On Friday, 32-year-old Alexander Lofgren, who works as an aide to Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), was found deceased after he went missing with his girlfriend, 27-year-old Emily Henkel, in Death Valley National Park in California, according to The Hill.
Henkel was still alive when the two were located by authorities and was transported to a local area hospital for medical treatment.
The tragic news was announced by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office via their Facebook page, in which they indicated that the young couple was finally located by use of aerial reconnaissance near the Willow Creek area of the park. The search was initiated shortly after the two missed their return date of April 4.
What prompted the urgency of the search was a note left on a car driven by the couple, which was found broken down with flat tires on Gold Valley Road, close to Death Valley National Park. The note, which authorities credited as extremely useful in their search, said “Two flat tires, headed to Mormon Point, have three days’ worth of water.”
“This has been a tremendously difficult operation in a very unforgiving geographic area of Inyo County, I sincerely hope for healing and recovery for all involved,” said Inyo County Sheriff Jeff Hollowell in a final press release.
Lofgren and Henkel were described as capable, experienced campers and Lofgren was known for camping in remote areas that were not designated camping areas. He reportedly packed food and water, as well as other supplies for the trip.
As of this writing, Henkel’s condition is still unknown and the cause of death for Lofgren hasn’t been reported. Rep. Grijalva, Lofgren’s boss, issued a heartfelt statement on Friday mourning his death and praising the work he completed in his office.
Words cannot begin to describe how heartbroken I am over the death of Alex Lofgren, a dedicated caseworker in my district office.
Alex will forever be a part of our family, and my heart is with his family, his loving partner Emily, and his colleagues who mourn him today. pic.twitter.com/Fyi7zWNYiK
— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) April 9, 2021
Lofgren was hired in 2019 through Grijalva’s Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program and was employed as a caseworker in the Arizona lawmaker’s district office.