Public Safety

Iowa student found dead after going missing in Utah's Canyonlands National Park


A 33-year-old University of Iowa graduate student was found dead Friday in Utah's Canyonlands National Park. 

Jonathon Hogue's body was found just hours after the national park posted information on its Facebook page that Hogue had been missing, last seen March 10 at the park's Green River Overlook at Island in the Sky.

Details about where and how Hogue was found were not available Friday night. His death is under investigation by the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in Utah.

Hogue was a gradate teaching assistant at the UI working toward a Ph.D. in geography, the university said.

"We are saddened by the loss of a student from the Hawkeye family," Vice President and Dean of Students Angie Reams said in a statement sent to UI students, faculty and staff Friday evening. "Our thoughts are with Jonathon's family, friends and loved ones."

According to the National Park Service website, Canyonlands is Utah’s largest national park, with 337,598 acres of land and water, and is divided into three major districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze.

The Island in the Sky mesa sits on the north end of the park near Moab, Utah, and rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding Canyonlands terrain. The website also shows a non-emergency alert stating the Green River Overlook at Island in the Sky “is temporarily closed” but does not state why.

Hogue’s planned itinerary was unknown, according to the national park.


“(Hogue) is known to visit state and national parks, hike long distances and may go off trail and/or scramble,” the park posted on its Facebook page. “His dream was to be a park ranger.”

There was snow on the ground across the park leftover from winter storms, but skies have been clear or cloudy with no precipitation for most of March. Some roads and trails in the park are closed because of snowy or muddy conditions, according to the park’s website.

Temperatures at the park since March 10 have seen highs in the 40s and 50s, with lows mostly in the mid-30s but falling below freezing every night since Wednesday. 

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