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The body of a Southern California man who disappeared 22 years ago has been found and is now to be returned to his family.

Bill Stampfl, 58, was a civil engineer from Chino and a loving father and husband.


“My father loved being a father,” said Jennifer Stampfl, Bill's daughter. “He wasn't a man of many words, but when he spoke, everyone stopped and listened.”

When he wasn't taking care of his family, Bill loved going on adventures in the outdoors.

“He was a mountaineering instructor,” Jennifer said. “He trained in Mount Baldy and also in Joshua Tree.”

In June 2002, Bill and two friends set out to summit Huascarán in Peru, the country's highest mountain at 22,205 feet.

Bill Stampfl, 58, loved mountain climbing and spending time outdoors. (Stampfl family)
Bill Stampfl, 58, was a mountaineering instructor. (Stampfl family)
Bill Stampfl can be seen with his two children. (Stampfl family)
In June 2024, American hiker Ryan Cooper discovered the body of Bill Stampfl buried under ice on Mount Huascarán in Peru. (Ryan Cooper)
Bill Stampfl's identity card was found in a small bag with his personal belongings.
Bill Stampfl's personal belongings were found in a small bag after hikers found his body on Mount Huascarán in Peru.
American hiker Ryan Cooper of Las Vegas was climbing Mount Huascarán in Peru with his brother when they found the body of Bill Stampfl in June 2024. (Ryan Cooper)
Team members carried Bill Stampfl's body down Mount Huascarán in Peru. (Ryan Cooper)
Team members carried Bill Stampfl's body down Mount Huascarán in Peru. (Ryan Cooper)
American hiker Ryan Cooper of Las Vegas was climbing Mount Huascarán in Peru with his brother when they found the body of Bill Stampfl in June 2024. (KTLA)
Bill Stampfl, 58, loved mountain climbing and spending time outdoors. (Stampfl family)
Bill Stampfl, 58, is pictured with his family. (Stampfl family)
Bill Stampfl, 58, can be seen in a private photo. (Stampfl family)
A memorial plaque honoring Bill Stampfl and his two climbing friends was installed on Mount Baldy in Southern California, a place where Stampfl trained. (Stampfl family)
A memorial plaque honoring Bill Stampfl and his two climbing friends was installed on Mount Baldy in Southern California, a place where Stampfl trained. (Stampfl family)
Team members carried Bill Stampfl's body down Mount Huascarán in Peru. (Ryan Cooper)

“I knew my dad’s planning and calculations would get him home safely, so we weren’t worried,” Jennifer said.

As the men attempted to reach the summit, an avalanche suddenly struck, sweeping them all away. The news of their disappearance shocked their loved ones. Bill's family was heartbroken and continued to hope that he might still be alive.

Sadly, that news never came.

“At some point they called off the search and that was really hard,” Jennifer said. “Because you think, 'What if he's still alive? What if there's a chance?'”

Now, 22 years later, the Stampfl family was stunned to receive a call informing them that Bill's body had been found.

In June 2024, an American hiker named Ryan Cooper, who had walked the same route as Bill, discovered the man's body preserved and buried under ice. Jennifer remembers the moment her brother called her and said her father had been found.

“He said, 'Are you sitting?'” Jennifer recalls. “He said, 'They found Dad.' I said, 'What?' He was still in shock, too, and it only took a second of silence for him to hear it all out loud.”

Cooper, the hiker from Las Vegas who found Bill's body, had hoped to reach the summit of Huascarán with his brother, but had to turn back due to potentially life-threatening weather conditions.

Disappointed, he made his way back down the mountain and discovered Bill's body.

Cooper found Bill's ID among his personal belongings and his new mission now focused on reaching Bill's family.

“In one moment we realized he was from Chino, California, and we were Americans too. It was our responsibility,” Cooper said of the fateful discovery. “Soon afterward, I realized I wasn't here to summit. I was here to find Bill and bring him back to his family.”

Team members worked to carry Bill's body down from the icy mountain. After 22 years, closure was not something the Stampfl family ever dreamed of.

“It gives you new hope and new faith in humanity because they didn’t have to put in that extra effort,” Jennifer said of Cooper and his team.

The Stampfl family is now working to transport Bill's body from Peru to the United States so that he can be properly buried at home.

A memorial plaque was placed on Mount Baldy in Southern California in honor of Bill and his two friends.

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