Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 19, 2013

Body of missing Lowndes man found

GARDINER, MONT. — Search-and-rescue teams discovered the body of a Lowndes County man Thursday, three days after a lightning storm sent the lone hiker down from Yellowstone’s Electric Peak mountain, according to reports.

Joseph Austin Parker, 23, was found lifeless below the summit of Electric Peak shortly after a search resumed Thursday morning, but the cause of death remained under investigation Thursday evening, according to reports from Yellowstone National Park.

The last contact with Parker is believed to be a cell-phone call placed to friends at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to reports. Parker told his friends he was below the summit of Electric Peak, and that he was starting to descend the mountain because of lightning nearby, reports stated.

Parker was reported missing by a friend about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and a search was initiated by the National Park Service. He had been working at a business in Gardiner, Mont., after moving there from Valdosta, according to reports.

An aerial search by both airplane and helicopter joined ground units which included teams in four-wheel drive vehicles, on horse and on foot, reports stated. None of Wednesday’s efforts revealed any clues to Parker’s whereabouts, according to reports.

Electric Peak stands roughly 11,000 feet among the mountains of the Gallatin Range, located west of Gardiner, in the northwest portion of Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service worked closely with a variety of agencies and landowners in conducting the search, including the Park County (Montana) Sheriff’s Office, according to reports.

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