The Grand Canyon National Park announced on Friday that a child’s body was found during a commercial river trip. Although not confirmed, authorities say that the body is likely the boy that went missing with his grandmother on April 15 while hiking at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
New York Post reports that Jackson Standefer, 14, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was crossing a creek at the Tapeats Trail, near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, when he lost his footing and slipped into the water. The current swept him away. His step-grandmother, LouAnn Merrell, also lost her footing around the same time and got washed away. Other family members tried to save them but the water was too risky to venture into.
Note to those who should know. Wild lands are exactly that. Must take great care!https://t.co/kbIPy5iHzo
— Terry Martin (@huecoyotl) April 29, 2017
For weeks, rescue crews have been scouring the area in search of the LouAnn and Jackson, but the search scaled back last week when the conditions became too dangerous to continue.
The child’s body was airlifted and sent to the Coconino County Medical Examiner, where they will make a positive identification. LouAnn Merrell still hasn’t been found.
Mark McOmie, the boy’s uncle, said that the family doesn’t want to make any comments until they know for sure the body is Jackson, but he indicated that the teen was loving, friendly, and well-liked at his school, The McCallie School, in Chattanooga.
An awesome display of student support on Jackson Standefer's locker. pic.twitter.com/OIeDyoer0y
— McCallie 6th Grade (@6thmccallie) April 21, 2017
School spokesperson, James Tanner, also declined to comment until they received further information, but he said Jackson was a member of a Christian Youth Group and a member of the school’s crew team.
Jackson Standefer was the grandson of Randy Merrell, a renowned footwear maker and co-founder of the Merrell Boot Co.
[Feature Photo: Handout]