Then in March 2017 the 24-year-old VanHecke was studying at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, when she began planning her Spring Break. Unlike many other students, she decided on a cheap option, and her plan seemed simple: to drive some 1,000 miles west to the Grand Canyon.
There, VanHecke intended to visit Havasu Falls, a popular waterfall accessible only by a 20-mile round hike to the canyon floor. So on March 11 she posted her plans online, packed some water and non-perishable food and set off on what she thought would be just another adventure.
After spending the night in Carlsbad, New Mexico, VanHecke left the following day to drive to the Grand Canyon. In order to navigate, she entered Havasu Falls Trail Head in Google Maps and began traveling down the highway. But at some point in the Havasupai Reservation, the GPS apparently instructed her to turn right onto a dirt road.