Body Found in River Is Likely Missing 14-Year-Old Boy Swept Away by Grand Canyon Creek
Jackson Standefer, 14, and his stepgrandmother were swept away by a creek in Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona earlier this month
A body found in the Colorado River on Friday is likely that of a 14-year-old boy who went missing earlier this month after being swept away by a creek in Grand Canyon National Park, the National Park Service has announced.
Jackson Standefer, 14, and his step-grandmother, Lou-Ann Merrell — who is married to Merrell Boot Co. founder Randy Merrell — went missing on April 15 after reportedly falling into the rushing water of a remote creek during a family vacation.
Park rangers recovered the body at River Mile 152 and transported it to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.
“Initial information indicates the body is that of missing 14 year old hiker Jackson Standefer,” officials said in a statement.
A multi-day search for Jackson and Merrell, 62, ensued after members of their hiking party reported them missing. Authorities scaled back search efforts last week.
Merrell has still not been found, the Times Free Press reports.
Mark McOmie, Jackson’s uncle, reacted to the discovery in a Facebook post on Friday, revealing that the service had contacted the family with the news that day.
“We appreciate all of those that have prayed for Jackson and our family, it has been truly remarkable,” he wrote.
The family remained hopeful in the days following the disappearance, with McOmie telling the Denver Post that Jackson and Merrell are avid hikers and very familiar with the area.
“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,” he told the outlet. “The odds aren’t great. But given their skills and knowledge of the area, that will probably lead to the best possible outcome.”
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Jackson was an eighth-grade student at McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“The entire McCallie community sends its prayers to the Standefer family and all those close to Jackson as we all hope for a positive ending to this situation,” the school said in a statement to ABC News.
A celebration of life service was held for Jackson at McCallie this week, according to the Free Press. Services were held for Merrell earlier this week as well.
The National Park Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.