Search For Missing Hiker At Craters Of The Moon National Monument Continues

The rugged and cave-riddled landscape of Craters of the Moon National Monument has complicated the search for a missing hiker there. NPS photos.

While attention the past two weeks has focused on Washington and when the National Park System might reopen in full, searchers doggedly continued their efforts to find a hiker who went missing in Craters of the Moon National Monument last month.

The searchers were slowed but not stopped by poor weather as they looked for Jodean Elliot-Blakeslee, 69, of Boise, Idaho. She and Amelia "Amy" Linkert headed into the Tree Molds area of the monument on September 19 for what park officials believe was to be a day hike. The two were reported missing when they didn't return, and on September 25 Ms. Linkert's body was found in the middle of the lava fields, according to Craters of the Moon Superintendent Dan Buckley.

Last weekend more than 20 searchers went into the monument's rugged 'lavascape' in each day, with approximately 50 searchers assisting on Sunday. Searchers included National Park Service and Butte County Sheriff’s office staff, family members and friends and numerous volunteers from across the state.

In addition, a team from the Silver Sage Grotto caving group and several search dog teams were in the field.

By carefully grid-searching ever-widening areas the searchers have eliminated some areas from consideration and provided promising new leads in other areas, a park release said.

According to a post on a Facebook page devoted to the effort, "(T)he search for Dr. Jo has covered thousands of miles thanks to the extraordinary efforts of hundreds of search volunteers, Butte County and Monument personnel. Planes, helicopters and spotting scopes have been used and every step has been electronically recorded. Limited aerial photography was attempted but the images that were captured lacked sufficient resolution necessary for virtual searching."

The local communities of Arco and Carey generously provided hot food to help sustain the search effort. “The support from the local communities has been tremendous and the searchers have been most appreciative”, said Superintendent Buckley.