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Flagstaff, AZ: Thirty two year-old Joshua Dale Riggs of Moab, Utah died on Monday, November 26, 2012 after he fell a distance of approximately 80 feet while rock climbing in the Williams, Arizona area. During the early afternoon hours on Monday, Emergency Dispatchers received a cell phone call from a woman who reported that she and her boyfriend were rock climbing when he fell from a significant height. She described him as being seriously injured. Although the caller was not able to give an exact location, the geographic description she provided allowed responders that are familiar with the area to locate her and the victim. The location of the victim was described as in close proximity to Paradise Forks and Sycamore Falls. United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers and Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies were immediately sent to the area and an Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter and a Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Technical Team were called out.
When Forest Service Officers reached the caller and the victim, they discovered that Joshua Riggs was deceased. During an interview with the victim’s girlfriend, Deputies and Detectives learned the two were camping in the general area of White Horse Lake and were rock climbing at the time of the accident.
The Technical Rescue Team hiked and rappelled to the victim’s location. A stokes basket was lowered down the rock face to the victim. Once his body was secured, they raised him up the rock face. This recovery process took approximately 3 ½ hours and extended beyond dusk. The victim’s body was released to an investigator from the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office and was transported to Flagstaff where an autopsy was performed on the following day. Detectives and the Medical Examiner’s Office are continuing this investigation.