Fauna Jackson has been found safe, with search crews locating the teenager two days after she went missing in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The 16-year-old Cincinnati girl had been working with a group called Groundwork USA when she went missing on Thursday morning, prompting a search that eventually grew to include more than 100 people.
Officials announced on Saturday morning that Fauna Jackson had been found safe in the park, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. There were not yet details on how the missing teen was found or exactly when she was located, and authorities have also not spoken about the exact nature of her disappearance.
Saturday marked the largest search efforts for Jackson, with officials describing a massive hunt that stretched across a wide area of the expansive park. Until that point, officials had found few clues from Jackson’s disappearance other than a single hiking boot.
“It is not believed she was wearing the boot when she went missing,” investigators said in a release. “Any and all scenarios are being considered and investigated.”
Fauna Jackson had initially disappeared on Thursday morning after leaving the trail to go to the bathroom in a wooded area. Park rangers made an immediate search of the area before regrouping and starting a more organized search later that day.
Close to 60 people took part in Thursday’s search, which stretched through the overnight hours, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Denise Germann, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, noted that search efforts expanded greatly on Friday, with ground crews, dog search teams, helicopters, and vehicle and engine patrols working together to comb the park.
“It’s all hands on deck,” Germann told East Idaho News. “All of our employees are assisting in the search and helping look for Fauna.”
Park officials also ramped up their efforts to locate Fauna Jackson on Saturday, spreading information about her disappearance and asking anyone who might have an idea about her whereabouts to contact police.
Jackson was in the park working with the national group Groundwork USA, which works with the National Park Service and Environmental Protection Agency along with local groups to promote environmental preservation projects, WCPO reported. The teen had been selected to be part of an eight-week project working in Grand Teton National Park.
Leaders in the organization said Fauna Jackson is a dedicated employee.
“She’s a delight to be around,” noted Robin Corathers, director of Groundwork in Cincinnati. “She got along very well with her peers. She did outstanding work for us the eight week period. And she showed a lot of leadership potential.”
That added a bit of urgency to the search this week, with those close to Jackson noting that she was a reliable employee and it was out of her nature to go missing.
“She’s very strong minded, very smart, able to handle all the tasks we had over the course of the summer — trail-building, invasive removal, restoration work,” said Alan Edwards, who also worked with Groundwork Cincinnati. “Honestly, one of the best employees we had and that’s why she got to go.”
Fauna’s family members had remained in Cincinnati during the search but are now traveling to Wyoming to be with the teen. The Cincinnati Choir, where Fauna is a singer, shared a link to an online fundraiser to help the family members make the trip.
In just the first hour, a total of 57 people contributed to the cause, helping raise $2,848 toward the $3,000 goal. Many also left happy messages, celebrating the fact that Fauna Jackson was found unharmed.
We are so thankful Fauna has been found!Please consider donating to help the family with travels to Wyoming - https://t.co/Gx5nzBfmkQ— Cincinnati Choir (@cincinnatichoir) August 6, 2016
There are not yet details about Fauna Jackson’s exact condition, but Ben Katko of Fox 19 reported that she has been taken to a hospital for evaluation.
[Image via Grand Teton National Park]