Hiker Found Dead In Red Rock Canyon, What Was Cause Of Death?

Most forms of exercise come with some type of danger but usually muscle strains, sprains, and fractures. Hikers have a heightened risk of injury and death for many reasons, including becoming lost, kidnapped, encounters with wild animals, and serious falls. Those that don’t know the terrain well or aren’t hiking with others are particularly at risk.

A female hiker went missing during a hike in Red Rock Canyon, but it is unclear if she was hiking with a group at the time of her disappearance or if she knew the terrain. When she didn’t return as expected around 4 p.m., someone called the police. The individual who called Search and Rescue said that the hiker got separated from her group. Why and for how long she was separated is unclear. Search and Rescue teams were immediately dispatched and began to look for her around 4:10 p.m. The search continued fruitlessly until 11 p.m., when they decided to end the search for the night. Bright and early this morning at 5:15 a.m., the search continued. Sometime after that, the body of the hiker was found at the bottom of The TurtleHead Peak Trail, filled with canyons and sharp inclines, according to News 3 Nevada. It is a popular area among Nevada hikers for its challenging terrain.

Solo walking vacations
[Image via Flickr by Christian Siedler/CC BY-ND 2.0]

The body of the woman has been sent to the coroner’s office to determine the exact cause of death, and her identity has not been released yet, nor any descriptors such as her age. While Metro Police believe the cause of death was a “significant, but accidental” fall into the canyon, the final cause of death lies with the medical examiner. The LVMPD states that they have no answers to give right now, but answers should be coming soon.

“The LVMPD Air Unit assisted in recovering the body, and it was turned over to the Clark County Coroner’s Office. The identity of the deceased hiker, as well as the cause and manner of death, will be released by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.”

A thorough autopsy can reveal things that many people don’t think about, such as a medical emergency before the fall, toxicology reports and signs of struggle. Right now, although the death is believed to be accidental, the medical examiner’s office must thoroughly investigate wounds and internal trauma before they can say conclusively how she died. Even then, it is not always easy to determine if someone has been pushed off a cliff, but they may be able to say if she died on impact with the bottom of the canyon or not. That particular terrain is hard and unforgiving, and a significant fall would likely cause internal bleeding and fractures. Even if she was alive after the fall, she was not found until at least fourteen hours later, so other factors, such as exposure, may have contributed to her death. An autopsy would likely be able to give an approximate estimate of time of death.

It appears that a search and rescue helicopter discovered her deceased body first, and then rescue teams converged to recover the body and transport the body to the Coroner’s office.

This is a developing story. The coroner’s office will be able to provide information about cause of death, injuries, age and identity of the deceased hiker soon.

Although it isn’t an everyday occurrence, a significant number of hikers die each year in the U.S., many by accidental means, but some due to wildlife attacks or foul play. You can read more about hikers who perish as reported by the Inquisitr, including a hiker in Yosemite who was discovered dead in January.

Grand Canyon

[Photo by David Becker/Las Vegas Review Journal]