OURAY – A Ouray woman fell to her death while hiking near Cascade Falls on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Zina Lahr’s body was discovered by hikers assisting in a search effort on Thursday morning, Nov. 21, said Ouray Police Chief Justin Perry.
Lahr, 23, had been missing since about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, but the Ouray Police Department did not receive a report of a missing person until about 10 p.m.
The officer on duty, Justin Crandall, along with about 10 other individuals, searched for Lahr in deteriorating weather conditions until about 1:30 a.m.
The search focused on a segment of the Ouray Perimeter Trail between the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Cascade Falls, where Lahr was known to frequently hike. She also enjoyed exploring the steep cliffy area around the Two Kid Mine in the same vicinity.
“It must have been known that Zina frequented the Perimeter Trail,” Perry said. “Logically it was the first place to search because of her deep interest with the area. She loved the outdoors and nature. She was a very spiritual person.”
Crandall called off the official search at around 1:30 a.m.; wintery weather conditions made it “fairly unsafe to be out on the trails,” Perry explained. But a group of Lahr’s friends continued searching for her until about 3 a.m.
When Perry came on duty a few hours later, he sent out a WENS alert to all local authorities and activated a target notification – a reverse 911 that sends a phone message to residents within a half square mile of the last known location of the missing person. Calls were sent out every three minutes to about 150 phones in Ouray, Perry said.
The Ouray Mountain Rescue Team launched a search effort, joined by several individuals who had received the target notification.
Two of those individuals were combing that portion of the trail that Lahr was known to frequent, “and amazingly, almost miraculously, were able to see her, about 150 yards on the high side of the trail below the cliffs,” Perry said. “They saw one piece of her clothing below the snow.”
Shortly after Lahr’s body was spotted, it began to snow so heavily that she was almost completely covered. The Ouray Mountain Rescue Team was tasked with her recovery. “It was a phenomenal response,” Perry said.
The OPD has since conducted multiple interviews, and Perry said, “There is nothing so far that suggests foul play or suspicious activity” or anything other than an accident at this time.
There is also no indication that Lahr’s death was a suicide. Autopsy results are pending.
Lahr lived with her mother, Cynthia Lahr, and grandmother, Patricia Lahr in Ouray, and was her grandmother’s caregiver during the day while her mother was at work.
According to Lahr’s friend Sean Del Land, she had left the house Wednesday to take some personal time while a hospice nurse was providing respite care for her grandmother.
“She was an explorer and an adventurer,” Del Land said. “For the people who knew Zina, this is a tragic loss. No one questions her spirit and soul and what a wonderful life she lived. It will be really hard not to have her around anymore.”
Lahr’s death on Nov. 20 was the second in Ouray, and the fifth in Ouray County this week.
On Sunday, Nov. 17, two miners died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an accident at the Revenue-Virginius Mine. On the same day, the body of an elderly man was found at his place of residence in Ouray. The following day, an elderly woman living north of Ouray also died in her home. Foul play is not suspected in either case.
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POSTED ON NOV. 21 AT 2:34 P.M.
Body of Ouray Woman Found in Ouray
OURAY - Multiple sources confirm that a Ouray woman has fallen to her death.
The body of Zina Lahr, 23, was discovered by a hiker this morning in the vicinity of Cascade Falls, sources say, ending a multiagency search effort that had been underway since the previous night.
Lahr, a Ouray native, had been missing since Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. She lived with her mother, Cynthia Lahr, and grandmother, Patricia Lahr in Ouray, and was her grandmother’s caregiver.
According to Lahr’s friend Sean Del Land, she had left the house to take some personal time and run some errands while a hospice nurse was providing respite care for her grandmother.
It is apparent that while she was out, she decided to go for a hike. One of her favorite places to go was a segment of the Ouray Perimeter Trail, between the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Cascade Falls. She also enjoyed exploring around the Two Kid Mine in the same vicinity.