Today at approximately 11:10 am the body of missing hiker Debra Schwartz was located in an unnamed slot canyon below the rim of Oak Creek Canyon. A three member technical rescue team that was tasked with checking the slot canyons located her. On this third day of this intensive search for the missing ASU Professor, rescuers were in the field and under way by daylight. Today the search resources consisted of:
· One Team of five searchers mounted on horseback
· Three teams of off-road vehicles
· One dog team consisting of 3 dogs and six handlers
· Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Air Rescue Helicopter and crew
· Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter and crew based in Flagstaff
· The Yavapai County Jeep Posse
· Three technical rescue teams with three technicians in each team
Several slot canyons that run from the rim to the canyon floor were partially searched yesterday however steep inclines, very rough terrain and thick underbrush made conditions unsafe for conventional ground searchers. The three technical rescue teams that were deployed today were assigned to thoroughly check the slot canyons in the area. At approximately 11:10 am today a technical rescue team that was searching an unnamed slot canyon from the rim down discovered Debra Schwartz’s body. It should be noted the this technical rescue team completed two rope rappels to make their way into the canyon to a spot where they were able to see the body and then a third rappel to actually reach the body. She was located approximately ½ mile from her campsite. The body will be transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office. Coconino County Sheriff’s Detectives will work with personnel from the medical examiner’s office in an attempt to determine the cause and manner of death.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Yavapai County Search and Rescue Unit for providing ground searchers, dog search teams, mounted searchers, the Yavapai County Jeep Posse, their Air Rescue Helicopter and their technical rescue teams. We would also like to thank the Arizona Department of Public Safety for the assistance of their air rescue helicopters and crews based in Flagstaff and in Kingman.
We are also grateful for the investigative assistance given by the ASU Police Department. Finally we cannot express the extent of our continuing gratitude to all of the tireless men and women of the Coconino County Search and Rescue Unit.