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Missing hiker’s body is recovered

The Associated Press
Published: 11/23/2022 9:24:38 PM
Modified: 11/23/2022 9:24:40 PM

FRANCONIA, N.H. — A Massachusetts woman who disappeared during 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 campground near Franconia Notch and alerted authorities when she failed to return by late afternoon.

Fish and Game officers and volunteers from more than a dozen search and rescue teams spent the next several days combing the area, using aircraft and scent dogs. By Tuesday night, officials described their efforts as a recovery mission rather than 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 the nearby Cannon Mountain ski area.

Officials said Sotelo was close to reaching her goal of hiking New Hampshire’s 48 peaks above 4,000 feet before she turned 20 but was woefully unprepared for the snow and wind on Sunday. She was wearing a light jacket, hiking sneakers and exercise pants over long underwear.

Her parents told reporters she was an experienced hiker, but had not done much winter hiking.




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