Kathleen Patterson was hiking for the first time on an Arizona trail when she disappeared
By Charmaine Patterson
An Arizona hiker who was reported missing on Sunday was found dead after telling her husband she “got off course.”
The body of Kathleen Patterson, 60, was recovered on Wednesday morning, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement shared with PEOPLE.
“Unfortunately, she was found deceased by a volunteer searcher off-trail in the Spur Cross Conservation Area,” it continued.
Authorities do not suspect foul play and detectives are investigating the death, MCSO said. Kathleen’s cause of death has not been made public.
She was last seen leaving home for a hike on Sunday morning, MCSO initially tweeted in an alert about her disappearance. She went hiking near Spur Cross, Cave Creek around 7:30 a.m. She used her cell phone to contact relatives roughly three hours later, which marked the last time anyone heard from her.
Kathleen Patterson has been located. Unfortunately, she was found deceased by a volunteer searcher off trail in the Spur Cross conservation area. Thank you all for sharing. https://t.co/Zz0wIMFiI8
— Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (@mcsoaz) September 28, 2022
Kathleen’s husband Steve Patterson told Arizona’s ABC 15, “She sent me a text at 10:02 [saying] ‘Hey babe got off course. I’m good plenty of water.’ ”
Although Kathleen is a skilled hiker, Steve said he called her less than an hour later and she was heading back to her car.
“She’s like, ‘I’m cranking. I’m on my way back, I’ll text you from the parking lot,’ ” said Steve.
After hours passed without Kathleen contacting him, Steve went to go look for her car and called the police.
“That was the last conversation we had,” Steve told AZ Family. “When I saw her car it was about three in the afternoon and I immediately knew something was wrong.”
Steve, who added that he and Kathleen moved to the area four years ago, said this was his late wife’s first hike at the Spur Cross Trailhead.
Before Kathleen was found, he told AZ Family, “My sense is she’s still here but off the trail injured and can’t respond.”
Volunteers quickly joined the search and went to great lengths to find Kathleen.
“We’ve had people on horseback, drones, we had a couple of guys doing paragliding, we have Arizona SARTAC which is our own search and rescue team,” Sunny Parker, founder of Arizona Foothills 911 nonprofit, told the outlet. “We had people on bicycles. We had people spend the night out looking for her last night.”
A volunteer searcher ultimately found Kathleen on Wednesday. The identity of the volunteer searcher has not been publicly shared.