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Ohio Teen Volunteer Fauna Jackson Missing in Wyoming National Park Found Safe

by Elisha Fieldstadt /  / Updated 
Missing 16-year-old Fauna Jackson from Ohio.AP

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A teenage girl who went missing in a Wyoming national park was found Saturday after an extensive two-day search, with only her boot left behind as a clue, officials said.

But her disappearance and recovery has raised only more questions after she changed her appearance and tried to flee when rangers approached her, according to park staff.

Fauna Jackson, 16, was spotted at about 8 a.m. local time in Grand Teton National Park, less than four miles from the part of the park where she was last seen Thursday morning, according to a park statement. She was volunteering with a conservation group at the time she vanished.

Jackson had cut and dyed her hair, changed her clothes and she ran when officers approached her, the statement said. "The details of the incident are under investigation," the statement added.

The teen was uninjured, but briefly hospitalized for a "welfare check" before she was taken to the Teton County Sheriff's Office. She is being interviewed, Denise Germann, a Teton National Park public affairs officer, told NBC News.

Missing 16-year-old Fauna Jackson from Ohio.AP

More than 115 staff members with the National Park Service, FBI, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies were involved in the "all-hands-on-deck" search for Jackson, according to a statement from the park service. The operation included ground crews, air crews and ATVs. Germann said the cost of the search has not been determined.

On Friday, crews found a boot that apparently belonged to Jackson, and the public and park rangers later reported several sightings of the teen.

Jackson, from Cincinnati, was part of a trail-related project with an affiliate of the nonprofit Groundwork USA, when she disappeared during a bathroom break, according to The Associated Press. About 20 others were working on the project with her.

Robin Corathers, the executive director of the Cincinnati branch of Groundwork USA, told NBC News that Jackson spent eight weeks this summer volunteering with the organization in Ohio and was one of three teens selected to go on the trip to Wyoming.

“She worked hard, got along well with the fourteen other youth in our summer program, and showed leadership potential,” Corathers said in an email, adding that Jackson enjoyed the outdoors and gardening.

“Groundwork Cincinnati is very relieved and grateful that she has been found and is safe,” Corathers said.

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