San Diego, CA- Hector Garcia (20) of La Mirada California, was rescued from the chimpanzee exhibit at the San Diego Zoo after nighttime groundskeepers heard calls for help emanating from the exhibit. Hector had been reported missing by family members several days prior to his rescue. He had been on a family vacation in San Diego and the zoo was just one destination on the family’s agenda. Sadly, he would go missing their first day at the zoo.
Sweeps of the zoo and the surrounding areas were made with no luck. Surveillance never picked Garcia up on the exit cameras. Authorities were confident that he never left the property, so they redoubled their efforts within the zoo and searched in earnest for Hector Garcia. At the end of a long day, after several lengthy days of searching, no new information came to light and they once again packed it in for the night.
Around 2am on Wednesday night, the nighttime groundskeeper heard cries for help coming from the chimpanzee exhibit. Soon after being discovered by the grounds keeper, Hector Garcia was extracted unharmed from the exhibit and rushed to a local hospital to verify that he was still in good health.
Garcia claims that he slipped on some loose gravel and fell into the exhibit. He was immediately taken in by the chimps as one of their own. Fearful what the primates may do if he tried to escape, he did his best to assimilate until he could find help. Asked to sum up his thoughts about his experiences the last few days he had this to say, “In a strange way, I felt more at home with the Chimpanzees than I do with most humans”.
The San Diego Zoo has yet to return our calls for comment at time of this writing.