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Former West Ranch High student dies in Arizona desert

Nikki Richter succombs to heat exhaustion while hiking

Posted: July 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 24, 2012 9:55 p.m.

Former West Ranch student Nikki Richter, right, died of heat exhaustion in the Arizona desert while hiking with her boyfriend Korey Stapp, left. Photo from

A former West Ranch High School cheerleader who recently moved to Lake Havasu died of apparent heat exhaustion after she collapsed during a hike through the Arizona desert, officials said Tuesday.

Nikki Richter, 22, was hiking with her boyfriend, Korey Stapp, 23, and another man in Havasu’s SARA Park on Friday when she collapsed, Lt. Richie Sloma of the Lake Havasu Police Department said Tuesday.

“We’re treating this as an accident,” he said. “Her body temperature was 109F.”

Paramedics dispatched from Lake Havasu found her unresponsive but breathing, an apparent victim of heat exhaustion.

Coroner’s officials were investigating the death, a spokeswoman said.

Stapp, who carried Richter about a half mile from the desert with the other man, also suffered some degree of dehydration, according to police. Richter was taken to Havasu Regional Medical Center.

Richter graduated from West Ranch in 2008 and, according to friends, was preparing to start college in the fall.


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