Sheriff: One of two missing women died of exposure

Sheriff: One of two missing women died of exposure »Play Video
Dr. Jo Elliot-Blakeslee, left, and Amy Linkert

(***UPDATE***) - This story has been updated since its original publication. The body that was found was misidentified. For the latest click here.

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- The body of one of the Boise women missing at Craters of the Moon National Monument has been recovered, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

On Thursday, the Butte County Sheriff's Office, said the body is that of Dr. Jo Elliott-Blakeslee. She died of exposure.

Family members told KBOI 2News on Wednesday that Amy Linkert, 69, and Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, left Boise Sept. 13 and failed to return Friday, Sept. 20. Elliott-Blakeslee was found during an aerial search over the park, officials said in a news release.

The victim was found a mile and a half west of the Tree Molds Trail and two miles southwest of the Tree Molds parking lot.

Employees who work with Elliot-Blakeslee called police Tuesday when she failed to show up at work.

Officials say a search effort was launched Tuesday morning as soon as the park was notified the two were overdue.

Police say they found receipts from the Craters of the Moon visitor's center indicating that they were at the monument on Tuesday. A couple of days later, they were spotted at a campground in Arco, which is about 18 miles away from Craters.

"It's pretty damn scary...you just don't know....you don't know what's happened," said John Elliott, Jo's uncle. "If somebody came in and kidnapped them and whisked them away to China or they're in the bottom of some cave down there or part of the ledge of a mountain they were walking on just gave way....you just don't know."

The search is being concentrated in a five square mile area on the south end of the monument near the Tree Molds, Broken Top Loop, and Wilderness Trails.

The Butte County Sheriff's office says the Idaho National Guard have sent two Blackhawk helicopters for an aerial search.

"They were both missionaries, they're both avid hikers, survivalists, this is very strange," said Tammy Kerklow, Amy's niece. "To have their phones, I mean I know they probably wouldn't work in the caves but to leave them in the truck, that's strange to us."

The women's dogs, cell phones and other items were found inside their pickup.

Elliot-Blakeslee works at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario as a staff physician. Linkert is a retired school teacher.