Name Released for Hiker Who Died at Cedar Creek Falls

Joseph Meram, 16, of El Cajon was hiking with family Wednesday when he fell 80 feet.

The medical examiner has identified the young man who died while hiking in Cleveland National Forest on Wednesday as Joseph Meram, 16, of El Cajon.

An examination has not been performed yet. However, CalFire reported Wednesday that the man sustained "massive head injuries" after either falling or jumping 80 feet and hitting at least two rocks on the way down. Another hiker was injured by his fall and was taken by ambulance to Palomar Medical Center.

The accident happened in the Cedar Creek Falls area, which borders San Diego Country Estates in Ramona.

Patch talked to a family member, Zaid Razooky, 22, who hiked with Joseph on Wednesday. Razooky said a group of cousins from El Cajon arrived at the trailhead at about 8:15 a.m. and hiked to the waterfall area by about 10:30 a.m. Two of the cousins went on ahead and were out of sight.

"Then we met at the waterfall," Razooky said, "and people were yelling. His face looked bad. We started hauling him from the water."

Patch spoke to Razooky as he was being observed by a U.S. Forest Service worker, in the shade of a Forest Service truck in the parking area Wednesday. Razooky's hand had been bleeding. He said the rest of the family had to hike back out and he was waiting for them.

Patch did not report the identity or town of the victim at the time because the immediate family had not been notified. The cousins were still hiking out of the area and it was unknown whether they knew of their cousin's death.

Razooky said he is originally from Iraq and that he has lived in El Cajon for about five years. The cousins with him were three 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old, he said. He spelled Joseph's last name Mearm, slightly differently than the spelling provided by the medical examiner.


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