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West Ranch graduate’s death ruled accidental

Posted: February 6, 2013 5:26 p.m.
Updated: February 6, 2013 5:26 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 died after she collapsed during a hike through the Arizona desert in July died of hyperthermia and heat exposure, Nevada coroners said Wednesday.

Nikki Richter, 22, was hiking with her boyfriend and another man in Havasu’s SARA Park in July when she collapsed, Lt. Richie Sloma of the Lake Havasu Police Department said at the time.

“Her cause of death is listed as ‘A’ complications of hyperthermia and ‘B’ prolonged environmental heat exposure,” said a spokeswoman for the Clark County Coroner’s office.

Investigators concluded her death was accidental, she said.

Hyperthermia occurs when body temperature rises dramatically.

When paramedics found Richter, she was unresponsive but breathing with a temperature of 109 degrees, police said at the time.

Richter’s boyfriend, Korey Stapp, carried her about a half mile from the desert, they said.

Richter graduated from West Ranch in 2008 and, according to friends, had been preparing to start college at the time of her death.
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