Body of missing hiker found near Goblin Valley

The body of a Colorado woman missing since November was found last weekend in a slot canyon in eastern Utah.

Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon told the Associated Press that three hikers found the body of Rose Backhaus in the upper Chute Canyon area Saturday. Law enforcement officials recovered the body the next day.

Backhaus, who was 54 when she disappeared, was last seen Nov. 16 when she checked out of the La Quinta Inn in Moab and was believed to be heading to southeastern Utah for a day of hiking.

Crews searched for Backhaus for about a month after she was reported missing and conducted intermittent searches, when weather permitted, in the months following.

The sheriff told the Associated Press that Backhaus, of New Castle, likely became lost in the canyons and died of exposure.

“It looks like she got to a point where she couldn’t continue down and she couldn’t get back up where she came from,” Guymon told The Salt Lake Tribune. Backhaus was found near a 40- to 50-foot drop-off, he said.

Medical examiners determined she died of exposure and did not indicate she had any broken bones or debilitating injuries, Guymon said.

Backhaus was believed to be hiking in Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons. Her vehicle was found Nov. 24 in the Little Wild Horse Canyon parking lot near Goblin Valley State Park.

She apparently hiked up Bell Canyon and took a wrong turn where the canyon opens up, Guymon said. She likely continued too far west and turned into the drainage rather than into Little Wild Horse Canyon.

Search crews used planes, helicopters, and dogs, to try to locate Backhaus. More than 40 officers from Utah law-enforcement agencies, as well as friends, family and other volunteers scoured the canyons in the rugged 3,600-acre park.