Search for Missing Woman Stymied by Shutdown

And more unfortunate fallout...
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2013 8:10 AM CDT
Shutdown Stymies Search for Woman Missing in Nat'l Park
Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho   (Wikimedia Commons)

One potentially tragic consequence of the government shutdown: With 16 employees of Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho now on furlough, the search for a missing woman last seen there has slowed dramatically. Jo Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, went hiking with Amy Linkert, 69, on Sept. 19; they were reported missing last Monday when Elliott-Blakeslee didn't arrive at work. The body of Linkert, who is believed to have died from exposure, was found last week, CBS News reports. Now Elliott-Blakeslee's family is asking experienced hikers to help search for her, KBOI reports—the station notes that federal workers can't even volunteer to do their jobs during a shutdown. More unfortunate consequences:

  • Children with cancer are being blocked from starting clinical trials, officials say, since federal health employees are also on furlough. Each week of the shutdown, 200 patients won't be able to start their clinical trials; 15% of these patients are expected to be children, and 33% of those children (or 10 per week for as long as the shutdown lasts) have cancer. Ongoing clinical trials will continue, however, ABC News reports.
  • The CDC has also furloughed employees, so it can't track multi-state disease outbreaks. And its seasonal flu program will be halted, which might hinder its ability to create next year's flu shot, a spokesperson says.
  • The Washington Post has a list of the nine most painful consequences. Among them: Of the more than 2 million federal workers whose paychecks might be delayed, 800,000 might never actually get paid.
  • If the shutdown lasts more than a couple of weeks, veterans may not receive pension payments or see their disability claims paid. Disability benefits for non-veterans could also be interrupted.
  • The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutritional program could keep running through October in many states, but could shut down after just one week in some. And Head Start programs, which provide health, nutrition, and other services to low-income kids, will gradually start closing.
  • NPR runs down the shutdown's many impacts on science and health. Workers are furloughed and programs are being shut down at the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, the FDA, NASA, the US Geological Survey, NOAA, the EPA, the Forest Service, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (And as you probably have heard, the National Zoo turned off its "panda cam.")
One other impact? A planned Ku Klux Klan rally at Gettysburg won't be happening. (More government shutdown stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.