Missing Idaho Woman Found Dead In Car In Teton National Park River

An Idaho woman who disappeared June 2 while driving home from Buffalo, Wyoming, has been found dead in her car in a Teton National Park river. The car was found Sunday, and officials confirmed Tuesday Laura Lane was inside.

Jen Kocher

July 09, 20245 min read

Laura Lane went missing near Grand Teton National Park on June 2, 2024. Her car was found in a river in the park Sunday, along with her body.
Laura Lane went missing near Grand Teton National Park on June 2, 2024. Her car was found in a river in the park Sunday, along with her body. (Courtesy Photo)

The family of Laura Lane, an Idaho woman who went missing in Wyoming more than a month ago, are mourning her loss Tuesday after she and her vehicle were recovered from a river in Grand Teton National Park.

Lane, 54, had been missing for more than a month. She disappeared June 2 while making the roughly 12-hour drive home from Buffalo, Wyoming, to Nampa, Idaho, when her digital trail ended near Moran Junction in Teton County.

Details about what happened are still forthcoming from law enforcement, but Grace Lane, Laura’s older sister, said that Lane’s red Dodge Dart was found in a river by a local fisherman Sunday and that the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and other entities had been working to extract the vehicle over the past two days.

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office referred Cowboy State Daily to Grand Teton National Park where Lane and the car were found. Jeremy Barnum, the park’s chief of staff, did not respond to a request for comment by the time this story was published.

Lane’s daughter Jen posted on social media that she was told that Lane died instantly and that there was no pain or struggle. The family thanked authorities for their efforts in recovering Lane.

Teton County Coroner Brent Blue confirmed that Lane was deceased and said that the cause and manner of her death are still pending.

Trail Goes Dark

Lane had been living and working at a hotel in Buffalo for three weeks prior to returning to her full-time job at Symms Fruit Ranch in Nampa that was set to begin June 10.

Prior to leaving Buffalo on June 2, Lane had shared her Google password with her best friend, Angelina Ramirez, who was able to access her account and track her journey home via Google maps.

Lane last used her cash app to fill her gas tank in Buffalo, texting Ramirez to say that she thought she’d be home by 8 or 9 that night.

Just over two hours later, Ramirez again tracked Lane stopping at the Fast Lane gas station in Shoshoni at 10:19 a.m., where she rested for five minutes before traveling on.

She later arrived in Moran Junction in Teton County at 12:49 p.m., which was her last known contact.

The next morning when Ramirez, who lives next to Lane, noticed that her friend wasn’t home, she immediately called police in Idaho and Wyoming when she didn’t answer her phone.

Her daughter, Jen Lane, and sister, Grace Lane, immediately knew that something was wrong when Lane didn’t respond to their repeated calls and texts because it wasn’t like her to go off the grid and not communicate with friends and family for any reason, especially while traveling.

Laura Lane went missing somewhere near Grand Teton National Park on June 2, 2024.
Laura Lane went missing somewhere near Grand Teton National Park on June 2, 2024. (Courtesy Photo)

Misinformation Detours Investigation?

Lane’s family said ordeal has been excruciating, starting with misinformation on behalf of Caldwell, Idaho, law enforcement.

A Caldwell police officer initially reported to news outlets and a Teton County Sheriff deputy that Lane’s license plate had been picked up by city license plate readers June 7 and June 10 in Nampa and Caldwell, a neighboring city within the same county.

This turned out not to be true. Lane’s plate had been picked up in early May, not June, confirmed Carmen Boeger, community engagement coordinator for the city of Nampa.

It took several calls from Grace to get the matter sorted out. It’s not clear how much that misstep hindered search efforts for Lane in Wyoming. The Teton County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t responded to repeated requests for updates and comment.

In an earlier interview, Sgt. Jesse Willcox of the Teton County Sheriff’s Office told Cowboy State Daily that he checked the desolate area in which Laura’s phone last pinged after being notified by Idaho police without finding any trace of her or her vehicle.

He likewise reported Laura’s information to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks.

Huge Heart

Meanwhile, Lane’s family is grieving her loss as the stress of the past several weeks compounded into the news Tuesday that she had been found deceased.

Grace, who had been serving as a family liaison with law enforcement, had been carefully following rescue efforts over the past two days and described Tuesday simply as a “Sad day in the neighborhood.”

In an earlier interview, she described the stress and worry of trying to find answers into what happened to her sister.

Her daughter, Jen, described Lane as a “loving person who would rip her shirt off to give it to you” and would “feed her last bite to someone in need.”

Ramirez, likewise, was taking the loss hard, saying how much she loved Lane and appreciated her true and loyal friendship.

“She was strong and fierce,” Jen said. “This isn’t the outcome we wanted in any way, but we are grateful to have answers.”

Jen Kocher can be reached at jen@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Jen Kocher

Features, Investigative Reporter