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Unsolved murders, missing persons in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon cold cases
Posted at 8:00 AM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 10:00:40-05

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ — Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year to take in its history and wonder. With so many footprints around the park, unfortunately, the Grand Canyon has also seen its fair share of tragedy, including some cases that remain unsolved decades later.

ABC15 is looking at some of the missing person cases and homicides that have gone cold out of the popular national park area.

Mary Begay, last seen in 1957 

mary begay.jpg
Mary Begay

Mary Begay worked at the Bright Angel Lodge and was last seen on Aug. 1, 1957. 

The 20-year-old was reportedly seen getting into a vehicle with two men and hasn’t been seen since. 

Coconino County says human remains were located just outside the Grand Canyon on Oct. 31, 1958, and were believed to belong to Begay. However, according to a report from the Arizona Daily Sun, those bones were determined to belong to another person, also considered a cold case. Further DNA testing has been done to try to identify that person.

Reports say some believed Begay started a new life elsewhere, but others say she had no reason to run away and once had regular contact with her family.

Justin Richardson, last seen in 2001

Justin Richardson
Justin Richardson

Thirteen-year-old Justin Richardson was last seen during the summer of 2001.

The teen had reportedly hiked into the woods near the Grand Canyon with friends, became separated, and was never located, Coconino County officials say.

He was last seen wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Officials told a local news site, Williams-Grand Canyon News, in 2018, that officials believe he was the victim of homicide even though he had run away from home in the past.

Some evidence was recovered by a cold case unit showing that returned to Moqui Lodge after he was last seen, but the evidence was not provided to Williams-Grand Canyon News.

Michael and Charlotte Sherman, found dead in 1977

Michael and Charlotte Sherman

Around 11 a.m. on Jan. 22, 1977, the bodies of Michael and Charlotte Sherman were found in the heavily wooded area of Powell Point in Grand Canyon National Park.

The couple had been married for about four years. Charlotte was an elementary school teacher and Michael had recently graduated dental school and had enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

They were staying in Flagstaff, checked out of their hotel, and entered the national park that morning.

Both victims had been shot and robbery appeared to have been the motive.

Visibility was low that day and it was windy, foggy and snow was lightly falling.

There were at least eight vehicles in the area, a tour bus, and a trash truck in the area at the time.

No suspects have been identified.

Adam Clayton Lyle Jones, last seen in 2011

Adam Clayton Lyle Jones
Adam Clayton Lyle Jones

According to the National Park Service, Adam Clayton Lyle Jones, 23, was last seen by family in Gulf Breeze, Florida, on March 31, 2011.

He was set to head west, but didn’t own a cell phone and only took his laptop — no other personal belongings, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

His vehicle was found abandoned by a ranger at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center (South Rim) on May 5.

There was an itinerary in the car showing Denver and cities in California marked as destinations.

He hasn’t been heard from or seen since.

William Anthony Ott, last seen in 2012

William Anthony Ott
William Anthony Ott

William Anthony Ott, a hiker from Oregon, set out for a solo hike in the area of the Hualapai Indian Reservation on April 5, 2012. 

The 65-year-old man was set to return on April 28, but hasn’t been seen since he was dropped off for his trip. 

According to a missing person flyer from Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, he did not have a cell phone with him, but he did have a GPS.

Drake Kramer, last seen in 2015

Drake Kramer
Drake Kramer

Twenty-one-year-old Drake Kramer was last seen at Bright Angel Lodge on Jan. 31, 2015.

The National Park Service says Kramer was believed to be suicidal, but was never located.

They say the search for him is in “continuous, limited mode.”

Ida Mae Lee, last seen in 1956

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Ida Mae Lee

Ida Mae Lee, 25, was last seen in 1956.

She was last known to be working at a hotel in November of that year and her whereabouts are not known.

Morgan Heimer, last seen in 2015

Morgan Heimer
Morgan Heimer

Morgan Heimer, 22, a guide for Tour West, went missing on day six of an eight-day trip in the Grand Canyon in June 2015.

Despite a nearly week-long search, no additional clues about his whereabouts have been found.

Floyd E. Roberts III, last seen in 2016

Floyd E. Roberts III

Floyd E. Roberts III of Florida was reported missing by a member of his hiking group in June 2016.

The 52-year-old had just started a multi-day backpacking trip in the Kelly Tanks (western) part of Grand Canyon National Park.

An Excessive Heat Warning was issued around the time he went missing and crews searched the area, but they were unable to locate him by ground or air.

Jonghyon Won, last seen in 2017 

Jonghyon Won
Jonghyon Won

Forty-five Jonghyon Won was reported missing after his vehicle was found at the Grand Canyon on Sept. 17, 2017. 

His car was found at Moran Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and was previously seen at the New Hance Trailhead. 

Officials say Won had no known plans to be in the area and he has not been located.