Grand Canyon National Park officials: recovered body may be that of 14-year-old hiker

Officials with Grand Canyon National Park said Friday that a body found on the Colorado River may be that of missing 14-year-old Jackson Standefer, a Tennessee teen who went missing with his step-grandmother.

According to a statement, the body was found by people on a commercial river trip, at River Mile 152. Park Rangers recovered the body, which was eventually taken to the Coconino County Medical Examiner, who will determine whether the body is indeed that of Standefer.

Standefer, an 8th Grade student from Chattanooga, Tenn., was reported missing on April 15 by members of his hiking party, after he reportedly lost his footing while crossing Tapeats Creek with his step-grandmother, identified as LouAnn Merrell.

"The Tapeats Creek area is a popular hiking destination," said Chief Ranger Matt Vandzura, in a phone interview. "It is a very challenging destination. It is a rocky creek, and the terrain on either side varies from sandy shores, vegetations, to steep cliff walls and rocky boulder-strewn areas."

Park rangers spent days looking for Standefer and Merrell, in a search and rescue effort. Merrell, who is from Utah, has not been found. She is the wife of the founder of Merrell Booyt Company, Randy Merrell.

NPS and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are conducting an investigation into the incident.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to the report.

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