Family: Body of missing teacher found in El Dorado County

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- The extensive two-week search for missing San Francisco teacher Ed Cavanaugh came to a sad end Tuesday in El Dorado County.

The sheriff's department says a body was found about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday morning by the family's search party in a ravine. The body was discovered near the motorcycle owned by the 45-year-old Cavanaugh.

The teacher had been missing since July 17, when he took his motorcycle for a ride on a remote trail in the wilderness north of Placerville

For two weeks, Cavanaugh's family, friends, colleagues and students had been hopeful that their search efforts, along with a $10,000 reward would help the Sheriff's emergency response teams locate Cavanaugh, who was an experienced nature enthusiast.

Ellen Wong, his longtime colleague and the principal of San Francisco Unified School District's Downtown Continuation High School, said she received a personal phone call from Cavanaugh's family Tuesday afternoon.

"I think one of the things that everybody who was out there searching said was, if it was one of us out there, Ed would be the first one out there looking for us, not giving up. He was just that type of person," Wong said.

San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said Cavanaugh had been a teacher since 2001 and was popular with students at Downtown High School, where he taught for more than a decade. The small school only has about 170 students.

"He worked really closely with his students not only to teach math and science but also to teach a love of nature," Blythe said, "Ed was part of a lot of pioneering programs here in our district including a lot of outdoor education programs and he really connected what students were learning in math and science with the great outdoors and his love of nature."

His program included long backpacking trips and boat-building projects to inspire and challenge students.

"Many of them have told us that being in his class, being on his camping trip, was a life-changing experience," Wong said.

Cavanaugh's family said in a statement, "We are overwhelmed with the kindness, generosity and support that has been shown by all in finding Ed. We hope all who love Ed find comfort in known that his bright spirit is with us during this heartbreaking time."

At the school, Cavanaugh's colleagues grieved for their friend, who has left a legacy of learning with the students and coworkers he touched.

"We're going to have to plan something, to celebrate Ed," Wong said.

The body has been taken to the El Dorado County Coroner's office for an official identification and to determine the cause of death.