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Missing Person Found, Suicide Prevented

Canyon De Chelly National Monument

National Park News

Late on the afternoon of April 27th, NPS biologists called in a report that they’d encountered a young man hiking in Monument Canyon upstream of Spider Rock without a Navajo guide. They escorted the man to the point where ranger Fernando Jones could drive a vehicle to pick him up.  During the long drive out of the canyon, Jones questioned the man, but he was very evasive in his answers.  He eventually divulged his name, though, and Jones called it into Glen Canyon dispatch, which came back with a missing person report. The man was under a psychiatric watch for possible suicide and had gone AWOL from his military schooling in the Denver area.  A manhunt had been going on in western Colorado and eastern Utah, areas that the man frequently visited. He told Jones that he’d decided to go to Canyon de Chelly to kill himself by disappearing into the desert without any provisions. He drove his conspicuous vehicle, a converted ambulance, off road into the trees and walked around until he found a way down into the canyon, where he met the NPS biologists. The man was turned over to the Apache County Sheriff’s Office, where he was charged with trespass on an Indian reservation and held until he could be returned to military authorities and his family in Denver.


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