Body recovered from Colorado River may be missing 14-year-old hiker

Jackson Standefer, 14, of Tennessee, lost his footing on April 15 during a family trip and fell into Tapeats Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon. On Friday, April 28, a body was located on the river, and will be positively identified by the Coconino County Medical Examiner. Jackson's stepgrandmother, Lou Ann Merrell, 62, of Vernal, Utah, also fell with Jackson, but her body has not been recovered. Photo courtesy: National Park Service

GRAND CANYON, Arizona, April 28, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — On Friday, a commercial river trip group notified the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center that it had located a body on the Colorado River. Park rangers responded to the site, at River Mile 152, and recovered the remains.

According to a National Park Service news release, initial information indicates that the body is that of Jackson Standefer, 14, who was reported missing by members of his hiking party on April 15. Jackson was reported to have lost his footing while crossing Tapeats Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, which runs through the Arizona landmark.

The body was transported to the rim by helicopter and transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner, who will confirm positive identification.

Lou Ann Merrell. Photo courtesy: National Park Service

The National Park Service conducted a search and rescue operation that went on for several days.

Jackson Standefer lived in Tennessee and was hiking in the canyon with family members, including his step grandmother, Lou Ann Merrell, 62, of Vernal, Utah. Merrell also fell and was not located, despite the lengthy search.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner. No additional information is available at this time.


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