The Centennial High School senior, an experienced hiker and Eagle Scout was reported missing Wednesday afternoon by his Boy Scout troop on their second day of a four day backpacking trip in the park. A search was immediately launched by the National Park Service Wednesday that continued Thursday with dog search teams from Zion K-9 Search and Rescue, ground search teams, and a helicopter from Zion HeliTack. Two search and rescue dogs alerted their handlers on a ravine east of the Hop Valley Trail and a ground search team entered the heavy brush covered ravine and located the body about 400 feet from the trail.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation in cooperation with the National Park Service, a standard procedure in fatality cases in Zion National Park. The cause of death will be determined by the state office of the Medical Examiner.
Corey is the youngest of four children of Boyd R. & Suzanne B. Buxton. He achieved Eagle status as a member of Scout Troop 462 sponsored by The Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints. For his Eagle project Corey collected backpacks and school supplies for needy and homeless children. He was an experienced hiker and had earned a Boy Scouts of America merit badge in wilderness survival. He had completed many hikes in Zion but had never attempted the Hop Valley Trail.
His mother called her son a "gentle giant" at 6'3" who had played two years for the Bulldogs volleyball team. He was a member of Centennial High's first Robotic team that designed a robot to compete for a national title in Dallas earlier this year. Corey enjoyed volleyball, photography, geography and history. He was planning for a career in history and geography, she said.