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Geoffrey McAllister, Deseret News
Eric Perkins breaks down after learning the missing hiker (his girlfriend) has been found dead about 350 feet from the Moss Ledge trail head in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Monday.

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — It was a tragic ending Monday in the search for a 19-year-old Herriman girl.

The body of Christina Traylor was found off the Moss Ledge trail, between Solitude and the S-curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Searchers estimated she fell 80 to 100 feet off a ledge to the rocks below, killing her instantly.

Eric Perkins, reportedly Traylor's boyfriend, could be seen in tears outside the mobile command unit of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office's as friends tried to console him after he received the grim news. Traylor's brother, who has guardianship over his sister, and other friends were also at the command post Monday morning.

Traylor was part of a group of four men and four women who were enjoying a day of hiking and picnicking in the canyon Sunday.

Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., the four men went to an area off the main trail to climb an area of steep rocks, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Brent Atkinson. Detectives believe unbeknownst to the men, Traylor followed the group to a steep area where it is believed she wanted to take pictures.

Detectives suspect Traylor may have slipped or lost her balance while taking pictures, and fell without being noticed. When the men returned from their climb and couldn't find her, Traylor's friends searched the area for two hours before calling the sheriff's office.

At 9:50 p.m. Sunday, search and rescue crews were called to the mountain. A helicopter with a heat sensor assisted in the search but found nothing.

Search crews suspended their search at 2:30 a.m. Monday because of the safety risks in the dark. They resumed at daybreak and found Traylor's body about 9:15 a.m.

Family members and friends at the scene declined to speak to reporters. Traylor was studying to be a veterinarian at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She was back in Utah for summer break. She was a graduate of Jordan High School, Atkinson said.

A person identified as "Tad" on the deseretnews.com comment board said he went to high school with Traylor.

"She was always kind, funny and the life of the party. She will be missed," he said.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com