Body found in Grand Canyon likely 14-year-old boy swept away with step-grandmother

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — A body found Friday at Grand Canyon National Park is believed to be that of a 14-year-old boy who went missing after he and his step-grandmother were swept away by a raging creek.

On April 15, Jackson Standefer and his step-grandmother, LouAnn Merrell, were crossing the creek when they lost their footing and slipped into the water, according to the Times Free Press. But after a multi-day effort, the search was called off.

On April 28, the boy’s body was discovered during a commercial river trip and was taken to a local medical examiner for identification.

“Initial information indicates the body is that of missing 14-year-old hiker Jackson Standefer,” park officials said in a statement.

Merrell has still not been found.

Mark McOmie, Standefer’s uncle, reacted to the discovery in a Facebook post on Friday, thanking people for their prayers.

“The National Park Service contacted the family today. They believe Jackson’s body was found today in the Colorado River,” he wrote. “We appreciate all of those that have prayed for Jackson and our family, it has been truly remarkable. Until a positive identification is made we have no further comment.”

Standerfer was an eighth-grade student at an all-boys boarding school in Chattanooga, Tennessee.