Idaho hiker's body found after search hampered by government shutdown

SALMON, Idaho Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:16am EDT

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SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - The body of a missing hiker has been recovered at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in central Idaho after a month-long search hampered by the recent U.S. government shutdown.

The remains of Jodean Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, were spotted on Tuesday evening during a helicopter search of the vast lava fields at the National Park Service site where she and her hiking partner, Amelia Linkert, were reported missing on September 24.

Searchers last month found Linkert dead from exposure. An Idaho coroner is determining how Elliott-Blakeslee perished, park officials said.

At its height, the search for the Boise-based physician drew helicopters, dog teams and as many 100 individuals from other U.S. parks, but those efforts were scaled back in part because of a congressional budget impasse that halted government operations on October 1. The government reopened last week after Congress passed a temporary spending measure that President Barack Obama signed into law.

Ted Stout and several other Craters of the Moon workers furloughed during the shutdown nevertheless continued to search for Elliott-Blakeslee across the Idaho park's 750,000 acres of volcanic rifts, cinder cones and underground tunnels carved by ancient lava flows.

"We can't let her down now. This needs to continue," Stout, the park's chief of interpretation and education, said the day after he and park officials were laid off.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Steve Gorman and Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (5)
abb68 wrote:
If frivolous spending isn’t controlled to keep debt manageable, then these things will happen. It is the President who decides where cuts are made. This President chose to do them where they would be most visible instead of where the effects would be minimal. He chose to inconvenience people hoping they would blame Republicans…not caring about collateral damage such as this.

Oct 24, 2013 10:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
crowleykirk wrote:
We are all responsible for OURSELVES when we go outdoors. I am an avid backpacked and outdoor explorer, I rely on myself and take full responsibility for my actions. Simple as that. You must know your limits and be prepared for the worse. Self rescue is paramount, you MUST have this knowledge and NOT depend on others if at all possible. I do carry a PLB as a last resort. I’m sorry these women parished and Lord please bless their souls.

Oct 24, 2013 10:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
janemarek wrote:
It is sad this happened but why always try and blame the government – what ever happened to personal responsability?

Hikers shoud get serious and take the proper gear and precautions when they set out. Too many people expect someone else to help them out.

Sad it happened but people take personal responsability!

Oct 24, 2013 1:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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