In an unfortunate occurrence, camper Jessica Stephens succumbed to the unbearable heat conditions at Kakadu National Park, where she had gone missing a week prior. Her body was regrettably found the previous Saturday, the scorching heat believed to be the root cause of her demise.
Travis Wurst, the Assistant Commissioner of Northern Territory Police Department, revealed the daunting search operation conditions. The search party, including both the police and park rangers, had to endure scorching weather, soaring up to 50 degrees in the vicinity of the expansive Nourlangie Rock.
He further elaborated on the perilous nature of such conditions, stressing that without necessary provisions, shelter, or shade, the uncompromising desert heat could indeed be lethal. He clarified that whilst no foul play is suspected in Ms Stephens’ unfortunate demise, all possibilities will be scrutinized thoroughly.
It is believed that at some point, Jessica Stephens, who was reported missing following several days of unresponsiveness, had left her vehicle behind. The Assistant Commissioner stated that her family had been informed and were being attended to, ensuring they were made comfortable during this trying process. The unfortunate incident has now been moved to the coroner’s domain for closure.
Sixty-four individuals, comprising 14 police officers and 24 park rangers, took part in the search operation for Ms Stephens. The 37-year-old woman is thought to have traveled approximately 250km east of Darwin to the park on October 17 and camped in the vicinity of Nourlangie Rock.
The search operation initiated on October 24 when the contact with the family had ceased for days and the extreme heat conditions worsened. Few days into the search, personal items presumed to belong to Ms Stephens were located a significant distance from the walking track.
Earlier on, Jessica’s mother, Karon Evans, had issued a heartfelt plea on social media expressing her immense grief at her daughter’s disappearance and urging anyone with any knowledge of Jessica’s whereabouts to come forward.
Nourlangie Rock, widely known as Burrungkuy, is a part of a famous tourist location distinguished for its World Heritage Rock art and vibrant avian life.