Days after going missing while camping in Death Valley, Arizona congressional aide Alexander Lofgren was found dead. His girlfriend, however, was found alive and was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.
A search and rescue team found two missing campers, Alexander Lofgren and Emily Henkel, on Thursday, April 8 at around 11:40 a.m. local time. The pair had actually been spotted the day before using aerial reconnaissance in the Willow Creek area of Death Valley National Park.
Lofgren was working for Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva at the time of his passing. Grijalva took to social media on Friday, April 9 to send his condolences and mourn the loss of his staffer.
“Words cannot begin to describe how heartbroken I am over the death of Alex Lofgren, a dedicated caseworker in my district office,” he wrote.
“Alex will forever be a part of our family, and my heart is with his family, his loving partner Emily, and his colleagues who mourn him today.”
“After serving our country in Afghanistan, he came home to Arizona to serve veterans right here in southern Arizona as a caseworker in my office. The passion he dedicated to his work each day touched countless lives. No matter the situation, Alex met those he helped with a smiling face, a caring heart and unrivaled empathy.”
Though Lofgren and Henkel are both from Tuscon, Arizona, they left Helendale, California for their camping trip in Death Valley. After not returning when they were supposed to, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office began a search for the pair on Tuesday, April 6.
They called both Lofgren’s and Henkel’s cellphones and checked all the hotels in the area, but they weren’t able to find them.
Officials were eventually informed Lofgren and Henkel were driving a 2018 Subaru Forester, which was found on Thursday morning with a note inside that read, “two flat tires, heading to Mormon Point, have three days’ worth of water.”
This note was very helpful in narrowing the search and is ultimately what allowed them to find the couple.
Though Lofgren was found dead on the scene, the Inyo County coroner is still trying to determine the cause of death.
“This has been a tremendously difficult operation in a very unforgiving geographic area of Inyo County, I sincerely hope for healing and recovery for all involved,” Sheriff Jeff Hollowell said in a statement Thursday, according to Fox News.