(FLAGSTAFF, AZ) – On Thursday, March 4, 2013 around 10:30 pm Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies, Detectives and Search and Rescue Personnel responded to a report of a missing/overdue tourist who had been staying at the Junipine Resort in Oak Creek Canyon. A staff member of the resort reported that 50 year old Elise Heon of Canada was supposed to check out at 11:00 am Thursday morning but failed to do so. It was discovered that her wallet, identification, cell phone, clothing, eye glasses and I-pad were still in the room, and there were no signs of forced entry or foul play. It also was learned that she had not checked into the Enchanted Resort which was her next destination. A staff member of the resort also recalled that Ms. Heon had asked about nearby hiking areas. Search and Rescue units began searching the area and searched throughout the night and morning. A criminal investigation also was initiated to address the possibility of foul play. Around 8:00 am this morning Dispatch received a report from a woman in the area of Don Hoel’s cabins that she heard distress calls. This information was relayed to Search and Rescue units who were able to make verbal contact with Ms. Heon who was stranded on a narrow ledge about 700 feet from the bottom of the canyon. She is alert and communicating with rescuers, the extents of any other injuries are unknown.
Rescuers from Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff Fire Department, Sedona Fire Department, and DPS Ranger are coordinating a rescue. Ground crews are approaching from East Pockett (the end of Woody Mountain Road) while Short Haul Teams also are being inserted. The priority will be to get a rescuer to Ms. Heon’s location, assess her condition and stabilize her. The rescue teams will continue to approach her location and assess the best method to move her off the ledge to safety.
The Sheriff’s Office was in the process of sending out a Missing Person bulletin when we received the citizen’s report of hearing distress calls in the canyon. The vigilance of citizens in the area, the quick response of officers to the report of the missing person, and the early start of a search response have been key to locating Ms. Heon.