'Sweet' Texas man on trip to spread father’s ashes dies of heat stroke in Utah national park

Utah Arches National Park. Credit: AP

A man who was on a trip to scatter his father's ashes has been found dead in a Utah national park.

James Bernard Hendricks, from Texas, is believed to have died of heat stroke while on the meaningful trip at Arches National Park, his sister Ruth Hendricks Bough said.

The 66-year-old was hiking in the park and likely became disoriented from a combination of heat, dehydration and high altitude, according to his sister.

Hendricks had stopped in Utah while travelling across the west to the Sierra Nevada region of Nevada and California to spread his father’s ashes, he said in social media posts prior to his death.

Rangers found his vehicle in a car park at the start of a hiking trail, after they received a report that he was missing on the morning of August 1, according to park officials.

Hendrick’s body was found nearby off-trail and his water bottle was empty, Ms Bough said in a social media post.

“He was loved by countless people because he was an unusually kind, sweet person who made friends easily.

"Now all these people are grieving. It was a horrible shock,” his sister told the San Antonio Express-News.

The National Park Service and Grand County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death.

Arches National Park, located in a high-altitude desert north of Moab, Utah, is known for its natural sandstone arches.

Temperatures topped 32 degrees Celsius in the area on the afternoon before Hendricks was reported missing.

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