Search continues in Utah for missing New Castle woman |

Search continues in Utah for missing New Castle woman

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

MOAB, Utah ” Though her Ford Explorer was found parked at a Utah trailhead Monday, searchers came up empty Tuesday in their search for Rose Backhaus.

Backhaus, 54, of New Castle, was last seen while checking out of the La Quinta Inn in Moab, Utah on the morning of Nov. 16. She didn’t return home the following Sunday night or to work at Copy Copy in Glenwood Springs the next day as planned.

A tip from an Emery County road department employee led authorities to her Ford Explorer around 2 p.m. Monday. It was parked at the trailhead to the popular Little Wild Horse Canyon in the Goblin Valley State Park.

The 3,654-acre state park is about 70 miles west of Moab. Backhaus reportedly left notes in her car explaining that she had hiked in Moab the day before and arrived Nov. 16 in the state park and was happy. Someone from Colorado also signed in a party of one at the trailhead register that day without giving a name.

Emery County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bliss Mead said searches were conducted Monday night and Tuesday by airplane and helicopter. About 12 people also looked for Backhaus on foot or by ATV, while authorities monitored her vehicle and interviewed people coming out of the canyon. Family and friends have also helped search efforts in Moab and now at the state park.

Mead said there were as many as 15 other vehicles parked at the trailhead.

“It’s a really, really high-traffic area,” Mead said. “A lot of people hike this area.”

Mead said authorities planned to continue their search efforts and keep an eye on Backhaus’ Ford Explorer.

“It’s parked right at the trailhead where we’re set up,” he said. “It’s under surveillance. There don’t appear to be any signs of foul play.”

People often hike Little Wild Horse Canyon and adjoining Bell Canyon in an 8-mile loop that includes long and tight narrow passages. There are not usually any easily accessible water sources.

Friends and family have said Backhaus is tenacious, is an experienced hiker, and could do well surviving outdoors.

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