May 09, 2016 08:19 AM EDT
Arizona State University Professor Debra Schwartz Found Dead Near Oak Creek Canyon!
The body of missing Arizona State University Professor Deb Schwartz was discovered near Oak Creek Canyon on Sunday morning, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said.
ASU professor Debra Schwartz went missing from a campground in the Coconino National Forest Wednesday, May 4. She was last seen in the Pine Flat Campground in Oak Creek Canyon, Coconino National Forest south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Schwartz's body was found Sunday morning just a half-mile from her Oak Creek Canyon, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said.
A three-member technical rescue team left no stone unturned while searching for an unnamed slot canyon below the rim of Oak Creek Canyon. Official said they finally discovered the body around 11 a.m. Authorities had been looking for Debra Schwartz, 59, since Friday.
According to Gerry Blair with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, the technical rescue team completed two rappels in order to make their way into the canyon to a location where they could see the body. The rescue team then completed a third rappel to reach the body, reports ABC15.
Rescue efforts not only involved a ground search but also several aerial searches Friday afternoon.
More than 40 officials, some equipped with search dogs made up of search-and-rescue teams from Coconino and Yavapai sheriff's departments looked high and low for Schwartz at Oak Creek Canyon on Saturday.
The campground staff initially tipped off Schwartz's disappearance Friday.
Campground staff informed the sheriff's department that Schwartz failed to check out her camping space. According to the officials, the ASU English professor was slated to stay at Pine Flat from Tuesday to Thursday.
In a statement from the university, Mark Searle, ASU executive vice president and provost said, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague, Debra Schwartz, who devoted her career to helping others find the joy of new-found knowledge and creative ability."
"Her dedication was reflected in one of her last conversations, words of encouragement to a student from this past semester and an offer to stay in touch over the summer. Our hearts go out to Debra's family, and to them we offer the comfort of knowing that she helped enable so many to learn and understand the world a little better," Searle added.
When Coconino County officials located Schwartz's campsite, her car, tent and camping gear on Friday, May 6, it appeared she left her campsite and never returned.
According to reports on AZ Dailysun, the body will be moved to Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office where authorities will attempt to find out the cause as well as manner of death.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Debra Schwartz's family and friends.
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