It's not just a roommate situation. We're a family at the house and it's just something that you never expect to hear and the last phone call you want to get at the end of any day. —Natalie Park
PAGE, Ariz. — Two Salt Lake County neighborhoods remained shocked and saddened Friday as they mourned the loss of their friends and waited for word on the recovery of two women from Lake Powell.
Marilyn Jackman, 57, of South Jordan, was killed when a motorboat collided with a houseboat on Thursday. Her daughter Jessica Jackman, 22, and Valerie Rae Bradshaw, 29, of Sandy, are missing and presumed dead. Bradshaw was the girlfriend of Marilyn Jackman's son Matt.
"It's been pretty hard to take. And I know there's a lot of people that are really struggling and in shock over the whole thing," said Rick Wahlquist, the next-door neighbor of the Jackman family.
"It's almost hard to put words to it. You wake up one morning and find out your neighbors are gone."
For a shortened second day on Friday, crews searched Lake Powell for the bodies of the two women. About 2:15 p.m., the Kane County Sheriff's Office announced that "technical problems with the dive team equipment" halted search efforts for the day. The search was expected to resume Saturday.
The women haven't been seen since a motorboat carrying 13 people — seven adults and six children from two related families — crashed into a houseboat near Dangling Rope Marina about 9:15 a.m. Thursday.
Investigators believe the motorboat driver, Adrian Jackman, 59, Marilyn Jackman's husband, "may have been temporarily distracted by the movement of some of the children" and did not see the houseboat until it was too late, according to the sheriff's office.
The motorboat driver tried to swerve but collided with the front of the other boat, according to investigators.
Marilyn Jackman was sitting in the passenger seat. Adrian Jackman and his 11-year-old granddaughter were flown by medical helicopter to a hospital in Flagstaff, Ariz., with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the sheriff's office. A third person was transported by boat and then by ambulance to a hospital in Page, Ariz.
All three were released from the hospital by Thursday night.
The remaining seven people were taken back to Wahweap Marina by boat. None of the people on the house boat were injured. All of the children were wearing life jackets, according to investigators.
On Friday, the Jackmans' neighborhood and Bradshaw's roommates were in shock.
"It's not just a roommate situation. We're a family at the house and it's just something that you never expect to hear and the last phone call you want to get at the end of any day," said one of Bradshaw's three roommates, Natalie Park.
Friday, her roommates remembered Bradshaw as a fun, outgoing person.
"She's one of the most fun-loving people you can ever meet — most compassionate, most friendly. We were laughing earlier about how she sings so off-key in the shower and doesn't even care. And that's the kind of person she is. She just loves life and just loves doing her own thing," said roommate Aubri Root.
"Valerie really was one of those people you wanted to be like, you wanted to look up to and wanted to be friends with," said roommate Allyse Robertson.
All of her roommates say Lake Powell was Bradshaw's "happy place." She had already been there once this year but was especially looking forward to this trip because she was going to get to spend time with her boyfriend's family.
"That's the hardest, part. This is the trip she looked forward to, for weeks, for months. This was kind of a big thing for her because it was with his family, so this was kind of a really special thing for her," said Root.
Likewise, the Jackmans are avid boaters and visited Lake Powell often. For Marilyn Jackman in particular, Wahlquist said Lake Powell was her favorite place.
"The Jackmans are fantastic people," he said. "Marilyn is a saint, would do anything for anybody at any time."
Adrian Jackman is the bishop of the LDS Church's Parkway 1st Ward in South Jordan. Wahlquist has lived next to the family for 20 years.
On Friday, a makeshift memorial was started near the Jackmans' front door.
The search is being conducted in an area where the lake is between 300 and 400 feet deep. But park officials were very optimistic the bodies of the missing women would be found.
"The area that they're searching is relatively flat because it's in the main body of the channel, so we're optimistic we will be able to find them. How long it takes just really is very variable. It could be today it could be several days," Denise Shultz, spokeswoman for the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, said Friday.
Shultz said actual divers would not be in the water, but rather a remote-controlled submarine-like vehicle that includes both a video feed and sonar.
The searchers were conducting a grid pattern on the lake. They will search again Monday if needed and then re-evaluate the effort if the bodies are not found, Shultz said.2 comments on this story
"It is always sad when there's a death in the park. It's hard on the family, it's hard on our staff," she said.
Contributing: Andrew Adams