Navajo County Sheriff: Arizona Senator Chester Crandell found dead while horseback riding

Heber-Overgaard - Arizona State Senator Chester Crandell has died, according to Navajo County Sheriff's officials.

Hunter Moore, spokesman for Navajo County, said the Senator was found by family members Monday afternoon near Heber-Overgaard, Ariz., after he didn't return from a morning horseback ride.

Moore said the Senator left around 10 a.m. on what investigators reportedly were told was a "new colt," according to the release.

Family members found Crandell around 2 p.m. along the route he has described before leaving and called 9-1-1. Family members reportedly said the Senator was deceased when they found him.

Medical examiners are working to determine how the Senator died, said Navajo County Sheriff, KC Clark in an emailed released.

"This is a tragic loss for the family and friends of Senator Crandell. Chester was a good man and a strong voice for rural Arizona. I wish to express our deepest sympathy to his family. May God bless them at this time," said Clark.

I am deeply saddened today to learn of the tragic and sudden passing of State Senator Chester Crandell. A fifth-generation native of Arizona, avid rancher, legislator and - above all - a gentleman with a tangible love for Arizona and those he served, Chester will be greatly missed.

"My thoughts and prayers - along with those of the entire state - are with Chester's dear wife, Alice, and their family during this difficult time," said Governor Jan Brewer in a released statement. She also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff from sunrise Tuesday through Monday, Aug. 11 to honor him.

Funeral services have not been announced.

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