(TheConservativeTimes.org) – The Texas man whose body was discovered in Arches National Park in Utah on August 1 likely died of heat stroke, the Associated Press reported.
Ruth Hendricks Brough, the sister of 66-year-old James Bernard Hendricks of Austin, Texas said her brother likely grew disoriented due to the heat, dehydration, and the high altitude while hiking in the park on July 29.
Hendricks was on a trip across the American West on his way to spread his father’s ashes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
His vehicle was discovered by park rangers at a trailhead parking lot after Hendricks was reported overdue on August 1. During a search of the trail later that day, Hendrick’s body was found about 2-and-half miles away from where he parked.
According to his sister, the water bottle found with him was empty.
Hendricks’ was last seen alive on the morning of July 29 before setting off on a long hike. He died during a shorter hike later that same day. Temperatures at Arches National Park topped 100 degrees on July 29.
Brough said her brother’s death is a “crushing blow.” She said Hendricks loved being out in nature and was an experienced hiker.
Officials from the National Park Service and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office are investigating Hendricks’ death. While no official cause of death has been determined, the sheriff’s office said the heat and high altitude are considered “relevant factors.”
The tragedy is the second for the Hendricks family.
Ron Hendricks, another sibling, disappeared near Lake Tahoe more than 20 years ago. Earlier this year, the family was notified that Ron’s remains had been found and identified using DNA.
Brough said that her brother James had been organizing a memorial service for their brother.
Located in a high-elevation desert, Arches National Park is called a “red-rock wonderland” for its natural sandstone arch formations.
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