Body of missing hiker found in Southern Utah

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 12, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — The body of a young hiker who was reported missing in the Pine Mountain area was found Monday after an intensive search.

According to a news release from Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. David Crouse, the family of Benjamin Needham, 19, reported that the young man had been dropped off in the area Thursday and was to meet up with family at noon Sunday.

When he failed to meet them as planned, the family contacted the sheriff’s office.

Needham reportedly was hiking alone, but had a means to purify water and enough food for three to four days, according to the release.

Search and rescue volunteers, sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Forest Service rangers began searching, and dispatchers with the St. George Emergency Communication Center tried to determine Needham’s location by tracking his cellphone. They were able to find the general area, but the cellphone was turned off, the news release states.

Investigators learned that on Friday, a Forest Service employee had helped Needham find his campsite about 3 miles up the Whipple Trail.

Late Monday afternoon, Forest Service personnel on horseback found Needham’s body about 40 feet down a ravine. A Color Country Interagency Fire Center helicopter was already in the area and helped first responders bring his body off the mountain.

The cause of death is still under investigation.


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