Vigil for ASU student killed in rappelling accident

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A candlelight vigil at "A" Mountain Monday night paid tribute to the life of an ASU student killed in a rappelling accident.

21 year old Katelyn Conrad was a member of the Arizona State University Outdoors Club.

She was rappelling near the Salt River Saturday when her equipment failed and she fell 125 feet to her death. 

"They're the nicest, closest family. The parents have supported these kids, and time invested with them,  and then to lose it all like that in a moment is just tragic," said Mike York, who attended the vigil.

Some 200 people took the hearty hike to the saddle of "A" Mountain to say goodbye to the girl who loved nature and being in the great outdoors.

"She was a fabulous person. Loved outdoors, loved being around people. She was just incredible in the classroom; all-around amazing student," said friend Joseph Esquivel.

"It's absolutely tragic. I've gone rappelling myself and it's crazy that she passed away that way," said Clay Robertson.

Music played as the candles were lit, shining brightly on a dark mountain. People came with cards, posters, pictures and flowers in memory of their friend.

"She's an engineering student. I know she came from a great family. She was an incredible woman," said Esquivel.

Conrad's friends, fellow students, and friends of the family took time on "A" mountain to remember a life full of zest lost to the outdoors where she spent so much time.

"The family's great, and they need as much support as they can get, because the situation is dire. It's incredible that this happened to anyone," said Esquivel.

Conrad was the daughter of a longtime Phoenix Police lieutenant.

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MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. -- A 20-year-old Arizona State University student fell to her death Saturday while rappelling in the Tonto National Forest, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Katelyn Conrad, the daughter of a longtime Phoenix police lieutenant, was rappelling in the Coon Bluff area near the Salt River around 11 a.m. when she reportedly fell 120 feet.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Flowers said it appears she had an equipment failure. He was not sure if she had any previous rappelling experience.

Flowers said Conrad was with a large group of ASU students.

"There was only one or two people that were actually with her at the time of the fall," he said. "Most everybody else just heard screams and then came to the scene from the area."

Rescue crews have recovered her body.

The incident is still under investigation.

"The entire Phoenix Police Department wishes to express their condolences to the Conrad family," Police Chief Joe Yahner said in a statement Sunday. "Katelyn Conrad suddenly lost her life yesterday in a rapelling accident in the East Valley. Her father, Lt. Robert Conrad, has been with the Phoenix Police Department for nearly 27 years. At this time of grieving, the family has asked everyone to respect their privacy."