Donations help missing hiker’s family endure Thanksgiving, pay for search

Community donations helped the family of missing hiker Rose Backhaus spend the
Thanksgiving holiday in Utah, where searchers on Friday continued to look without success for the New Castle woman.

Leslie Robinson, a good friend of Backhaus, said $700 in donations to the Friends of Rose Backhaus account at Alpine Bank helped enable relatives to spend Thanksgiving in the Green River area. Backhaus, 54, has children and grandchildren as well as other relatives, Robinson said.

Searchers have looked for Backhaus southwest of Green River after her vehicle was found Monday at the trailhead for the popular Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons. She has been missing since Nov. 16, when she left Moab after hiking there the previous weekend.

Robinson said she also understood the donations would help cover aircraft costs to be charged to the family in connection with the search. But Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon said that while people are welcome to donate to searches, about the only time charges might be assessed would be in cases of extreme negligence by the person being sought. He doesn’t believe that applies to Backhaus.

“I think they have enough problems right now without us adding to it,” he said of her family.

About 25 searchers worked the area Friday. Rope teams rappelled down cliffs to inspect areas not visible to helicopter or ground crews, Guymon said.

Poor weather has prevented aerial searches the last two days.

Guymon said rescuers would continue to search the area intensively over the weekend and then evaluate what to do after that if they still haven’t found Backhaus. He is asking anyone who visited the trailhead between Nov. 16 and the vehicle’s discovery Monday to call the Emery County Sheriff’s Office at 435-381-2404.

Guymon said there’s no reason to suspect foul play in the case, but authorities are watching Backhaus’ credit card accounts for any activity.

Robinson is trying to keep her hopes up despite the worsening weather and the length of time Backhaus has been missing.

“The desert just kind of swallowed her up,” Robinson said.


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