(CNN)A hiker who had been reported missing in Montana earlier this week was found dead Friday after a suspected encounter with a grizzly bear.
Sheriff Brad Bichler of the Park County Sheriff's Office told CNN Craig Clouatre, 40, was hiking with a friend Wednesday in the Six Mile Creek area, which is about 20-25 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, when they split up.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this update. After an extensive search this morning we have located Craig," Bichler said in a Facebook post.
"It appears he had an encounter with a grizzly and unfortunately did not survive," Bicher's post said.
Bichler said the pair were supposed to meet back up, but Clouatre "didn't show up Wednesday night."
"We don't typically put people into the mountains in the dark on an initial look, so we started first thing Thursday morning, and went through the day Thursday," Bichler told CNN. "(We) flew thermal imaging overnight, Thursday night, until about 11 o'clock, and then started back up this morning right after first light."
Authorities found Clouatre's body on Friday, the post said.
Bichler said bear attacks have occurred in the area before, but are not typically fatal.
On Facebook, Bichler requested residents "please keep his family and all those involved in your thoughts and prayers."