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Body found in search of missing George Mason University student

Mateo Cobo Zevallos was reported missing on May 6 and was last seen leaving his home in Oakton, Virginia.

LURAY, Va. — The body of missing George Mason University student, Mateo Cobo Zevallos, 21, was believed to be found Sunday afternoon around 12:15 p.m. at Shenandoah National Park, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

Zevallos was last seen earlier this month on May 5 and was reported missing to the Fairfax County Police Department on May 6, according to officials. He was last seen leaving his home in Oakton, Virginia as he was on his way to George Mason University, according to officials. 

Shenandoah National Park rangers began searching for Zevallos's car on May 16 and found his car in the parking lot that serves the Overall Falls Run Trail located in the northern area of the park. Officials say Zevallos's body was found about 1.6 miles away from where his car was parked in steep terrain near several rock outcrops.

The body is being transferred to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manassas, Virginia for positive identification and to determine the cause of death, according to officials.

NPS officials add that the trails in the Overall Run area of the park that was closed for search operations have been reopened.

WUSA9 previously reported that officials started a grid search to find Zevallos on March 17.

So what exactly is a grid search?

"They actually create grids on maps and send teams out to different areas. Those areas are calculated by a very specific formula that gives us the highest area of probability based on data that's been gathered for decades," Claire Comer, a spokesperson for Shenandoah National Park explained.

She says "We choose those areas of high probability to send those teams too. Each team has GPS and of course radio communication and sometimes a dog team. Then we collect those data points when they return, so that we are sure of what area we have covered and where to start the next day".

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