avid hiker and climber.
“He’s always wanting adventure. He never could just sit in the house. He’s always like “Let’s go come on,” Ronnie’s niece Samantha Lucas said.
Ronnie was known to frequent Red Rock Canyon but had only been on North Oak Creek Trail a few times.
“He didn’t realize the storm was rolling in. He thought he was going to be out for just a few hours, and the hike got the best of him,” Karsta said.
Karsta said her brother was found on top of the mountain and said he was unable to get back down. The family is waiting on the autopsy but said rescuers found no signs of injury.
She believes a lack of supplies to control blood sugar may have killed Ronnie.
“We’re hoping that he didn’t suffer, that he ended up just going into a diabetic coma,” Karsta said.
Karsta said Ronnie’s 10-year-old son was his whole world, and she can guarantee one thing, “I promise that I’m going to help take care of your son, and he’s going to grow up knowing what a wonderful father he had,” she said.
The family said as hard as it is, they’re finding comfort.
“He died doing what he loves,” Samantha said.
They said later this month they’re going back to the mountain in Ronnie’s honor.
“We’re going to go finish the hike that he didn’t finish,” Karsta said.
The family will make their final hike on the 24th. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses.