As police scoured mountain peaks for days, using everything from bloodhounds to high-tech helicopters, the revenge-seeking former Los Angeles police officer they wanted was hiding among them, holed up in a vacation cabin across the street from their command post.
It was there that Christopher Dorner apparently took refuge last Thursday, four days after beginning a deadly rampage that would claim four lives.
The search ended abruptly Tuesday when a man believed to be Dorner bolted from hiding, stole two cars, barricaded himself in a vacant cabin and mounted a last stand in a furious shootout in which he killed one sheriff's deputy and wounded another before the tear gas-filled building erupted in flames.
He never emerged from the ruins and hours later a charred body was found inside.
"We have reason to believe that it is him," San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman said.
Dorner, 33, had said in lengthy rant police believe he posted on Facebook that he expected to die in one final, violent confrontation with police, and if it was him in the cabin that's just what happened.
A single shot was heard inside before the cabin was engulfed in flames, the law enforcement official told The Associated Press.