Searchers find body of missing hiker in Zion National Park

Composite image for Maurice "Moe" Harris, whose remains were found on a trail in Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, Aug. 15, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Kane County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A northern Utah man who went missing Monday while hiking in Zion National Park has been found dead, the National Park Service reported Wednesday afternoon.

Rescuers from Washington and Kane counties assemble with searchers from Zion National Park for briefing on missing hiker, Springdale, Utah, Aug. 15, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George News

A body was located with a backpack and clothing description matching that of the missing hiker, 47-year-old Maurice Harris, at the end of Deertrap Mountain Trail in Zion National Park shortly before 3 p.m. after a two-day search by multiple agencies, Aly Baltrus from Zion National Park said.

Harris was last seen at the trailhead of East Rim Trail heading toward the Weeping Rock shuttle stop in Zion Canyon on Monday at about 4 p.m.

He was reported to park officials as an overdue hiker at 10 p.m. after he failed to show up at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop to meet a friend as planned, and a search was mobilized for Tuesday morning.

A search of the East Rim Trail and Cable Mountain were completed by park service search teams, and later that afternoon by a helicopter from Grand Canyon National Park.

Overnight, the Utah Department of Public Safety flew the area looking for heat signatures while Kane County Search and Rescue searched roads and trails along Zion’s east boundary, but found no sign of the hiker.

The Utah DPS helicopter returned to the park Wednesday morning to continue the aerial search for Harris. More than 40 ground searchers conducted a methodical search using dogs, and six rescue teams from Kane and Washington counties searched different sections of the East Rim Trail, intersecting trails and side canyons.

Shortly after 1 p.m. search teams located footprints that appeared to be a solid match to Harris’s near the Deertrap Mountain Trail. They followed the tracks toward the end of the trail and found the his camera bag, a witness said.

“This is an extremely sad event. Our thoughts go out to Mr. Harris’ family and friends,” park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said Wednesday.

The remains were discovered shortly before 3 p.m., and preparations began to safely recover the body.

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Carpe Diem August 15, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    OK, so what’s the cause of his demise? No warnings?

  • Rob83 August 16, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I read somewhere else that he was from Kentucky, not Utah.

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