Fauna Jackson, the 16-year-old girl, who had gone missing in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, was found on Saturday as we had earlier reported. However, a new report suggests that the Ohio teenager had apparently cut and dyed her hair, changed her clothes, and ran away as soon as authorities approached her, The National Park Service officials said on Saturday.
Jackson was found at about 8 a.m. MDT, and was uninjured. She was immediately transferred to St. John's Medical Center for a welfare check. The National Park Service stated that the entire incident is "under investigation."Officials said, "Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report of a possible sighting of Jackson Friday evening. Additional possible sightings of her and follow-up activities by park law enforcement rangers and officers with Teton County Sheriff's Saturday morning successfully located Jackson. She was found near the Snake River Overlook, approximately 3 to 4 miles from the point she was last seen. An early morning flight by the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol contributed to finding Jackson."
The Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, David Vela, said, "We are relieved and very grateful that Fauna has been found." Jackson was found thanks to the combined efforts of local search task forces and the FBI.
Jackson went missing on Thursday while doing field service with Groundwork USA, a conservation service group. Jackson was selected for doing the field service after she displayed, "outstanding performance and leadership potential." She was working with 20 other people in the field service, and that is when she decided to take a bathroom break and went missing. She was, at that time, wearing a white hat, tan pants and a green long-sleeve shirt. The shirt had the branding "Groundwork USA" and "Find Your Park."
A press release issued by the park officials on Friday night -- a day since Jackson went missing -- stated that officials had recovered a hiking boot that belonged to the teenager. "It is not believed she was wearing the boot when she went missing. Any and all scenarios are being considered and investigated."
The party of 60 people that started the search on Thursday grew up to 115 on Friday as described in a post on the park's Facebook page.Furthermore, search and rescue dogs, helicopters, law enforcement rangers, naturalists, and paramedics were all a part of the search operations. "Missing person" posters were also put up in the area where Jackson went missing. The tenth-grader is all of 5-feet, 6-inches tall, weighs 120 pounds, and has blonde hair and brown eyes.
Robin Corathers, executive director of Groundwork Cincinnati, revealed that Jackson she didn't exhibit any indication that she was distressed and was actually quite excited about going to Wyoming to work on the project. Corathers said, "She did great work. She loved working outside, and demonstrated leadership potential. This was unexpected and there was no warning."
James Bennett, Jackson's stepfather, said in a statement, "We're just so happy to have our beloved daughter back. Tears of loss and remorse last night became tears of ecstatic joy."
For those who do not know, Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek is a not-for-profit organization, which is a chapter of the national organization, Groundwork USA, is based in Yonkers, New York. The organization's work centers around youth, environmental education, clean water, planting trees, building trails and engaging the public in river improvements, according to their website.
Apart from being associated with Groundwork USA, Jackson is also a valued member of the Cincinnati Children's Choir.Robyn Lana, founder and managing artistic director of the choir, said, "She has served in leadership roles and has always proven to be warm, reliable and caring for those around her. We are very concerned about Fauna."
[Image via Grand Teton National Park]