What was supposed be a wonderful camping trip soon turned into an indescribable nightmare for the Graff family.
After a tragedy that is truly difficult to take in, the family is now mourning the loss of their two beloved little girls.
On Mother’s Day, the Graff family went hiking in Little Wildhorse Canyon in Utah – a popular hiking spot for families and youth groups.
Four family members — two girls, their mother, and an uncle — were walking through the classic, narrow trail in the canyon when a thunderstorm hit the area.
Unfortunately, the storm caused severe flash flooding. And when it came with full force and swept away both girls, Kinsley and Ellie, their family members had no chance to do anything.
The girls’ Dad, Tim, was nearby and soon realized something terrible had happened. He also made a horrific discovery before the authorities were alarmed and had reached the scene.
Tragically, Tim found the body of his 7-year-old daughter Kinzley near the mouth of the canyon. There was nothing he could do.
“It is with great sadness that ECSO confirms that the deceased victim of yesterday’s flash flood in Little Wildhorse Canyon is a 7-year-old Utah girl,” police said in a statement.
At this point, Kinzley’s sister, Ellie, was still missing. Over 80 people lined up and assisted in the search in the search for her. People searched on foot, with motorcycles and from the air – but it was difficult to find anything in the rugged and remote landscape.
Sadly, on Tuesday Ellie’s body was found by a helicopter, 28 miles downstream from where she was last seen.
“A very sad ending to the search for the missing 3-year-old girl today,” police said in a statement.
The family, from the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan, are now mourning two beloved girls.
According to a GoFundMe page that was created to support the family during the unexpected tragedy, the girl’s mother and father, Becky and Tim, were “always on a family adventure … biking, hiking, camping.”
“Words cannot describe the heartbreak of what has happened and the support from family, friends, and those who just want to be able to send prayers, love and thoughts to honor their beautiful daughters is truly needed,” the page reads.
The horrific incident has touch the whole state. Earlier this week, the Emery County police and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert expressed their “deepest sympathy” to the Graff family.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic incident that happened in Little Wildhorse Canyon,” Gov. Gary Herbert said on Twitter.
Becky and the girls’ uncle were able to escape the situation. Becky was sent to hospital but her injuries are not life-threatening.
At least 21 other hikers in the canyon were able to escape the flooding, local media reports.
“It only took about 15 min for the rain to produce a raging river,” Tom Gowan, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah who was also hiking in the canyon, said.
“Heavy rain/hail in slot canyons is extremely dangerous.”
Gowan also filmed the incident, which shows the scary situation.
To support the Graff family, you can visit the GoFundMe aiming to help raise monetary funds in order to cover funeral services, medical bills and household bills.
“Through showing our love and honoring sweet Kinzley and Ellie, we are looking to support Tim and Becky through this time. We have set this page up to raise monetary funds to support Tim and Becky with what has yet to come,” the page reads.
”Thank you for honoring sweet Kinzley and sweet Ellie. Thank you for your support of Tim and Becky. Your prayers, thoughts, and monetary support are so appreciated at this time.”
This is so heartbreaking to read! I’m very sorry for your loss.
No words can or will ease your pain. Rest in peace beautiful little angels.