Foot found floating in Yellowstone hot spring belonged to 70-year-old L.A. man

The Abyss Pool, a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park
Part of a foot found in a shoe floating in the Abyss Pool in Yellowstone National Park this year belonged to a 70-year-old man from Los Angeles who died in July, park officials said Thursday. They don’t suspect foul play in the man’s death.
(Diane Renkin / National Park Service)

Part of a human foot found floating in a shoe in Yellowstone National Park’s Abyss Pool about three months ago belonged to a 70-year-old Los Angeles man who died in an unspecified incident, authorities said Thursday.

In the last three weeks, DNA analysis matched the foot to Il Hun Ro, park officials said. His family has been notified.

On Aug. 16, a park staffer found the body part in the Abyss Pool, a well-known hot spring in Yellowstone’s West Thumb Geyser Basin in northwestern Wyoming, the National Park Service said.


“The investigation determined, to the best of our knowledge, that an unwitnessed incident involving one individual happened on the morning of July 31 … and no foul play occurred,” park officials said. “Based on a lack of evidence, the circumstances surrounding the death of Ro remain unknown.”

The National Park Service’s investigation has concluded, and officials did not have additional information to share Thursday.

National Park Service asks guests to please not to lick the toads. The hallucinogenic toxin emitted by the Sonoran Desert toad can make you sick.

Nov. 9, 2022

The Abyss Pool plunges more than 50 feet and is one of the deepest hot springs in Yellowstone, according to the park service. Its temperature is about 140 degrees.

Yellowstone officials said visitors should use extreme caution around hot springs and other thermal features, and should stay on boardwalks and trails.

The ground around hydrothermal areas of the park is thin and fragile, and scalding water lies just below the surface.


Visitors have been severely burned and killed in Yellowstone’s geothermal areas.

A Yellowstone visitor has been hospitalized and could face charges after falling into a thermal pool at Old Faithful Geyser, park officials said Monday.

Sept. 30, 2019

On Oct. 4, 2021, a 20-year-old woman from Washington suffered significant burns from her shoulders to her feet when she tried to rescue her dog from Maiden’s Grave Spring, park officials said. The water in the spring reaches 200 degrees.

The woman was taken to a burn center, and the dog died.

Weeks earlier, on Sept. 16, a 19-year-old woman from Rhode Island suffered second- and third-degree burns to 5% of her body in the Old Faithful area.

And on June 7, 2016, 23-year-old Colin Scott of Portland, Ore., walked off a boardwalk, slipped and fell into a hot spring at Norris Geyser Basin and died, officials said.