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Body found in Idaho is missing Minnesota hiker

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Jon Francis
Jon Francis, of Stillwater, Minnesota, disappeared a year ago while climbing the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. His body was found this week.
Photo courtesy of the Jon Francis Foundation

(AP) - The family of a hiker from Stillwater who disappeared a year ago in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho said Thursday that remains found earlier this week are those of Jon Francis.

      "We have worked long and hard to find Jon and bring him down from the mountain," said the hiker's father, David Francis, in a news release. "After we lay Jon to rest, we can move on to the next phase of our mission by spreading our hard-earned lessons."

      The family noted the identification was preliminary and based on personal possessions found in the area. The sheriff's office in Custer County, Idaho, said a news release on the case was planned for later Thursday.

      The family said the remains were found Tuesday afternoon by mountain guides it hired to search gullies on the north face of the Grand Mogul in the Sawtooth Mountains.

      On Wednesday, teams supervised by the Custer County sheriff recovered the remains.

      Jon Francis was a counselor at a Bible camp in the area when he disappeared on July 15, 2006. Prior to taking the camp job, he was a youth minister at Ascension Lutheran Church in Harrisville, Utah.

      Friends have said he told his co-workers that he planned to climb the 9,733-foot Grand Mogul that day. Searchers said he made it to the top and signed the log book, but he didn't make it back down.

      Since Francis disappeared, the family created the Jon Francis Foundation, aimed at instructing hikers and climbers with basic safety and survival information.

                   (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)