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Mon, Jan. 20

Sheriff identifies woman who died on Bell Rock

The woman who fell and died Monday, Nov. 21, while trying to hike down the south face of Bell Rock was Krista Hower, 28, of Sedona, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said Wednesday.

"Our condolences to her family and friends on this tragic loss," spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

Hower called authorities around 3:30 p.m. Monday and explained she was stuck in a steep section of the rock face south of Sedona.

"She indicated her position was about a third of the way up the mountain and that she was unable to maneuver further," D'Evelyn said.

The Sheriff's Office deployed the Verde Search and Rescue Team and Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team's backcountry unit, and requested the assistance of a state Department of Public Safety ranger helicopter.

Authorities had intermittent contact with Hower and had spoken with her around 5:30 p.m., when she said she was cold but otherwise OK, according to D'Evelyn.

A half-hour later, search and rescue teams began a coordinated effort to rappel down the rock face to her, but when they arrived at her last known location, rescuers could not find her. They discovered Hower had fallen 125 feet and found her body on a south-facing ledge.

Authorities remained onsite until morning, when a recovery team climbed to her location, secured her body and hiked out with it. D'Evelyn said the cause of the fall is undetermined, pending medical examiner findings.

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