A search continues in Grand Canyon National Park for two hikers missing since they were swept down a remote creek.

Grand Canyon Park rangers recovered a body on the Colorado River on Friday, which they say may be that of a 14-year-old Tennessee boy who was swept away in the canyon along with his step-grandmother.

The Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center was notified by a commercial river-trip operator that a body was seen on the river Friday.

Park rangers  transported the body to the Rim by helicopter, where it was transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

Park officials, in a press release, said they body may be that of Jackson Standefer of Chattanooga. The teen was reported missing April 15 along with his step-grandmother Lou-Ann Merrell, 62, after losing their footing while crossing Tapeats Creek.  

No updated information was provided in the release on Merrell, who remains missing.


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

A multiday search-and-rescue operation was conducted thereafter.

The Coconino County medical examiner will confirm positive identification, as well as conduct an investigation of the incident with the help of the National Park Service, park officials said. 

The Associated Press reported on April 18 that family members identified the hikers who were swept away. 

Merrell is the wife of Randy Merrell, co-founder of Merrell Boot Co.

Standefer’s uncle, Mark McOmie, said Randy Merrell and the boy’s mother were also on the family hiking trip. Officials were alerted when an emergency GPS locator beacon was set off below the canyon’s North Rim. According to McOmie, the Merrells were frequent hikers and were very familiar with the area.

McOmie hoped that their experience and hiking background would help them survive.

“If they can get to a spot where they cannot be in the water and stay warm, she’s got the skills needed to get them through it. The odds aren’t great. But given their skills and knowledge of the area, that will probably lead to the best possible outcome,” McOmie said in a report by the Associated Press.

When their backpacks were found, the family had “mixed feelings,” the report said. Although it looked as if they were able to take the backpacks off, the fact they didn’t have access to their gear concerned them.

 Associated Press contributed to this article.

Read or Share this story: