Searchers combing the sunstruck terrain surrounding the Grand Canyon for a missing Texas doctor quit their work this week after a grim discovery on the north side of the Colorado River. On Thursday, park officials announced they believed they had found the remains of 38-year-old Sarah Beadle of Fort Worth.
Beadle, an emergency room physician at the Baylor Emergency Medical Center in Keller, Tex., was reported missing Tuesday. Beadle and two children — her daughter and a nephew — failed to show at a ranch where they were scheduled to stay. The children, ages 10 and 11, were later found unharmed by another hiker.
On Facebook, Beadle’s husband, Scott, confirmed the remains belong to his wife, and also provided details of what went wrong on the hike. He said the couple’s daughter was “feeling dizzy from heat exhaustion and they had run out of water,” so his wife left the two children in a safe location while she went to find water. Another hiker came across the children, gave them water and took them to camp.
Sarah Beadle, however, did not return. “Somewhere along the trail she made a wrong turn and got lost,” her husband wrote. “The park rangers suspect she died of heat exhaustion.”
Kirby Shedlowski of the National Park Service said that Beadle was hiking on the South Kaibab trail. “It is the shorter of the two trails to reach the bottom of the Grand Canyon. However that trail has limited shade and no water accessibility on it,” Shedlowski said, according to WFAA.
Temperatures in the park during the summer regularly climb into the triple digits, and because of a lack of water on the trails, death by dehydration is not rare, according to CBSNews.
“Almost routinely — despite the canyon’s infamous heat, its lack of water, and its lethal cliffs acting as ramparts to imprison the parched hiker away from the river of life flowing within view so far below — hikers underestimate levels of heat and thirst in the Grand Canyon,” Michael Ghiglieri and Tom Myers wrote in their 2001 book “Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon.” In 2015, CityLab reported that, counting suicides, the park sees on average about a dozen fatalities every year.
Beadle was reportedly no stranger to the area, having last trekked through Grand Canyon National Park in 2002. Park officials said Thursday the human remains were found “near the Black Bridge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.”
Beadle’s older brother, Charles Lawrence Springer, said his sister had been traveling with her children through a number of national parks, including Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, according to the Associated Press.
The medical center where Beadle worked is part of Baylor Scott & White, which told WFAA that she “was a beloved member of our team and she’ll be missed by all with whom she came in contact, having worked at the medical center for a year and a half.”
Richard Bonnin, a spokesman for Emerus health systems, posted a Facebook message about Beadle that said: “Our entire organization expresses its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Beadle, a dedicated physician who will be greatly missed.”
The message said James Nichols, a doctor who had worked with Beadle in Longview, Tex., described her as “having the ER veneer we all pretend is much thicker than it really is. She was tough on the outside, but with a heart that was soft and warm.”
The Facebook post also said that Beadle was a University of Texas Medical School graduate who had completed her residency in emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.
Park officials did not release additional information about Beadle. An investigation, conducted by the National Park Service and local medical examiner, is underway.
“Sarah loved traveling with her family and sharing so many wonderful experiences with all of us,” her husband wrote on Facebook. “I thank you all for your continued prayers and support.”
Following Scott Beadle’s posting, his Facebook page was quickly swamped with testimonials and comments from friends and loved ones. Nearly 600 people had written in by early Friday.
“I had The privilege of working with Sarah Beadle when she was at GSMC’s ER. She was a wonderful doctor and such a gentle soul! She will be greatly missed,” one poster wrote. “Sarah was so loving and had a way of making me feel important through the years,” another commented.
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