Family mourns pastor found dead on La Quinta hiking trail

Family mourns pastor found dead on La Quinta hiking trail

LA QUINTA, Calif. - The son of an elderly man who died while hiking in La Quinta over the weekend is talking to KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2's Jeremy Chen. The hiker was identified as 71-year-old Frank Amado.

Amado's body was found on a hiking trail Saturday afternoon after the Riverside County Sheriff's Department responded to a call about a missing hiker. His family said he was a pastor at The Potter's House church in Indio.

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A memorial will be held for Amado at The Potter's House church on Wednesday.

Amado's family shared the impact he had on his congregation and his family with KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2's Jeremy Chen on Monday. 

A member of The Potter's House church, Ruben Gonzales, said, "He was just a father figure to me and he directed my life and helped me and my family. He married me and my wife." That's how Gonzales fondly remembers Pastor Frank Amado. Gonzalez had to break the news of Amado's death to the congregation on Sunday morning -- news that is still fresh emotionally for him. 

The beloved pastor had served the Coachella Valley since 1997. Amado preached and worked with Christian churches all across Latin America, spanning five countries. Gonzales said the pastor was a positive influence on his life and others. 

"I've seen him help marriages, you know, and counsel marriages," Gonzales said. 

Amado's son, Franky, said his father was an avid hiker who acclimated to the desert climate and would push himself despite his battle with diabetes. 

"He did it [hiked] by himself," Franky said. "He [hiked] with the grandkids, so it was something he enjoyed doing with the family and it was one of the relaxations for him in his life."

A life that was driven by faith, where Amado's congregation was taught to overcome the odds in their lives. 

Ruben Gonzales added, "He always had a mindset of, we're always in a battle and we always got to fight on no matter what life throws at us, we still got to carry on."

That's what Gonzales will be keeping in his mind when he pays his respects for his pastor. Amado's family said there would be a memorial service Wednesday for the public to pay their respects at the church at 7:30 p.m. The church's address is 45300 Oasis St, Indio, CA 92201.

It's still unclear if the heat played a factor in Amado's death on the hiking trail. 

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