Teen who died in hiking accident with dad remembered as adventurous

CLOVIS, Calif. -- Classmates remembered a 14-year-old Clovis High freshman who died with his father while hiking with his parents this weekend.

Friends said Brayden Byers and his dad Todd loved the outdoors and exploring. They died Saturday after plunging to their deaths off a cliff near Shaver Lake. The mood for many 9th graders at Clovis High was somber as many remembered their classmate as someone who was full of life, funny, outgoing and adventurous.

Kacie Woodard had Brayden in two classes this year and said, "I sit right by him in math, and I just couldn't focus on my work."

The family was hiking near Shaver Lake Saturday when a witness saw two people fall off a steep cliff. Brayden's mother was also hiking nearby and was not hurt, and family members said she's devastated by the tragedy.

The Byers family has had a difficult few years. Last year, Brayden's cousin, Cody died while rappelling down a rock in Yosemite National Park. He fell between 400 to 500 feet to his death.

Sheriff's investigators said recovering Todd's body has been challenging because of the conditions.

"Our search and rescue team actually have eyes on the victim, he's just in a very tight location," Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office explained. "There's actually water running through and a waterfall as well that is making it that much tougher to try and get it out of there."

Rescuers were able to slow the water flow Monday by contacting So Cal Edison to decrease the pressure. This made it less treacherous for deputies who are dealing with steep granite, moss, and slippery conditions to retrieve the body.

A team of psychologists was on campus to help students with their grief and an autopsy on both is set for Tuesday.
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