The parents of a 21-year-old woman who disappeared without a trace during a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon fear their daughter’s life has been lost as officials prepare to scale back search efforts.
According to the Associated Press, Kaitlin Anne Kenney of Englewood, Colo. was last seen by friends on Friday at a camp ground at river mile 134.5on the northern side of the Colorado River. Kenney’s private group reported her missing on Saturday, according to Shannan Marcak, a spokeswoman for Grand Canyon National Park.
A relative of Kenney’s said that the family believes that she disappeared in the middle of the night, possibly venturing outside of her tent alone while trying to go to the bathroom and perhaps losing her way in the dark or falling into the icy waters. WPTV reported that the temperature dropped to below zero that night, and that Kenney had not brought her coat or survival gear with her when she left her tent.
After the report of Kenney’s disappearance, ground crews spent the weekend searching for Kenney around throughout Surprise Valley, nearby drainages and along the river, while helicopters tried to locate her from above to no avail.
But after days without receiving any new clues, Marcak announced that search resources would be reduced. On Monday, crews pored over the grounds near Kenney’s camp site but Marcak said that going forward, the search would continue in a "limited mode in which rangers and pilots will continue to search for clues when in the area."
Kenney was last seen dressed in a beige coat and pants with a black knit cap and multicolored scarf, reported the Daily Mail. Flyers bearing Kenney’s face and a description of her were still posted near her camp site and at various points around the river.
Kenney, who attended the University of Montana, was also a talented fiddle player and won first place in her category at the 2011 Colorado Fiddle Championships.
Kaitlin’s violin teacher, Denice Carter, described her as extremely outgoing and adventurous.
"She loved everyone," said Carter. "She never had anything bad to say about anyone, ever. She has a huge network of friends in different circles."
"I just cherish that girl," she added. "I've seen her do a lot of things like that, you know... hiking and different adventures. She's very adventurous."
In a Facebook post, Kaitlin’s mother Linnea asked friend to pray for the family.
“'She was our balloon let loose in a room and lived life to it's fullest, always with a smile. We were blessed to have her in our lives,’ she wrote.
People with any possible information on Kaitlin are asked to please reach out to the Grand Canyon tip line at 928-638-7767.