Weather shift forces halt to search for missing woman

A turn in the weather forced search aircraft to end their work before the end of daylight Wednesday and could jeopardize Thanksgiving Day efforts to find a New Castle woman
last seen in Utah a week and a half ago.

Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon said the weather started to get stormy Wednesday in the Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons area, where the search for Rose Backhaus, 54, is focusing. Backhaus was last seen in Moab on Nov. 16 but her vehicle was found Monday at a trailhead accessing the two canyons, southwest of Green River.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, search dogs and ground crew remained in the canyons.

“We’ll see what happens the rest of the evening and then start over (today),” he said.

Rain is in the forecast, however, and wet weather would force searchers out of the canyons because of flood danger.

Guymon believes the fact that numerous hikers and searchers haven’t seen Backhaus suggests she may have taken a wrong turn while trying to follow the route connecting the tops of the two canyons. She also may have fallen somewhere off the trail, he said.

Guymon said Backhaus left heavy clothing in her vehicle, and rescuers think she may have been wearing only a light fleece jacket and hiking pants.

“It’s cold and getting colder,” he said.

“I don’t know that she’s got enough food, water and clothing to keep her sustained that long.”

He said a few searchers would be off for the holiday, but others would keep doing what they could, weather-permitting.

“And then we’ll have all our people back on Friday,” he said.


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