Bodies of Couple Recovered Near Yosemite’s Waterfall

Last week, a tragic event occurred near Angel Falls, close to Yosemite National Park in California. The Madera County Sheriff’s Department reported the discovery of two bodies, later identified as Monica Ledesma, 34, and James Hall, 35. The two were in a relationship.

The incident began when rescuers found Monica’s body on Wednesday after receiving a report of an unresponsive woman in the water near Bass Lake. James’s belongings were discovered nearby, and his body was soon recovered as well. According to a fundraising page set up for James’s family, he died a hero trying to save Monica.

At a vigil held for the couple, James’s mother described it as “maybe the hardest day of our lives,” highlighting the deep love between the two. Nancy O’Hara, a friend of the couple, shared touching words, saying, “Not only were they kind and considerate, but they also took care of both the young and the old in our community.”

Monica was a mother of two children, an 8-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter. Her mother expressed deep sorrow over the loss. Sheriff Tyson Pogue extended his condolences to the families, praising the search and rescue teams for their diligent and respectful work under tough conditions.

The sheriff’s department cautioned hikers about the deceptive safety of areas like Angel Falls, which are near parking lots and trails. They warned that these locations could give a false sense of security. The rocks around the water can be extremely slippery, even when dry. The swift and cold water can quickly become dangerous, leading to serious injuries or fatalities if caution isn’t taken. They advised always wearing life vests and bringing life preservers when near rivers and streams.

The sheriff’s department didn’t explain the exact causes of death for Monica and James. However, they stressed the importance of being cautious around water, highlighting that cold water can sap body heat quickly, causing loss of movement in limbs and increasing the risk of drowning.

This tragic incident serves as a somber reminder of the dangers that can lurk in even the most beautiful natural spots. It underscores the need for vigilance and preparedness when enjoying the great outdoors.