Rock climber with hundreds of bee stings is found dead

2013-05-08T00:00:00Z 2014-08-05T10:19:05Z Rock climber with hundreds of bee stings is found deadCarmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A Tucson man was found dead Monday evening hanging in his rappelling gear from a cliff on Mount Hopkins south of Tucson.

He had been attacked by bees and suffered hundreds of stings, but investigators don't know if that caused his death.

Steven Wallace Johnson, 55, was an experienced hiker and climber who went to rappel on Friday, said Lt. Raoul Rodriguez of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department.

One preliminary theory is that Johnson disturbed the bees while hammering his spike into the cliff, Rodriguez said.

Johnson's dog, which also was attacked by bees, was found dead on top of the ridge where Johnson was rappelling, Rodriguez said.

When Johnson did not show up to work Monday, co-workers reported him missing to Tucson police. Authorities were told that he planned to hike in the Santa Ritas and at other sites in Santa Cruz County.

Deputies of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department and its search and rescue unit found his body.

The Pima County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy to determine his cause of death.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104.

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