17-Year-Old Girl Dies While Hiking With Friends In Utah

Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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A teen girl from Utah slipped and fell 30 feet to her death while hiking the Moab Rim Trail on Friday, police say.

Around 4:10 pm on Friday, a 17-year-old girl from Moab, Utah, fell off a cliff while hiking in the Kane Creek Canyon area with friends, the Moab Police Department (MPD) said in a statement. Grand County School District (GCSD) identified her as Zoe McKinney, a senior at Grand County High School (GCHS).

After McKinney’s friends witnessed her fall, they called 911 and attempted to hike down to help her, MPD stated. McKinney was dead when emergency crews located her body, police said.

MPD, Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County Search and Rescue, Moab Fire, and EMS all responded to the area to help recover McKinney, according to the MPD statement. Police said rescue crews worked using harnesses and climbing gear for over two hours to locate and retrieve her body.

“We recognize the devastating impact the loss of a beloved young woman and friend has in this small community, but know that wonderful people of Moab will band together to support and comfort her family and friends at this time,” MPD stated. (RELATED: Elementary Principal, PE Teacher Fired For Having Sex On Campus)

Moab, Utah, has an approximate population of 5,317, according to the results of the 2020 U.S. Census.

“Our hearts still ache tremendously for this beautiful young woman’s family and friends,” MPD added in a statement on Sunday. “God Bless, and please reach out to us for any needs. Most of us have too much experience with this type of tragedy and would happily share what we do to cope.”


GCHS is hosting a vigil in honor of McKinney on Monday, according to the school’s website, which included a photo showing she was a GCHS cheerleader.

“The school community is grieving with Zoe’s family and will provide love and support in any way we can,  including having therapists available at school on Monday,” GCSD stated. “Zoe was a remarkable student, and we will honor her memory throughout the remainder of this senior year.”