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Coworker says young couple found dead at Grand Canyon was "planning a future"

Posted: 9:20 PM, Oct 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-23 13:20:24Z

So many questions still surround the deaths of a young Valley couple found dead at the Grand Canyon. 

Hikers found the bodies of Garret Bonkowski and Jessica Bartz on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon earlier this month .  

“She was just a joy,” said Sally Liddicoat, co-owner of Weichert Realtors in Peoria. “Just such a fun personality. Just a nice, nice person.”

Liddicoat first met Bartz when the 22-year-old enrolled in her real estate school about a year and a half ago. The eager student went on to become an agent -- and a close friend.

“She was kind of like one of my kids,” said Liddicoat.

Bartz was often sharing stories about her boyfriend, 25-year-old Garret Bonskowski.

“She just adored him, she’d talk about it all the time,” Liddicoat said.

Liddicoat says the two planned to move to Florida this past summer for Bonkowski’s work. They had even planned to help transfer her real estate license.

“I’m reaching out to her, our referral company was reaching out to her, and we weren’t getting any response at all which was really strange,” said Liddicoat.

Now, a few months later, we're learning more about Bartz’s bizarre silence.

The couple was found dead earlier this month below Trailview 2 Overlook along West Rim Drive on the South Rim. The National Park Service believes they entered the park in mid-September and hoping the public can provide more information.

“People are just too special to let things slide away and especially when we don’t even know what happened,” said Liddicoat, who also has a message for Bartz’s family. Liddicoat also lost a daughter and a granddaughter and knows the pain is unimaginable.

“I want them to know that people are praying for them and thinking about them and how much she was such a joy to people and loved,” Liddicoat said.

Anyone with information can CALL or TEXT the ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009.  

  • Go online at www.nps.gov/ISB and click “Submit a Tip.”
  • Email nps_isb@nps.gov
  • Message on Facebook @InvestigativeServicesNPS or Twitter @SpecialAgentNPS

You can remain anonymous.

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