NATCHITOCHES PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office has released more details about the Shreveport Cultural Resource Analyst who died from a possible heat stroke on her first day on the job in the Kisatchie National Forest Monday.
Kaylen Gehrke, 24, of Longview, Texas, was working on an archaeological survey with two co-workers when she became ill around 2:14 p.m. Monday. First responders found the group on Forest Service Road #321 Bayou Camp Road off of the Longleaf Vista in Kisatchie National Forest. Her co-workers performed CPR on her until help arrived.
EMS attempted to revive her, but Gehrke died at the scene. Natchitoches Parish Coroner Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton says there were no apparent signs of foul play, and he believes her death may be heat-related. Her body will be transported to Shreveport for an autopsy.
Monday was reportedly Gehrke’s first day on the job.
On Tuesday deputies spoke with her family and learned that she received her bachelor’s degree in forensics anthropology and a minor in Spanish-English bilingual from the University of Montana. Gehrke had recently moved to Longview, Texas with her parents to advance her career.
Her sister, Kylie Gehrke, told deputies that she was a kind sweet person that cared for others, humble, loved the outdoors and was very excited about her new career in anthropology research. A GoFund Me has been set up for Gehkre’s remembrance.
The National Weather Service reported temperature for Natchitoches was 98 degrees with a heat index of over 107 degrees at the time of her death. Natchitoches Parish has been under several continuous heat advisories.
Deputies and the NWS warn that heat-related illnesses are one of the leading causes of death and request the public drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun, and check on relatives and neighbors. They also warn young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.