Body of Girl, 8, Found Frozen in Snow, Friend Survives in Snow Cave
DUCK CREEK, Utah (AP) _ An 8-year-old girl who left a remote mountain cabin looking for her parents froze to death in deep snow, but an 11-year-old friend survived by burrowing into a snow cave for two days, authorities say.
The two children had been left at the cabin in the southern Utah mountains on Sunday while the girl’s parents, Randy and Peggy Hanner, and her sister, Deidre, 13, of Las Vegas, Nev., took a snowmobile trip to Navajo Lake, eight miles away, Kane County Sheriff Joe Gonzales said Thursday.
Brandy Hanner and Chad Shackelford apparently grew frightened when the Hanners didn’t return and decided to go looking for them Monday afternoon. About 2 feet of snow had fallen in a short period, and ″they lost the snowmobile track and they didn’t know heads nor tails of the trail,″ said Gonzales.
Chad told authorities that he and Brandy ″got about a quarter mile from the cabin and she couldn’t walk any more,″ Gonzales said. ″He told her to stay there and he tried to go for help or find the parents. He got about 200 yards and he couldn’t go any more, so he dug a hole in the snow.″
The Hanners’ snowmobile, meanwhile, got stuck in the deep snow Sunday, so they broke into a cabin and spent the night, Gonzales said.
On Monday morning they tried to free the snowmobile, but could not. They trudged another 200 yards in waist-deep snow and sought refuge in a second vacant cabin.
An expert snowmobiler, Don Dalton, of Duck Creek, received a call about noon Wednesday from friends of the family in Las Vegas reporting them overdue, Gonzales said. Dalton and others began searching the area for the missing vactioners.
Gonzales said Dalton found Chad late Wednesday some distance from the cabin and searchers later found the body of Brandy.
Chad was in serious condition Friday at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center’s burn unit, where he was being treated for severe frostbite on both feet, said spokesman John Dwan.
Dalton also found the parents and their eldest daughter six to seven miles from the cabin. Gonzales said the three were trudging through waist-deep snow, apparently trying to find their way back, when they were rescued.
Deidre Hanner was treated for minor frostbite and released, the sheriff said.