Search and rescue workers found the body of missing Arizona State University Professor Deb Schwartz on Sunday morning in Oak Creek Canyon.

At approximately 11:10 a.m. a technical rescue team that was searching an unnamed slot canyon below the rim of Oak Creek Canyon discovered Debra Schwartz’s body. According to a news release sent out Sunday afternoon, a team completed two rope rappels to make its way into the canyon to a spot where they were able to see the body and then a third rappel to actually reach the body.

The location was approximately one-half mile from the Pine Flat Campground, where Schwartz was camping last week.

The body will be transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office where authorities will attempt to determine the cause and manner of death.

Sunday was the third day of intensive searching for Schwartz, 59, who was reported missing on Friday after she failed to check out of the campground.

The search on Sunday consisted of:

-- One team of five searchers mounted on horseback


-- Three teams of off-road vehicles


-- Six teams of ground searchers with five people in each team


-- One dog team consisting of 3 dogs and six handlers


--Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Air Rescue Helicopter and crew


--Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter and crew based in Flagstaff


--The Yavapai County Jeep Posse


--Three technical rescue teams with three technicians in each team


 On Saturday, several slot canyons that run from the rim to the canyon floor had been partially searched. However steep inclines, very rough terrain and thick underbrush made conditions unsafe for conventional ground searchers.

The three technical rescue teams that were deployed Sunday were assigned to thoroughly check the slot canyons in the area.

Emery Cowan can be reached at (928) 556-2250 or


Emery Cowan writes about science, health and the environment for the Arizona Daily Sun, covering everything from forest restoration to endangered species recovery efforts.

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