A body found last week has been identified as that of a 14-year-old hiker who went missing nearly two weeks ago while hiking a remote part of the Grand Canyon during a family trip, authorities said Monday. Jackson Standefer of Chattanooga, Tenn., was crossing a creek on April 15 when he and his stepgrandmother, LouAnn Merrell, lost their footing and were swept away. The cause and manner of death for Jackson Standefer is pending, says a spokeswoman for the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office. Merrell, the wife of Merrell Boot Co. co-founder Randy Merrell, is still missing, the AP reports.
Park rangers spent days searching with a helicopter, ground crews, drones, and a motorized inflatable boat before the search was scaled back. A body believed to be Jackson's was found last Friday by a commercial river trip group and transported by helicopter to the medical examiner's office. "It's over. We're no longer looking for Jackson," says his uncle, dentist Mark McOmie. He says he sent Jackson's dental records to the medical examiner Monday morning, and an identification was made within hours. "We had a celebration of life for him last week in Chattanooga. An hour and 15 minutes. And it was awesome," says McOmie, who described his nephew as a well-loved boy who was always smiling.