Despite ongoing rescue efforts by the National Park Service for missing Grand Canyon hikers LouAnn Merrell, 62, and her stepgrandson Jackson Standefer, 14, the mission has been scaled back, according to NewsChannel 9 in Phoenix, Az.
The two have been missing since April 15, while on a park trip with family members. Both were swept away in a creek after losing their footing in a remote part of the park. They were hiking with Merrell’s husband, Randy Merrell, co-founder of Merrell Boot Co, and Standefer’s mother.
According to a family statement released this morning, “After carefully considering all the information available to us, and based on our personal knowledge of the search area, we support Grand Canyon National Park’s decision to scale back the search.”
Jim Zwiers, EVP of Wolverine World Wide, parent company of Merrell, added, “Our prayers and love are with the Merrell and Standefer families during this difficult time. Our hearts ache for Randy Merrell and his family with the heavy weight of this news.”
According to the news channel, Chief Ranger of the Grand Canyon National Park Matt Vandzura, said the National Park Service is continuing its search in a limited way, including an inflatable motor-raft on the Colorado River, the only search crew actively out.
Tomorrow, added Vandzura, the National Park Service will move to a “limited continuous mode of searching, which includes a public education outreach campaign asking hikers and tour groups for leads, and having park rangers continue to keep their eyes open during their shifts.