UPDATE: Hiker's body found at Craters of the Moon was misidentified
Authorities have reported that the body of a missing hiker was originally misidentified. Searchers recovered the body of one of two hikers missing in Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve late last Wednesday. Initially the body was identified as Dr. Jodean “Jo” Elliott-Blakeslee. However, the Butte County Coroner revealed clues on Thursday that further identification measures were needed. The coroner then requested assistance from the state medical examiner. The medical examiner made “probable positive identification” based on dental records that the body recovered on Wednesday belonged to Amelia Linkert, not Jodean Elliott-Blakeslee.
Jo Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, a physician at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Ontario, and Amelia Linkert, 69, a special education teacher who retired from Lowell Scott Middle School in Meridian, were supposed to return on Saturday, two days after they arrived at the monument southwest of Arco.
The two were reported missing last Monday morning. Their vehicle, containing their two labradoodle dogs, was found at the Tree Molds Trailhead parking lot, a popular trail area in the Monument. Friends and relatives described the women as experienced in the outdoors and unlikely to leave their dogs alone for long.
Ground crews, search dogs and a helicopter continued extensive efforts to locate Elliott-Blakeslee until high winds and rain on Sunday prompted search managers to scale back operations. At that point, many resources and members of the incident management team were released.
National Parks Service Public Information Officer Traci Weaver said that limited search activities will continue until Dr. Elliott-Blakeslee is found.