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Garden of Gods: Kentucky Woman Dies in Wilderness After Falling 100 feet

( [email protected] ) Jun 10, 2016 02:28 PM EDT
Melissa Riley, a 37-year-old Kentucky woman died after she fell roughly 100 feet near the Table Rock formation at Garden of the Gods in Illinois Wednesday. This wilderness area is located within Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.
Authorities in southern Illinois revealed a 37-year-old Kentucky woman died after falling from a rock formation at Garden of the Gods wilderness area inside the Shawnee National Forest. Shawnee National Forest

Melissa Riley, a 37-year-old Kentucky woman died after she fell roughly 100 feet near the Table Rock formation at Garden of the Gods in Illinois Wednesday. This wilderness area is located within Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.

Riley was pronounced dead at the scene by Saline County Coroner Jerry Watson.

She worked at Kroger and was a member of Southland Baptist Temple, according to her obituary.

The Saline County Coroner's Office, the Saline County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Forest Service are investigating the fall, but the sheriff's office notes that "nothing in the incident appears to be suspicious." 

The sheriff's office stated the fall was called in at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The U.S. Forest Service, Illinois State Police, Air Evac, the Equality Fire Department, Saline County EMS, the Hardin County Sheriff's Office, and the Hardin County Emergency Management Agency assisted at the scene. 

Garden of the Gods covers more than 3,300 acres of forest in the Illinois counties of Saline, Pope and Hardin. It includes 5.5 miles of interconnecting trails for backpacking and horseback riding. The Observation Trail is of average difficulty, but comes with the warning to trail-goers that the rocks along the trail can become slippery and dangerous when wet, according to the national forest website.

Saline County Sheriff Keith Brown reminded visitors to wear appropriate shoes and clothing and bring water and a fully charged cell phone when exploring the area, reports NBC.

"This is a wilderness area and there is wildlife in the area, that includes snakes," he said in a statement. "It takes awhile for first responders to arrive to that park and even longer to locate someone in the park."

Funeral arrangements are being made with Lindsey Funeral Home in Paducah, reports WPSD.

 

Melissa Riley
(Photo : WPSD)
Saline County deputies say 37-year-old Melissa Riley (shown here) died after falling approximately 100 feet near the Table Rock formation Wednesday morning in the Garden of the Gods wilderness area in Illinois.

 

 

 

 

Tags : Garden of Gods, Kentucky Woman Falls, Shawnee National Forest, Melissa Riley, Illinois News, Garden of the Gods Wilderness, woman who died hiking, hiking trails