Wyoming

Ohio teen found in Grand Teton National Park had changed her appearance

An Ohio teenager located by searchers two days after she vanished in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park cut and dyed her hair, changed her clothes and fled when authorities initially approached her, officials said Saturday. 

Fauna Jackson, 16, was uninjured and taken to a hospital to be checked out.  The National Park Service said the incident is "under investigation."

Jackson, who is from Cincinnati, was found near the Snake River Overlook about 4 miles from where she was last seen on Thursday morning. Jackson is a member of Groundwork Cincinnati-Mill Creek, an affiliate of Groundwork USA, and was working with about 20 other people on a trail project in the national park when she took a bathroom break but didn't return.

Rangers searched the area, and when they couldn't find her, they called in search crews, a helicopter, dog search teams and other authorities. More than 100 people took part in the two-day search that resumed early Saturday. Missing person notices were posted in the area where she disappeared.

Robin Corathers, executive director of Groundwork Cincinnati, said Jackson was excited about going to Wyoming to work on the project and there were no indications of any problems.

"She did great work. She loved working outside, and demonstrated leadership potential. This was unexpected and there was no warning," she said.

Denise Germann, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park, said investigators are trying to determine what happened, and the Teton County Sheriff's Office is handling the case.

The girl was found in a rugged area of Grand Teton National Park, less than a mile from a highway that leads to Yellowstone National Park.

Rescuers said someone reported seeing the girl Friday evening, and they became concerned after they found one of her hiking boots.

Park law enforcement rangers and officers with Teton County Sheriff's Office said the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol helped find the girl.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela offered no reason why the girl changed her appearance and fled, but thanked rescuers for their efforts.

"We are relieved and very grateful that Fauna has been found," Vela said in a statement.

Fox 19 in Cincinnati reported that Jackson's family expected to be reunited with her as early as Monday.

"We're just so happy to have our beloved daughter back," James Bennett, Jackson's stepfather, said in a statement. "Tears of loss and remorse last night became tears of ecstatic joy."

The Teton County Sheriff's Office, Teton County Search and Rescue, Teton County Emergency Management, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Federal Bureau of Investigation, volunteers, and park staff took part in the search.

Groundwork USA teams are formed to work on environmental issues, improve their career skills, and take part in conservation and restoration projects.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.