Sheriff: Missing camper found dead

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TORREON, N.M. (KRQE) – The body of a 51-year-old woman last seen at her campsite in Manzano State Park has been found.

Torrance County Sheriff Heath White says the body of Barbara Baca was found in a rugged area just outside where search crews had been looking since Friday. Authorities are still investigating the cause of death.

“It’s really too early to really say, but I can say that where she was located was extremely remote, really hard to get to,” White said. “There are no obvious signs that there was any foul play associated with [her death].”

Investigators had said Baca was last seen walking away from the Red Canyon campground barefoot late Thursday night into Friday, with her dog, following a fight with her boyfriend.

The days-long search effort had been suspended Saturday night after search crews looked through areas they beleived she could’ve plausibly been located in. Baca’s body was found by two hikers who kept searching after the police hunt had been called off.

“This is a human life out here,” said Natasha Zimmerman, earlier in the day before she and her boyfriend found the body. “I feel like people look for their lost dogs more than they’re looking for this lady… I don’t give up, she deserves it.”

The search was especially personal for Zimmerman who says she once broke her leg badly in a remote area after fishing alone.

Rescue crews spotted the dog Baca left the camp site with near her body, but it ran away when they approached. No word Sunday night if the dog was found.

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