Search efforts are continuing at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Southern Idaho, despite the partial government shutdown. The search to locate Dr. Jodean “Jo” Elliott-Blakeslee, who was reported missing Tuesday, September 24, continues. The body of her hiking partner Amy Linkert was found on Wednesday, September 25 in a remote location of the National Park Service Unit.
Even with the shutdown beginning yesterday, Craters of the Moon employees, joined by a Butte County Sheriff Office Deputy, continued search activities Dr. Elliott-Blakeslee is believed to have headed out from the Tree Molds trailhead for a short hike without food, water, or protective clothing on Sept. 19. Her hiking partner, Amelia “Amy” Linkert was discovered on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Officials believe dehydration and hypothermia likely led to her death. “After last weekend’s big effort to locate Dr. Jo, we had intended to scale back search operations given the environmental conditions we have been experiencing,” said Park Superintendent Dan Buckley.
“The probability of finding her alive has diminished, but we are committed to continuing the search until we find Dr. Jo and bring closure to her family, friends and all those who have been involved in this search,” he stated.
Craters of the Moon has 19 employees. It was planned to have all but three of those employees on furlough during the shutdown. With the search still on-going the park received permission to keep ten additional employees on as “excepted” and continue with the search, now concentrated in an area of the park known as the Derelict Lava Flow. Ted Stout, the park’s Chief of Interpretation and Public Information Officer for this search said “the ten people working the search are experienced rangers, in top physical condition. The terrain in the park can be brutal; it, along with the adverse weather conditions we have been experiencing, it has already taken a toll on searchers and search dogs who have been working to locate our missing subject.”
Park staff, along with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, are working with the family of the missing hiker to organize a volunteer search operation beginning this Friday. The family has set up a web page at www.Facebook.com/SearchForDrJo for those who would like to learn more about the on-going search effort and how to help. Further questions and requests for information related to the search should be
directed to Ted Stout, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve Public Information Officer at 208.527.1330.