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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Mother of Four Dies in Tragic Hiking Accident After Stepping Onto Weak Rock Edge, Falling 100 Feet

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Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

A couple was out for a hike on March 27 in the “Bull’s Head” area of Sevier County, Utah, when what was supposed to be a day appreciating nature turned tragic.

Candice Thompson was a short way behind her husband Colton on the trail when she stepped onto a rock edge that suddenly gave way and sent her plunging around 100 feet.

Colton immediately turned and started running downhill, dialing 911 as he ran. When help arrived by ground and air, Candice was in dire condition.

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“First responders on scene included on duty Richfield City Officers and an off-duty Sheriff’s deputy began life saving measures,” the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office posted on Sunday evening.

“EMT’s and SAR arrived and were able to transport Candice to a waiting ambulance. A medical helicopter was also on scene, but they were not able to get Candice’s vitals stable enough to be transported by helicopter.”

The medical professionals at Sevier Valley Hospital continued to work on Candice as soon as she arrived, but she succumbed to her injuries.

Just 26 years old, the young mother leaves behind her husband and their four young children. She enjoyed the outdoors, spending time with her family and decorating; was a nail technician by trade; and was generous and charitable, according to her obituary.

Her passing has been a shock to the community, and many have shown their support through a raffle fundraiser started to help support her family.

“The last couple of days have been heartbreaking for our department family,” Police Chief Trent Lloyd posted on the Richfield City Police Facebook page.

“Candice has been a part of our family for most of her life. Her father and I worked many years together and Candice was always a part of that. After Russ retired I hired his son in-law, Colton. Candice continued being part of our family as a wonderful wife to Colton.

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“To say that there is a hole in our hearts today is just simply understated because there is just no words.”

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office shared an update a few days later, confirming that the fall appeared to be accidental and that the area had been weakened due to the elements.

“Evidence at the scene confirms the accounts given by witnesses who were hiking in the same canyon at the time of the accident,” the post read.

“Candice was at an edge of an overhang that was eroded away underneath. Due to deteriorating conditions of the rock combined with winter weather and moisture, Candice had been standing on a weak portion of the rock edge, the deteriorated rock edge broke away.”

“Close examination of the cliff face and ledge show recent fractures and exposure where other edges show exposure to the weather.

“The Utah Medical Examiners Office has also investigated the cause of death. Their investigation at this time has not yielded any suspicious causes other than the fall.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking