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Missing hiker's body misidentified

By Staff Writer
Published On: Oct 01 2013 12:45:11 PM CDT
Missing women

Dr. Jo Elliot-Blakeslee, front, and Amy Linkert. Courtesy of Matt Kerkow.

ARCO, Idaho -

Authorities said they misidentified the hiker who died at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Two women, Jodean Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, and Amy Linkert, 70, left Boise on Sept. 19 and did not return home as scheduled on Saturday.

A body was found Wednesday afternoon southwest of the Tree Mold Trail parking lot. Officials at first identified the body as Elliott-Blakeslee, but on Friday evening said it was actually the body of Linkert.

"Ongoing investigation on Thursday by the Butte County coroner revealed clues that the body found on Wednesday required further identification measures," said Traci Weaver, public information officer with the National Parks Service. "The coroner requested assistance of the state medical examiner late Thursday. Late this (Friday) afternoon, the medical examiner made probable positive identification based on dental records that the body recovered on Wednesday was Amelia Linkert, not Jodean Elliott-Blakeslee."

Weaver said searchers are still confident about their assessment of what led to the hiker's death, which was exposure.

They had earlier said one of the women had a medical problem that may have prevented her from going on, and the other helped the one in distress and then went to look for help.

The women had parked their trailer at a campground in Arco. Their dogs, cell phones and other personal items were found inside their pickup. He believes the women were making a day-trip hike and there was no indication of foul play.

The search will for Elliott-Blakeslee will continue Saturday with more than 50 searchers.

Due to the search efforts, Craters of the Moon management have postponed the Run the Rift 5K indefinitely. It was originally scheduled for Saturday.

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