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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The family of Jackson Standefer issued this statement overnight about the ongoing search in the Grand Canyon for the McCallie 8th grader:

We would like to thank everyone from around the world who have offered encouragement, support and prayers during this difficult time as we continue to search for Jackson Standefer and LouAnn Merrell. The search for Jackson and LouAnn continues, and the overwhelming support has helped us remain positive throughout this process.

The National Park Service has been working around the clock on rescue efforts since the beginning of this ordeal, and the Standefer and Merrell families are grateful for their tireless dedication, hard work and support.

In an effort to bolster the existing search efforts, the Merrell shoe company has been working over the past several hours to provide climbers and rescuers to continue the search. These volunteers will help speed the search efforts, and we are grateful for their assistance.

In addition, the Standefer family is flying in specialists from Chattanooga-based Skytec Aerial Data Specialists with a Sky Ranger military-grade drone equipped with extra capabilities to aid in the search. We remain hopeful that these efforts will help us find Jackson Standefer and LouAnn Merrell very soon.

Thank you as always for respecting the family’s need for privacy as we work through this difficult time. Your continued love, prayer and support are greatly appreciated.

Lee Van Dorp


GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Arizona (AP) – The parent organization of the hiking boot company co-founded by a man whose family is missing in the Grand Canyon says the company continues to be hopeful.

Wolverine Worldwide executive vice president Jim Zwiers said the company’s thoughts, prayers and hearts are with the Merrell family.

Lou-Ann Merrell and her stepgrandson, 14-year-old Jackson Standefer, went missing while crossing a creek near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on Saturday. Merrell, along with her husband, Randy Merrell, who co-founded the Merrell Boot Co., were on the trip with the boy and his mother.

Zwiers also said in the written statement that the company was grateful to the searchers and that he continues to be hopeful.

The family had hiked down to Tapeats Creek when Lou-Ann Merrell and the boy lost footing. The search for them includes three teams, a drone, a helicopter and an inflatable motor raft.

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Comment on this Story

  • ImOpining

    Hoping that this ends well. Prayers for the family and the searchers.

  • Griselle House

    Prayers for the family. I hope they find them both alive!

  • julie justice

    God speed…

  • Terri Thayer

    I hope for the best..

  • prtyfdup

    Horrible….I too hope for the best and pray they will be found.

  • Jenny McCready

    I pray they are found safe and sound.

  • Shayne Barker

    Praying for the happy reunion of these two with their family

  • Paulette Lancaster

    I hope they are found soon. It must be very hard worrying … But I’ll keep them in my prayers.

  • Lightning BOLT

    I have hope to both families but I do have some theories of what probably could have happened to them both. It is sad that people have to die but it is worse dying when no one knows where you are at. Once again I have hope for both families.

  • Lightning BOLT

    I wouldn’t just assume that the body you found is Jackson. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be sad and not have a funeral for the person. I’m just saying that there is a chance that could be someone else and Jackson is still out.