August 17th, 2004

Death by dehydration, one last time

The Chicago Tribune today ran a long follow-up story about the case of the young woman runner who died in the Grand Canyon, a case I had written about. The article said authorities looked very carefully at whether there was foul play, something amapola_t and I had wondered about. The investigators finally decided it was not purposeful homicide, just a horrible set of mistakes.

She was a med student in Chicago, but the guy she was running with was a guy she had recently met in Arizona. They went on an ill-conceived run in the canyon with inadequate water. They split up. He got found by a government employee, but took a long time before he told people about his partner. He somehow imagined she was okay. It wasn't until her family contacted him that he realized she was still missing - almost 24 hours after he was found.

This seems like monumental stupidity at best. You can see why authorities were suspicious.

On the other hand, he probably came close to dying of dehydration too. Dehydration makes you pretty stupid, shutting down higher brain functions, and making you delirious. Maybe it was delirious wishful thinking that led him to imagine she was safe already.

I don't know. I've been dehydrated, enough so my judgment is slipping a bit, but never to anything like the levels involved in this story.

Rhyme of the day:

Feeling delirious
Can prove deadly serious.

Here is the link. You need a Chicago Tribune or LA Times user id, but it's free to get one: