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Federal shutdown scales back search for missing hiker in Idaho

Oct. 2, 2013 at 2:33 PM

ARCO, Idaho, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Bad weather and the furlough of employees by the federal government shutdown have scaled back a search for a woman missing in an Idaho park, officials said.

Craters of the Moon National Monument received permission to keep 10 workers at the park under "excepted" status to search for hiker Jo Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, who has been missing for a week. Sixteen of the 19 employees of the park were about to be furloughed, KBOI-TV, Boise, reported Wednesday.

"The probability of finding her alive has diminished, but we are committed to continuing the search," said Dan Buckley, park superintendent.

Elliott-Blakeslee's hiking partner, Amy Linkert, 69, was found dead last Wednesday, KBOI-TV said.

Thunder, lightning, rain and near-freezing temperatures limited the search in the past several days, the (Boise) Idaho Statesman reported.

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