Witness reports aid search for New Castle woman, 54

Utah rescue crews on Monday continued their search for a New Castle woman who has been missing for more than two weeks.

Over the weekend, searchers received some reassurance that they are focusing on the right area when witnesses came forward to say they saw Rose Backhaus, 54, leave a parking lot and start hiking the Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons loop trail Nov. 16. That was the day she was last seen.

Backhaus’ vehicle was found Nov. 24 at that trailhead, west of Goblin Valley State Park and southwest of Green River. Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon said the witnesses — an older person and a nephew — hiked at a fast pace up Little Wild Horse Canyon but never caught up to Backhaus or saw her coming from Bell Canyon. Guymon said Backhaus may have ended up going off the route, possibly into more open country between the tops of the two canyons.

The witnesses later identified Backhaus based on her photograph and vehicle.

Guymon said searchers also have found a footprint and some nearby items, including a stick of lip balm. He said searchers planned to focus their efforts in the area of that discovery, but that the lead isn’t necessarily strong. The footprint was smaller but was old and didn’t show a tread, and the lip balm could have belonged to anybody, he said.

“But at this point we’ll follow up on anything,” he said.

Guymon said a command post was moved from the trailhead Monday, but probably about 15 people and a dog team continued the search. After an intensive aerial search over the area last week, a helicopter left the scene, but rescuers plan to use it again, Guymon said.

Anyone else with information in the case can call the Emery County Sheriff’s Department at 435-381-2404.


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