How Did a Young Couple Visiting the Grand Canyon End Up Dead?
Garret Bonkowski and Jessica Bartz stopped off at the Grand Canyon on Sept. 18 and were never seen alive again
Authorities are seeking answers after a young Arizona couple was mysteriously found dead in the Grand Canyon earlier this month, PEOPLE confirms.
The bodies of Garret Bonkowski, 25, and Jessica Bartz, 22, of Peoria, were found on Oct. 1 on the canyon’s South Rim, the U.S. Park Rangers and National Park Service Investigative Services said in a joint announcement about the couple.
Their bodies were found below the Trailview 2 Overlook along West Rim Drive on the South Rim, the announcement says.
Their vehicle was found in a nearby parking area, the agencies said.
Investigators haven’t said how the couple died or if they were the victims of foul play. They are seeking information to help determine the circumstances surrounding their deaths, they said in the announcement.
The couple entered the park on Sept. 18, Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said, according to local station KNTV.
But park officials have no record of what they did or where they went after that, she says, the Associated Press reports.
The couple wasn’t reported missing, says Cobb, AZCentral.com reports.
Bonkowski’s mother, Jennifer Follis, told local station KSAZ that she and her family had no idea Bonkowski and Bartz, his girlfriend of two years, were stopping at the Grand Canyon on their way to Iowa, where they were moving.
“The plan was that they were going to go to Iowa, which is where she is from, so that was unexpected to find that out,” Follis told the outlet.
The last time she spoke to her son was in September when they said their goodbyes, KSAZ reports.
“I said, ‘I love you Garret,’ and he said, ‘I love you mom,'” she told the outlet. “We hugged and then they left.”
In a Facebook post, Follis wrote, “None of us that knew and loved Garret will ever be the same again.”
A spokesperson for the National Park Service routed PEOPLE’s request for comment to the Grand Canyon National Park.
A request for comment from the Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
Anyone who saw the pair should contact at investigators 888-653-0009 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.