SEQUIOA NATIONAL PARK (CBS SF) — Students and staff at a Mill Valley high school were grappling with the loss of a popular attendance clerk who died during a camping trip in Sequoia National Park last week.
The Tulare County coroner’s office identified the victim as 65-year-old San Rafael resident Johnnie Jean Daniel.
Daniel had been camping at the Cold Springs Campground in the Mineral King area, according to the National Park Service.
A family member reported her missing to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks staff on Thursday. The family member said she had been expected back three days earlier.
An extensive ground and air search began Friday in areas that were part of her intended itinerary, including the Franklin, Crystal and Monarch lakes areas and along the Sawtooth Trail, National Park Service officials said.
Her body was recovered Saturday in the Mineral King area, about 1,000 feet above Monarch Lake just below a portion of the Sawtooth Trail, said Matt Fagan, spokesman for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
A Tulare County coroner’s office spokesman said an autopsy has been conducted but that the office is awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine Daniel’s cause of death.
Daniel had worked as an attendance clerk at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley since 1999, said Mary O’Leary, an administrative assistant at the 1,300-student high school.
Daniel also filled in as a health specialist at the school and planned to retire in December, O’Leary said.
“She was very loved and a dear employee. She was very energetic. She rode her bike everywhere. She loved the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said Daniel had climbed Mt. Whitney and Mt. Shasta.
“It was not unusual for to her to on a trip by herself,” O’Leary said.
“We’re going to miss her,” she said.