Morgan Heimer, my cousin Lisa’s son has been missing since Tuesday.

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He was one of the guides on a river rafting trip in the Grand Canyon.  He disappeared Tuesday night.  Search and Rescue arrived Wednesday morning and questioned all the members of the group before sending them on and continuing the search.  The area where he disappeared is a small area enclosed by cliffs.  It didn’t seem as if the search could take very long.  There is no concern of predators. He was an athlete and a strong swimmer and he was wearing a life preserver.

At this time, no trace has been found.

Search and rescue fan out from the location they call the PLS, Place Last Seen.  Morgan’s father is an athlete, and he wants to go to that PLS.  How could he bear not going, standing there, feeling the air, wanting to feel on that air his son’s breath?  No matter how professional the searchers are, one asks, are they searching as I would search for my own son?  The location where Morgan disappeared would take days to get to by boat or on foot.  It is terribly remote even for an athletic parent.

My son Stephen was born in 1991, Morgan not even a full two years later. My youngest and my cousin’s oldest had much in common.  Adventurous, charismatic, good looking, crowd pleasers.  At a family reunion on the Great Lakes, Lisa and I stood and watched the two boys paddle out to their uncle’s large sail boat.  We waited for their small boat to circle around and come into sight, but it did not reappear.  They’re going to board our uncle’s boat! I suddenly realized, and then, like pirates, they boarded.  We saw their small figures on the deck.  When they were small, we left them alone for a short time and came back to find the VCR not working.  Someone had fed it a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  To this day, Stephen insists it was Morgan’s idea, Morgan thought the VCR was hungry. As adults, they both were travelers and outdoorsman.  They have both been all over Europe, Morgan’s been to the Galapagos Islands, Stephen’s been to Nepal and travelled East Asia.  They’re both over six feet, with energy, charm and great smiles.

This summer, Morgan was leading a river rafting trip down the Grand Canyon.  Stephen has been exploring national parks as well, hiking, biking, writing in his journal.  He’s visited Yosemite, Death Valley, Lassen and is now in Yellowstone.  He’s headed to the Grand Canyon.

I want to believe that Morgan will be found.  Morgan’s parents are at the Grand Canyon now.

We should all treat each other, our fellow humans, with care and kindness, with love and respect.  If you thought that person were missing, you would empty your bank account and give everything to get them back.  Love them now.

My aunt asked me, if I still pray at all, to pray now.  Morgan is her first grandchild.  She’s lost her brother, her parents, her sister.  She asks me to pray and I do.  I pray for his safe return.

The last prayer I said every night before sleeping until I was eighteen at the Farm is the prayer I give now for Morgan and for all those who loved him.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you peace both now and ever.

Published in: on June 7, 2015 at 10:15 am  Comments (15)  

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh Kate. Prayers for his safe return. Please keep updating when you can. Such a family resemblance.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I worked for tour west for 25 years. I have over 200 grand canyon trips. This is very strange indeed. If he disappeared at pumpkin springs i find that hard to believe. On the opposite side of the canyon is a place 300 meters up from the river is a place we call robbers roost. A long forgotten camp. No one knows why it is there. There is an old trail out of the canyon there. Could he have been mad at someone and attempted to walk out?

    • I am sure they are looking into it, yes, he disappeared at Pumpkin Springs.

  3. Please keep us updated!

  4. All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. Praying. 🙏

  5. . You never seized to amaze me. I hope they find him.

    • The word is, you never cease to amaze me. just sayin.

  6. hello, so sorry for your family. has anyone given you any information about his last hours before going missing? did he wander off alone? did he tell anyone where he was going? seems odd to go off solo in those circumstances. how close to the river were they at the time he went missing? still hoping for a good turnout somehow, best wishes.

  7. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I pray for Morgan everyday Kate Clinton

  8. Hi Kate, Thank you for this touching tribute. Mr. Terry Johnson has made a very good point… this is indeed very strange. With only half the river trips Mr. Johnson has in Grand Canyon, I have walked the length of the Canyon from its start to its end, and have spent a lot of time at Pumpkin Springs. The camp on river right is a mining camp of John Peter Snyder, used around 1911. It’s on the other side of the river from where the NPS said Morgan disappeared. Pumpkin Spring is a popular spot, where a trickle of highly mineralized lukewarm water has made a travertine deposit that looks like a thirty foot diameter pumpkin. Upstream of there a few hundred yards is some sculptured sandstone rock. Occasionally, a river runner will jump into the river from this area of sculptured sandstone rock and float back to the spring where the river boats are tied up. The river is very turbulent along the riverside, where twenty to thirty foot high cliffs have formed that drop straight to the river at that point. One doesn’t go hiking with a life-jacket if one doesn’t intend to wear it swimming. As an author of a Grand Canyon river guidebook, a hiking guidebook, an author/editor of two Grand Canyon history books, as well as a volunteer for a non-profit that tries to get educational information out to river runners, I can tell you all Grand Canyon river runners are concerned for Morgan’s disappearance. And like Mr. Johnson, we are concerned that something does not make sense as we are missing some key data. Did Morgan intimate he was going to swim to the boats? Did the crew members not get along? If so, did he suggest he was going to leave the trip and join another group floating by? Any further information you are able to provide would be most gratefully appreciated, yours, Tom Martin

  9. Missing 411

  10. Yet another missing person in the National Parks. There is a long history of this. Something is going on, there are too many of these stories. One day the truth will out. People do not vanish into thin air, yet this happens every year. Missing 411.

    • I was part of the tour group when Morgan disappeared. The circumstances surrounding Morgan’s disappearance were really strange. I don’t want to go into too much detail on a public forum…. Is there any new information about the circumstances surrounding what happened. That area of the canyon isn’t particularly treacherous in terms of the rapids, I mean we were cliff jumping, kids included. I didn’t get to know him very well but we were similar in age and the whole thing is so sad. Sorry for his family who may never know what happened

      • Hello Canyon Girl. I am working on a book about missing persons. Would you please email me at

  11. Hi Canyon Girl, I write a river running news column. Would you be willing to speak with me off the record? Thank you in advance,

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