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Lost hiker's body found

Presbyterian minister Mike Turner was found on August 31st near Browns Cliffs area trapped between boulders

The following article appeared in the September 10, 1998 edition of the Pinedale Roundup

Lost hiker's body found near Browns Cliffs
Journal entries chronicle hiker's last days while trapped between boulders

By Yasmin Braban
Roundup Reporter

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that the body found on Monday, Aug. 31, is that of Presbyterian minister Mike Turner.

A hiker found the remains in the Browns Cliffs area of the Fitzpatrick Wildemess, about 25 miles from Elkhart Park where Turner started his journey on July 30. Personal effects and the wallet found near the body indicated it was Turner.

Turner, 48, of Caldwell, Idaho, became trapped when a large rock shifted while he was walking across a boulder field, causing his legs to be trapped between two boulders, on the third day of his hike, according to the Associated Press. Unable to free himself using a camera tripod, he wrapped himself in extra clothing and his tent for warmth, and prepared meals from his backpack using nearby fuel, matches and a single-burner stove. At an elevation of 11,500 feet, Tumer melted snow to obtain liquid then tried to free a bottle of water from a rock crevice with a pair of pliers. Pinned by his legs, Turner was unable to reach water, although he was just 25 feet away from the lake's edge.

Near the body, in a Zip-Lock type plastic bag, Turner's journal was found. Turner had written personal notes to his family, and he had made a conscious effort to protect the joumal. Entries from Turner's jounal indicated that he became trapped during the afternoon of Aug. 2, and he doubted if rescue teams would find him, as he had deviated from his originally planned route, according to the Associated Press.

Turner also wrote that Andy, his labrador-mix dog, had spent a long time lying on a ledge above him. Andy was found by backpackers on Aug. 28, 17 miles east of Elkhart Park and the dog's backpack and flea collar were found among the boulders near Turner's body. The body is currently in the custody of the Fremont County Coroner in Riverton. Fremont County Coroner Larry Lee said Wednesday that following the autopsy and a review of Turner's journal, Lee determined that Turner was trapped on Aug. 2 and died on/or about Aug. 11 of exposure to the elements: hypothermia and dehydration.

So many people have expressed their heartwarming thoughts and concern during the search for Mike and worked together to try to find him. We want to thank all the hikers and backpackers who provided information to the searchers, to all the callers who have inquired about the progress of the search, to the local authorities and Search & Rescue volunteers who tirelessly pursued even the slightest hint of a lead, and to the family and friends of Mike who never gave up hope.
"We would like to thank all the hikers, Forest Service, Sheriff's Office, and of course the Search and Rescue team for all their efforts. We have felt surrounded by so much love, concern and tenderness from everyone in Sublette Co. we worked with including the businesses in town who provided so much support."

Diane Turner and family

For more information, please contact one of the following organizations:
Pinedale Ranger District, Bridger-Teton National Forest, 307-367-4326
Sublette County Sheriff's Office, 307-367-4378

Safety in the Wilderness

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