Mckenna Miner, a 19-year-old enthusiast of hiking and nature from Provo, Utah, faced a heartbreaking fate. On January 30, 2024, she was reported missing when her car was discovered at Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon.
The following day, a search and rescue team found her lifeless body, leading them to conclude that she had taken her own life. The news left her family and friends in deep sorrow, recalling her as a kind, adventurous, and compassionate individual.
Love for the Great Outdoors
Born in Summit, New Jersey, to Chaldean Catholic parents who had fled persecution in Iraq, Mckenna relocated to Provo, Utah, at the age of 14. She pursued her education at Timpview High School and Brigham Young University, majoring in biology with aspirations of becoming a veterinarian. Mckenna’s affection for animals extended to her dog, Luna.
Her passion for hiking and exploring new locales was evident through her blog and YouTube channel. Documenting her adventures and offering tips for hiking both locally and internationally, Mckenna had visited renowned national parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Yellowstone. She dedicated her time to volunteering at Timpanogos Cave National Monument the previous summer, relishing the challenge and beauty of nature.
The Enigma of Her Disappearance
Mckenna embarked on a snowshoeing trip to American Fork Canyon on Sunday, January 28, 2024, a recent pursuit she had taken up. Her last communication was with her boyfriend that afternoon, expressing her enjoyment and anticipation of returning soon.
While her car remained in the Tibble Fork Reservoir parking lot overnight, it went unnoticed, given the common practice of leaving cars overnight for various mountain activities, even during winter.
Concerns arose among family and friends late Monday or early Tuesday when Mckenna had not been heard from for over a day. Her disappearance was reported on Tuesday morning, prompting the Utah County Sheriff’s Office to initiate a search operation.
Despite deploying helicopters, drones, horses, snow machines, and snowshoes to scour the canyon, no traces of her were found. It was revealed that Mckenna had been grappling with depression and anxiety, with a note in her car indicating potential suicidal thoughts.
A Heart-Wrenching Discovery
Resuming the search on Wednesday morning with over 50 participants, a member of the horse posse found a pair of snowshoes, still packaged, about a mile and a half up Snake Creek Road toward Mineral Basin.
Tracing the footprints, they discovered the body of a woman, presumed to be Mckenna. Partially buried in snow, the body displayed signs of hypothermia and exposure. The medical examiner later confirmed suicide as the cause of death.
Utah County Sheriff’s Office conveyed the tragic news to Mckenna’s grieving family. In a released statement, the family expressed gratitude to the search and rescue teams, requested privacy and prayers, and hoped Mckenna’s story would promote awareness and compassion for mental health issues. They encouraged those facing struggles to seek help and support.
Mckenna Miner, a young woman with a fervor for the outdoors, grappled with hidden mental health challenges. Her disappearance and subsequent discovery of her lifeless body by a search and rescue team marked a profound tragedy. Her family and friends, mourning her loss, cherished memories of a kind, adventurous, and compassionate soul.