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Body of Hiker Lost Amid Government Shutdown Discovered in Idaho

Bruce Heinemann/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images(ARCO, Idaho) -- The body of a missing hiker, whose search and rescue were hindered by the federal government shutdown, was discovered Tuesday night in an Idaho national park nearly a month after she was first reported missing, park officials said.

The body of Dr. Jo Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, was discovered in Craters of the Moon National Park just one mile from where her companion, Amy Linkert, 69, was found in late September.

When the government shut down at midnight on Oct. 1, just days after the duo went missing Sept. 24, rescue workers could not access federal resources, including helicopters, planes and dogs.

Despite being furloughed and unpaid, 10 Park Service rangers volunteered to continue the search during the shutdown, scouring the volcanic terrain by foot.

The pair’s car was found at the park with their purses, cell phones and dogs inside. Linkert’s body was discovered Sept. 25, two days after they were reported missing.

Park rangers flying in a helicopter discovered Elliott-Blakeslee’s body Tuesday, according to officials. Authorities are awaiting an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

“We hope that this will bring closure to her family, friends and all those who have been involved in the search. We join the family in thanking the searchers and local communities for the tremendous outpouring of support that we have received throughout this intense effort,” said Park Superintendent Dan Buckley.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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