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Kaitlin Kenney: Search scaled back for musician who vanished at Grand Canyon

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Update: Yesterday, we told you about the continuing search for 21-year-old Denver-area musician Kaitlin Kenney after she disappeared in the Grand Canyon, and her mom's sense that she lost her life; see our earlier post below.

Now, the National Park Service has announced that the search for Kenney is being scaled back.

The most recent NPS release features the following photo of Kenney, the 2011 young-adult winner at the Colorado Fiddle Championships, as well as a person who is said to have brightened the lives of everyone she encountered:

According to the NPS, Kenney was last seen on Friday "at a river camp located near Tapeats Creek, on the north side of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park."

After she was reported missing by the party with whom she was traveling on what was supposed to be a thirty-day trek through the park's abundant natural wonders, rangers deployed helicopters to search for any sign of her along the river corridor and trails in the vicinity -- an effort that spanned a couple of days. Additionally, search-and-rescue-team personnel working on the ground combed "accessible trails, beaches, drainages and backcountry areas in the vicinity."

Unfortunately, no hints about Kenney's whereabouts were found. So, the updated release continues, "the decision was made to scale the search back to a continuous but limited mode in which rangers and pilots will continue to search for clues when in the area."

Posters featuring Kenney's photo and description are also up at rafting launch sites and other areas where visitors and park staffers gather. Folks with information about Kenney are encouraged to photo the park's tip line, 928-638-7767. The NPS stresses that "any additional clues collected will guide future search efforts."

In the meantime, Linnea Kenney, Kaitlin's mom, has not posted anything on her Facebook page since Monday, when she wrote, "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."

Continue to read our previous coverage about the disappearance of Kaitlin Kenney, including photos and videos. Original post, 10:58 a.m. January 15: When a child is missing, most parents cling to hope for a happy resolution long after many others have given up.

But judging by a Facebook post and comments to the press, Linnea Kenney already appears resigned that the disappearance of her beloved daughter Kaitlin, 21, during a trip to the Grand Canyon will have a sad ending.

By all accounts, Kaitlin is (we're sticking with the present tense) a remarkable person -- likable, adventurous and musically talented, as witnessed by her participation 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. Cut to Christmas day, when, according to 9News, 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, 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 fear she might have fallen into the nearby river. According to 7News, an extensive search got underway promptly, and it's still ongoing. But yesterday, just over a week after the birthday wish, Linnea posted the following:

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.

Linnea reinforced this message during a 9News interview, showing a remarkable strength under terrible circumstances. That conversation is on view here, along with an earlier 7News report about Kaitlin. Our thoughts are with her, as well as with her family and friends.

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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