Questions Persist After Missing Hiker Found Dead
Jo Elliott-Blakeslee found a mile from companion's body
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2013 6:15 AM CDT
Craters of the Moon National Monument   (Wikipedia Commons)

(Newser) – Craters of the Moon National Monument got a special OK to search for missing hiker Jo Elliott-Blakeslee during the shutdown. And on Tuesday night, the 63-year-old's body was finally found during a helicopter search, about a mile from where that of her hiking companion was located on Sept. 25. Amy Linkert, 69, died from exposure, dehydration, and hypothermia, KTVB reports, and Elliott-Blakeslee likely died from similar causes, the park superintendent says, though official word from the coroner is still pending.

But a number of unanswered questions remain: The Idaho Statesman reports that the women left two dogs in their pickup truck, suggesting they didn't plan to be gone for very long. How and why the women were separated remains unclear as well. "We'll never know probably exactly what happened," the superintendent adds, but "a lot of the searchers that have been here will tell you that it's probably the most difficult country there is to navigate, as far as just the sheer undulation of the landscape, lots of cracks and crevasses, sharp rock, loose rock." The intense search effort saw 6,000 volunteer search hours last week.