Henderson woman missing after hiking companion found dead

A Henderson woman is still missing after hiking to the Arizona Hot Spring with a man who was found dead within Lake Mead National Recreation Area earlier this month, the National Park Service said Friday.

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area dispatch center received a call at 3:31 p.m. on June 5 reporting that a body had been found about 150 yards from the Colorado River near Arizona Hot Spring, park service spokeswoman Christie Vanover said in a statement on Friday.

Another caller indicated 62-year-old James Edward Johnson Jr. and his unknown female companion left to hike the trail on June 3. They had little food, no water and did not return.

Vanover said park service rangers and the Arizona Department of Public Safety flew over the area searching for them. Rangers found Johnson and contacted the Mohave County Medical Examiner to confirm his identity and determine cause of death.

The woman was not found, nor was any evidence that she had accompanied him down the trail.

But on Friday, family and friends of 35-year-old Christina Diane Montes told rangers she was planning to camp with Johnson and has not been heard from.

Her family said she stands 5 feet, 2 inches and weighs about 100 pounds. She has a tan complexion, brown eyes and short brown hair. She was last seen wearing white skinny jeans, a blue top and white flip flops.

The National Park Service and Arizona Department of Public Safety plan to continue search efforts with volunteers from Mohave County Search and Rescue, Vanover said.

The park service discourages hiking to the Arizona Hot Spring from June to September due to excessive heat. The strenuous trail is 6 miles round trip with no shade, no potable water and limited cell phone service.

When hiking in the desert, people need to carry 1-2 gallons of water per person.

Anyone with information on Montes’ possible whereabouts can contact the Lake Mead Interagency Communication Center at 702-293-8998.

Contact Wesley Juhl at wjuhl@reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl.


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