Body of Merrell Family Missing Teen Believed to Be Recovered in Grand Canyon National Park

Park Rangers have found the body of a teen that is believed to be that of missing 14-year-old hiker Jackson Standefer, according to a statement released on Friday by the National Park Service.

Authorities were notified by a commercial river trip group that a body was discovered on the Colorado River at River Mile 152 in Grand Canyon National Park. The body was transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner, where “initial information” indicates that the person found is Standefer, the statement said.

Standefer and his step-grandmother, 62-year-old LouAnn Merrell, were reported missing during a family trip on April 15 by members of their hiking party, after being swept away while crossing Tapeats Creek.

They were hiking with Merrell’s husband, Randy Merrell, co-founder of Merrell Boot Co, and Standefer’s mother.

Randy Merrell shows a custom orthotic.
CREDIT: AP Images.

“The Coconino County Medical Examiner will confirm positive identification,” the National Park Service said in a statement. “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.”

The investigation continues, as the body of LouAnn Merrell has not yet been found.

On April 20, it was announced that the Grand Canyon National Park planned to “scale back” search efforts.

A family statement released that same day supported the decision. “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.”

Tapeats Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, is described by the National Park Service as challenging to cross under certain weather conditions. “Snowmelt or heavy rain may make creek crossings impossible,” according to a National Park Service advisory“Spring warming trends and intermittent high creek levels are more likely after mid-March with the peak flows often in May.”

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