UI Ph.D. student fell 500 feet to his death in Utah, authorities say

An investigation into Jonathon Hogue’s death is ongoing, San Juan County officials say.

Marissa Payne, Managing Editor

University of Iowa Ph.D. student Jonathon Hogue, who was reported missing in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park earlier this week, fell approximately 500 feet to his death, according to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office in Utah.

Authorities said in a news release his body was found at the base of the Green River Overlook in the Island in the Sky District of the national park. His vehicle was located at the overlook on Sunday, and a search for Hogue started Tuesday.

Hogue, 33, was found dead and his body was recovered Friday. An investigation of the incident is ongoing.

“Search and rescue and recovery were a combined effort of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, National Park Service, Grand and San Juan County Search and Rescue teams and the Department of Public Safety Helicopter crew,” the release said. “… Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Hogue.”

Hogue was a graduate teaching assistant at the UI earning a Ph.D. in geography, the university said in a tweet. 

Hogue “is a hiker and backpacker who is known to hike long distances, including off trail and scrambling,” according to a Canyonlands National Park Facebook post. “His dream was to be a park ranger.”

According to the National Park Service, the Colorado River and its tributaries split the Canyonlands National Park into four districts:  Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. The park spans 337,598 acres and preserves a rugged, rocky landscape in southeast Utah’s high desert.

Island in the Sky rests on sheer sandstone cliffs more than 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain and contains hiking trails and four-wheel drive roads, according to the National Park Service.

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