The body of 14-year-old Jackson is believed to have been found in a creek. Lou-ann is still missing.
Original story: Lou-Ann Merrell, 62, of Utah and her step-grandson, Jackson Stander, 14, of Tennessee are missing after they fell into Tappets Creek in the Grand Canyon National Park. On April 15, 2017, Lou-Ann and Jackson lost their footing while trying to cross and fell into the rushing water and have not been located.
Lou-Ann and Jackson were with other family members during the hiking trip. They had gone backpacking before and were familiar with the area and Lou-Ann has the skills to keep them warm until they are found, said Mark McOmie, Jackson’s uncle, who resides in Chattanooga reports KUTV news. Lou-Ann and Jackson’s backpacks have been recovered.
Park Services were alerted when an emergency GPS locator beacon was set off below the canyon’s North Rim, said Chief Ranger Matt Vandzura of the National Park Service according to the Denver Post.
Lou-Ann is the wife of Randy Merrell who along with her husband founded the Merrell Boot Company.
Jackson’s school, the McCallie School’s Deputy Director of Communications and Marketing, Jim Tanner, released the following statement to Channel 3 on Monday:
“As has been reported by several media outlets, McCallie eighth-grader Jackson Standefer has been missing in the Grand Canyon since late Saturday on a family trip.
Jackson and his step-grandmother were swept downstream while attempting to cross a river Saturday afternoon. Rescue efforts began quickly and are ongoing. The family remains hopeful that rescuers will find Jackson and his step-grandmother and return them safely to their families.
This morning, students were told about the situation involving Jackson and the ongoing rescue operations and hopes for rescue. The boys have been offered help if they need it as they process this situation.
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. Out of respect for the family, McCallie will not be making faculty or students available for further comment at this time.”
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