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Ranger Killed In Rainier Park Was 'Living Her Dream'

An undated photo provided by Mount Rainier National Park shows park Ranger Margaret Anderson, who was killed Sunday.
An undated photo provided by Mount Rainier National Park shows park Ranger Margaret Anderson, who was killed Sunday.

"Slain Ranger Was Living Her Dream."

That's the headline at the website of The Seattle Times, which profiles 34-year-old Margaret Anderson, who was shot to death Sunday in Mount Rainier National Park.

New paragraph at 2:25 p.m. ET: The hunt for Anderson's killer may be over. According to The Associated Press, "authorities say the body of an Iraq war veteran suspected in [her] slaying ... was believed to have been found dead in the park Monday. A search had been underway for 24-year-old Benjamin Colton Barnes, who was also a suspect in a shooting incident Sunday near Seattle that left four people injured. Barnes, who authorities say is a military veteran, was thought to be heavily armed. The AP adds that "he apparently died after trudging into chest-deep snow while trying to elude snow-shoe wearing SWAT team members and other police who were on his trail."

Anderson, who authorities say was killed during what began as a routine traffic stop in the park, "and her husband, Eric, were living their dream, finally working as U.S. park rangers in the same national park while raising a young family," relatives told the Seattle newspaper. Their daughter Anna turns 4-years-old on Feb. 14. Her sister Katie, the Times says, turns 2 in May.

The Andersons met when they were rangers at Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park. They married in 2005 and were able to get jobs at the same park — Rainier — about four years ago.

Margaret Anderson's father, Lutheran Rev. Paul Kritsch of Scotch Plains, N.J., tells Seattle's KING-TV that "his daughter always had an interest in wildlife and the outdoors and wanted to help people and that's what finally led her to being a federal park ranger. 'The community has lost a friend, somebody who cared about her job, cared about the people, cared about their safety, and wanted to make sure that everybody was having a safe time when they came to the park,' he said."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.