Woman dies from apparent heat related illness on first day of job in Kisatchie

Kaylen Gehrke, 24, formerly of Missoula, Montana, and currently of Longview, Texas, is survived by her parents, Ronald and Betsy Gehrke, and sister, Kyllie Gehrke. She was a 2016 graduate of Golden High School, Golden, Colo., and a 2019 graduate of the University of Montana where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in forensic anthropology with a minor in Spanish. Her parents say she had no previous health issues. She moved here to take the job in Kisatchie.


A 24-year-old archaeological worker for Shreveport Cultural Resource Analysts collapsed and died from a sudden medical event Monday afternoon in the Kisatchie National Forest-Kisatchie District.
NPSO deputies, Fire Protection District #4 First Responders, US Forest Service Rangers and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS responded at 2:14 p.m.to NATCOM 911 Center reports of a female hiker possibly suffering from heat exhaustion or a stroke on Forest Service Road #321 Bayou Camp Road off the Longleaf Vista in Kisatchie National Forest.
Bayou Camp Road is approximately 7 miles south of La. Hwy 117 off the Longleaf Vista Road, then an additional 4 miles on Bayou Camp Road to the scene.

NPSO photo

While units were still responding, NATCOM 911 Center learned two coworkers were performing continuous CPR on the patient. EMS then attempted to continue resuscitation efforts but determined the patient to be deceased.
Kaylen Gehrke, 24, formerly of Missoula, Montana, and currently of Longview, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene by Natchitoches Parish Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton.
Clanton stated there did not appear to be any signs of foul play, however, the body was transported to Shreveport for an autopsy to determine the manner of death, which may be heat related.
This was Gehrke’s first day on the job. She and two coworkers were conducting an archaeological survey of Kisatchie National Forest for the US Forest Service when she suddenly became ill.
At 2:15 p.m., NWS Shreveport reported the temperature for Natchitoches was 98 degrees with a heat index over 107.
Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9-1-1.

Sympathies to the family, friends and coworkers.