Body of missing hiker found in New Hampshire | Local News

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CONCORD, NH — A Massachusetts woman who disappeared while on a weekend hike in New Hampshire was found dead Wednesday on what would have been her 20th birthday.

Emily Sotelo, of Westford, Mass., had planned to hike three peaks in the White Mountains on Sunday. Officials said her mother dropped her off before dawn at a campsite near Franconia Notch and alerted authorities when she did not return by late afternoon.

Fish and Game officers and volunteers from more than a dozen search and rescue teams spent the next few days combing the area, using planes and scent dogs. They found tracks and items belonging to Sotelo at the source of Lafayette Creek on Tuesday afternoon, but that night they described their efforts as a recovery mission rather than a rescue.

Sotelo’s body was found on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette in Franconia at 11:15 a.m., according to Fish and Game. An Army National Guard helicopter brought her to nearby Cannon Mountain ski area.

Officials said Sotelo was close to achieving her goal of hiking New Hampshire’s 48 peaks above 4,000 feet before she turned 20, but was unfortunately unprepared for the snow. deep and to the high winds of Sunday. She wore a light jacket, hiking sneakers and athletic pants over long underwear.

“Weather conditions Sunday night were single digit temperatures, winds 40 to 60 miles per hour, blowing snow, and she was not dressed for those temperatures,” Fish and Game Maj said. David Walsh told WMUR-TV. “It’s extreme conditions and then she got off the track.”

Sotelo was a sophomore in biochemistry and chemical biology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. In a letter to students, Vice Provost GL Black said Sotelo had become an active member of the community since transferring from the College of William & Mary and was a leader in an organization working to reduce substance abuse on campus. .

Her parents told reporters she was an experienced hiker, but hadn’t done much winter hiking. A woman who answered the phone at their home on Wednesday declined to comment on their behalf.

Walsh said Sotelo’s death should serve as a warning to all hikers.

“Be ready for the unexpected, be ready with knowledge,” he said. “Know the weather conditions, dress for the weather, have extra clothes, have extra food, water, headlamp, map and compass.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Body of missing hiker found in New Hampshire | Local News

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