KY woman identified who died after fall at Garden of the Gods

Sheriff issues warning after death at Garden of Gods

KARBERS RIDGE, IL (KFVS) - A Kentucky woman who fell to her death at the Garden of the Gods on Wednesday, June 8 has been identified.

According to Saline County Coroner Jerry Doug Watson, the woman was identified as 37-year-old Melissa A. Riley of Paducah, Kentucky.

He said arrangements have been made with the Lindsey Funeral Home in Paducah.

The incident is still under investigation by the Saline County Coroner's Office, Saline County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Forest Service.

According to the Saline County Sheriff's Office, nothing in the incident appears to be suspicious.

Saline County dispatch received a 911 call at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday.

Saline County deputies, Saline County EMS and Equality Fire Department were then dispatched to the Garden of the Gods.

Deputies say Riley fell approximately 100 feet near the Table Rock formation at the Garden of the Gods. She was pronounced dead at the scene by the Saline County coroner.

Saline County Sheriff Keith Brown wants to remind other hikers about precautions you should take while at the Garden of the Gods, which is a wilderness area with several hiking trails and out cropping of rock formations.

Brown said it is a good idea to wear appropriate shoes and clothing, bring water and a fully charged cell phone.

He also encouraged hikers to let someone know where you are going and what time you should be returning.

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

Brown points out cell service can also be difficult to get.

"The Garden of the Gods area doesn't have good cellular coverage, so being dependent on a cell phone is not always an option. Bring a whistle or something that might get some ones attention if you become lost," Sheriff Brown said.

Saline County 911 does have the ability to receive test messaging for 911, and has used this technology previously to aided lost hikers out of the park as well.

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

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