The body of a 16-year-old Henderson hiker who went missing Saturday in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area was found at the bottom of a deep ravine Tuesday morning.
National Park Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said the body of Shane McNeil was found by Las Vegas police trackers about 11:30 a.m. in the area between Gold Strike Canyon and White Rock Canyon, east of Boulder City and south of Hoover Dam. Munoz said the body was discovered about a mile from a trail in a very "tight area" known for its rough terrain.
The cause of death will be determined by the Clark County coroner's office, he said.
"There's a lot of scenarios that could have precipitated his death," Munoz said. "In this case he easily could have fallen, become dehydrated, suffered a health issue. ... We don't know for sure."
A man who said he was a spokesman for the family declined to comment at McNeil's home Tuesday night.
McNeil's mother said he had hiked from their home near the Las Vegas Beltway and the U.S. Highway 95 interchange and had sent her a text message about 7 p.m. Saturday as he was approaching the Hoover Dam Visitor Center, where she was to meet him.
She reported him missing after he failed to arrive by 10 p.m., prompting a search that covered 30 square miles, lasted three days and required more than 2,000 man hours.
Munoz said authorities used phone records to identify McNeil's approximate location at the time he contacted his mother. Around 9 a.m. Tuesday police discovered tracks that matched his shoes, leading them to the body. It was unclear when he died.
Munoz said McNeil was an outdoor enthusiast and avid hiker with a penchant for survivor-based reality shows. He was carrying bottled water and a couple of Bibles on his hike. He said the teen might have been pushing the limits of his endurance.
Cell phone reception in the area is very poor, Munoz said. In previous rescue efforts in the park, hikers have had to travel several miles before they could call 911 and transmit their GPS location.
"If he had dialed 911, we'd have had a more accurate location to start our search," Munoz said. "But we will never know what he was thinking. He may have never felt he was in danger."
Munoz said hikers are encouraged to visit the park, but officials hope people will respect the wilderness and realize the potential danger.
If you must go alone, tell someone the route you're taking, he said.
"And if you go off the regular trail, have a pre-planned route and don't deviate from it," Munoz said.
Although the trails are popular even in the summer, park officials advise hikers to travel in groups and keep extra water on hand.
Some of the trails are 10 miles and have 800- to 1,000-foot changes in elevation, Munoz said.
"There's no easy access to coverage with the heat and dry air," he said. "It's very easy to become dehydrated."
Review-Journal writer Antonio Planas contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.