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A family's plea to stay safe at Tanque Verde Falls during monsoon

21-year-old Hunter Miller died August 2015
Posted at 9:58 PM, Aug 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 08:29:56-04

Nearly three years after a young Tucson man died at Tanque Verde Falls, his parents want more done to alert visitors of the dangers during monsoon storms. 

Tanque Verde Falls - while beautiful, can be dangerous after monsoon storms.

Jennifer and Michael Miller know this, because it's where they lost their son, Hunter, three years ago this week.

"He was invincible," Jennifer Hunter Miller said.

On August 11, Hunter and a group of friends went to Tanque Verde Falls to jump off high rocks into the deep pools. The 21-year-old had done this before, but earlier storms that day brought the water flow to an unsafe level to swim in.

"It crept up on him, and the water kept coming faster, and faster, and faster, and before they knew it, it was on them," Jennifer Hunter Miller said. "And Hunter made the fatal jump."

The Millers lost their only child that day.

Their heartbreak - propelling their movement on education and prevention. They created Hunter's Patrol, a website that honors their son and the 32 other people who have lost their lives at Tanque Verde Falls. 

At the site, the Millers want warning signs to show the number of people killed at the spot, and to signal high water levels. 

"Have a siren that goes off, or somehow a red light flashing or something to warn people that it's dangerous," Michael Miller said.

During monsoon, they stress that visitors should know parts of the falls are very steep and water levels could be dangerously high. 

Here's how to check water flow levels at Tanque Verde Falls:

On the anniversary of Hunter's death, August 11, the Millers will honor Hunter the same way they always do. 

"What we usually do is come down here and throw sunflowers into the stream," Michael Miller said. "Because he loved sunflowers. And we do too. We let them drift off in the stream."