Kaitlin Kenney, R.I.P.: Young musician's body found in Grand Canyon, positively identified

In January, we told you about the search for Kaitlin Kenney, a 21-year-old Denver-area musician who'd gone missing while traveling with a group in the Grand Canyon.

At the time, her mom expressed resignation rather than hope for a positive outcome, and unfortunately, she was right. Late last month, a body was discovered, and it's now been positively identified as Kenney.

Details and photos of a remarkable young woman below.

As we've reported, Kaitlin was a longtime participant in the Colorado Old Time Fiddlers' Association. Here's a photo of a younger Kaitlin making beautiful music....

...and this is how she looked when she won first place in the young adult category at the 2011 Colorado Fiddle Championships. Then, on Christmas day, Kaitlin set out on a thirty-day trip to the Grand Canyon.

All was good for the first week or two. Note that on January 6, her mother, Linnea, shared the following note on Facebook: "Our baby girl is 21 today! Happy Birthday, Kaitlin."

But on Friday night, Kaitlin vanished from the group with whom she was traveling, and authorities feared she might have fallen into the nearby river. According to 7News, an extensive search got underway promptly. But Linnea knew a successful outcome was unlikely. She posted the following on Facebook:

Please say a prayer for our family. Our sweet Kaitlin is with the angels. She was our balloon let loose in a room and lived life to it's fullest, always with a smile. We were blessed to have her in our lives.

In mid-January, the National Park Service announced that the search for Kaitlin had been scaled back. Another couple of months passed after that before a discovery that would prove heartbreaking. Continue for more about Kaitlin Kenney, including videos. On March 22, the National Park Service's Grand Canyon branch issued a news advisory revealing that at about 4:30 p.m. the previous day, the communications center there received a satellite phone report from folks on a private river trip about finding a woman's body at river mile 165, near Tuckup Canyon. According to 7News, the spot is about thirty miles from where Kaitlin disappeared.

Due to pending darkness, rangers weren't able to get to the scene until the following morning. Once there, they flew to the scene, recovered the body and transported it to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's office.

Then, yesterday, a National Park Service spokeswoman confirmed that the body had been positively identified as Kenney.

Our condolences to Kaitlin's friends, family and loved ones.

Look below to see two videos about the search for Kenney, the first from 7News, the second from 9News.

More from our News archive: "Ski season deaths: James Lindenblatt's is among two that won't count toward Colorado total."

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