SALT LAKE CITY — The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has suspended the search for Park City hiker Fern L. Baird, 62.
“This is not the outcome that we were hoping for,” said Blaine County Sheriff Steve Harkins, “but after ten days of searching, we have exhausted our resources. We will continue to investigate any leads we gather.”
Officials say they made this decision after one final search on Friday, Oct. 30. That included several K9 teams and other ground searchers, all focusing on an area ranging from 7,100 to 9,200 feet around the Prairie Creek Trailhead, north of Ketchum, Idaho.
That’s where Baird was last spotted. On Monday, Oct. 19, Blaine County officials say Baird signed in at the Prairie Creek Trailhead. Blaine County Sheriff Search and Rescue members (BCSAR) and BCSO deputies began a search for Baird on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 22, 2020, after they were notified she was missing.
Baird’s 2018 Subaru Crosstrek was found in the parking area of the Prairie Creek Trail.
Officials say that Baird’s family offered a $25,000 reward for information that leads to her return.
Early search for Park City hiker complicated by weather
The early winter weather complicated the search for Baird. According to BCSAR, fresh snow covered the initial high elevation search area. And there was also concern about the below-freezing temperatures that blanketed the area when Baird first went missing.
Based on the location of Baird’s car, BCSAR says there are several trails that the hiker could have attempted. Searchers initially worked with K9 search teams, Idaho National Guard helicopters, drones, and on foot, focusing on the Prairie Lakes, Minor Lakes, Norton Lakes, and Mill Lake trails.
All of these trails are at elevations between 7,000 and 9,200 feet.
“We are continuing to seek information from the public,” said Sheriff Steve Harkins in a statement.
Fern Baird is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 115 pounds. According to authorities, she wore a grey jacket and black pants and carried a black fanny pack when a surveillance camera captured her last photo before her disappearance.
“We are interested in speaking with an unknown Boise couple and also a party of five hikers from Tulsa, Oklahoma that both hiked either the West Fork drainage of Prairie Creek or to Prairie Lake on October 19, 2020.
“These individuals may have information or saw Baird hiking that day,” said Harkins.
BCSAR says that Baird is an experienced hiker not known for technical hikes or mountaineering.
Anybody with information is asked to contact BSCO Lt. Mike Abaid at 208-578-3371 or the Blaine County Sheriff by emailing email@example.com.