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Fallen hikers mourned by Summerlin Hospital

Updated July 27, 2023 - 6:46 am

The two young women who died while hiking at Valley of Fire State Park on Saturday are being mourned by their colleagues and friends at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center, where they both worked.

Jessica Rosalie Rhodes and Diana Matienzo Rivera “were beloved and respected employees who cared deeply about their patients and co-workers,” said Gretchen Papez, spokesperson for The Valley Health System, whose health care facilities include the Summerlin hospital.

“Our hospital team is heartbroken, and we will miss them tremendously,” Papez said in an emailed statement.

Rhodes, who went by her middle name Rosalie, was a certified nursing assistant, according to comments on a verified GoFundMe set up by Rhodes’ mother, Josephine Rhodes, to help cover funeral costs.

A LinkedIn account for Matienzo also lists her as a certified nursing assistant at the hospital.

Rhodes, 34, and Matienzo Rivera, 29, both of Las Vegas, were found dead on Valley of Fire’s 4.6-mile Prospect Trail on Saturday. They had run out of water as the temperature reached about 118 degrees, a state parks official said.

An official cause of death had yet to be determined by the Clark County coroner’s office, but the signs pointed to both women succumbing to the heat, said Jonathan Brunjes, Nevada State Parks’ deputy administrator.

Brunjes said Tuesday that the temperature in the park reached about 118 degrees on Saturday.

He said the women were first reported missing sometime after 10 a.m. by another party who told Valley of Fire park rangers that the pair might have been low on resources.

COURTESY OF VALLEY HEALTH SYSTEM/FACEBOOK

A search led to one of the women being found dead about a quarter-mile from the trail’s parking lot at about noon, Brunjes said. The other woman was found dead farther up the trail where it bisects a canyon, about 2 p.m., Brunjes said.

It’s possible the woman found closer to the parking lot had been trying to return to a spot where she might be able to get help, Brunjes said.

Valley of Fire had closed several trails to hiking for the summer, but since Saturday has closed additional trails, Brunjes said. Prospect, where the women died, as well as White Domes, Arrowhead, Pinnacles, Charlie Springs, Natural Arches, Fire Wave and Seven Wonders Loop are closed through Oct. 1.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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