Regional Communications Center received a report Sunday of a female hiker falling in Owl Eyes Canyon. The hiker was identified as Ioana Elise Hociota, 24 of Tempe, Arizona.
Owl Eyes Canyon is located on the south side of the Colorado River, across from the Tapeats Creek and Deer Creek areas; approximately 30 miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim.
The park’s helicopter was dispatched to the area and discovered a body below a cliff in the Supai rock layer. Rangers responded to the scene via helicopter where they began their investigations and prepared the body for transport to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.
According to Hociota’s husband, while she and her hiking partner were not using an established trail, they had hiked in the area several times before, had acquired a backcountry permit from the NPS, and were carrying a satellite phone. When they missed a regular check in on Saturday evening, he became concerned there might be a problem. On Sunday, he traveled to their designated pick-up point where he met her hiking partner, learned of the fall and immediately notified the National Park Service (NPS).
The initial investigation indicates that the 300-foot fall was accidental. However, the investigation continues by the National Park Service in conjunction with the Coconino County authorities.