Search for missing Berkeley runner Philip Kreycik in Pleasanton hills scaled down

The 37-year-old man went on a run Saturday afternoon but hasn’t returned.

Philip Kreycik was reported missing after not returning to his vehicle following a run near Moller Ranch in Pleasanton on July 10, 2021. Credit: Courtesy Niffer Nan

Update, July 13, 8:45 p.m.: Law enforcement are scaling down the search for Philip Kreycik for the remainder of the week after they completed a four-day search of the Moller Ranch area in Pleasanton and concluded that Kreycik is either incapacitated and unresponsive, or missing from the park entirely, Alameda County sheriff’s officials said Tuesday.

Law enforcement will continue searching for Kreycik on Wednesday, and throughout the week, but they will mostly focus on covering gaps in previous days’ efforts instead of further increasing personnel and range, Alameda County sheriff’s officials said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

“After looking at all the contingencies over the last four days, we come to two conclusions — that he’s either incapacitated within the search zone, and we can’t find him, or he’s not here, and he’s somewhere else that we don’t know about,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

He added that Kreycik, a 37-year-old man who lives in Berkeley, is an “extraordinary individual,” and relayed gratitude from his family for the extensive community volunteer efforts.

The search for Kreycik began with about 40 personnel on Saturday afternoon after he was reported missing by his wife around 2 p.m., according to Pleasanton police. It increased in size to about 120 people by Tuesday afternoon, the fourth day of the search, according to the sheriff’s office. They said the search included police canines, thermal technology, drones, helicopters, fixed wing aircrafts and e-bikes.

Law enforcement (left) and community volunteers (right) at Moller Ranch to aid in the search for Philip Kreycik. Credit: Sgt. Ray Kelly

Kelly described a detailed search effort combing through the park for sunglasses, shoes and watches, and testing blood samples from a rock at Moller Ranch, which was later determined to be animal blood.

“In my career, this is an unprecedented search for Alameda County. Usually, we would get our subjects located within the first 24 hours — usually they don’t last more than a day,” said Alameda County sheriff’s office Chief Ron Seitz, who has worked for the search and rescue for 40 years. “So for us, this is a very difficult operation. We’re trying to … come to some conclusions on our efforts, as well as put together what we have with regards to where we can take our mission from here.”

Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci said the Kreycik’s disappearance is being treated as a missing person’s case, and officers are actively working on the assignment. Anyone who has information about Kreycik’s whereabouts on Saturday is asked to contact the Pleasanton police department at (925) 931-5100.

“This was not an easy decision to make, and our focus is to continue supporting the Kreycik family,” Silacci said in a statement, regarding the decision to scale back the search. “We thank all of the search and rescue crews as well as the hundreds of volunteers who rallied together and remain committed to locating Philip.”

Original story, July 12, 4 p.m.: Community members and over a dozen Bay Area law enforcement jurisdictions are searching for Philip Kreycik, a 37-year-old man from Berkeley, after he went missing while running near Moller Ranch in Pleasanton on Saturday afternoon.

Kreycik arrived at the park for a one-hour run around 11 a.m., according to Pleasanton police, but didn’t return to his vehicle, which was later found at the trailhead for Moller Ranch. Police said his wife reported him missing around 2 p.m. that same day.

Social media users in a Facebook group created to help find him said he’s an avid, experienced runner, and his online running profile on Strava shows him completing a 6-mile run in Oakland’s Redwood Regional Park as recently as Friday. He is a white male with a thin build, brown hair, brown eyes, presumed to be wearing running attire and had no known health conditions, according to police.

The location where Kreycik went missing is part of Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park between Pleasanton and Hayward in the East Bay Regional Park District, and the agency’s police, along with the Alameda County sheriff’s office, are aiding Pleasanton police in the search.

The park spans a large area of the East Bay, and Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci said law enforcement have split up the search zone into five different sectors stretching from Highway 580 down to Highway 84. Over 100 people from 13 agencies are currently working on the search with off-road vehicles and other equipment, according to Silacci, and will continue until 8 p.m.

A photo of Kreycik on a previous hike. Courtesy: Tom Wooten

Tonight, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office will begin an aerial search with an aircraft that has night vision capabilities, and the other agencies will pick up the search again in the morning. Community members have organized their own efforts to deploy hikers, drones and search parties to the park.

“There’s a large amount of terrain that we’re yet to search,” Silacci said about the coming days of search efforts. “We’ve searched the main portions of where we think he may have gone (near Moller Ranch). As of now, we’re still committed to doing a full search tomorrow.”

The Bay Area was experiencing an intense heat wave the day Kreycik went missing, and temperatures at the park hit highs of 104 and 105 degrees, according to Silacci. He added that the terrain is very rugged and steep, with not much water in the ravines currently. Mobile cell service is somewhat reliable in the area.

Pleasanton police ask that anyone with information about Kreycik contact them at (925) 931-5100, and community members are encouraging anyone interested in search efforts to join their Facebook group.

Supriya Yelimeli is Berkeleyside's homelessness and housing reporter. Email: supriya@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: SupriyaYelimeli. Phone: 510-585-8315.