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Arizona State University professor found dead after camping trip in northern Arizona

PHOENIX — Missing Arizona State University professor Debra Schwartz was found dead Sunday morning in a canyon below the rim of Oak Creek Canyon.

Schwartz, 59, was reported missing on Friday morning after she did not check out of her campground like she was scheduled to.

A three-member technical rescue team that was looking for Schwartz located her. Two rope rappels were necessary to get in the canyon and find Schwartz. A third rappel was required to reach her body.

The search consisted of a team on horseback, three teams in off-road vehicles, six teams on the ground, a dog team, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Air Rescue Helicopter and crew, The Yavapai County Jeep Posse and three technical rescue teams with three technicians in each team.

Debra Schwartz

(Photo: Coconino County Sheriff’s Office)

On Saturday, the Coconino County Sheriff’s office received the help from the Yavapai County Search and Rescue unit and the state’s air rescue operation. Forty searchers on the ground were used Saturday, as well as eight search dogs.

Schwartz, a Tempe resident and English professor at the university, was staying by herself at the Pine Flat Campground at Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona.

Her vehicle, tent and other camping equipment was found at the Pine Flats campground.

Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies believe Schwartz left her campground for an unknown destination and failed to return.

The department, alongside the Arizona Department of Public Safety air rescue team, conducted a ground search for Schwartz.

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