The Massachusetts hiker who disappeared on a popular New Hampshire mountain trail was found dead Wednesday morning.
The body of Emily Sotelo, 20, was recovered after an exhaustive three-day search where rescuers battled bone-chilling temperatures and high winds, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division.
Sotelo went on the hike along Franconia Ridge by herself on Sunday and never returned, officials said.
A family member reported her missing and New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement began a search that evening.
Multiple agencies located tracks and items that belonged to Sotelo Tuesday near the headwaters of Lafayette Brook, according to the officials.
Her body was found at 11:15 a.m. on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette and then was moved by a New Hampshire Army National Guard helicopter to the Cannon Mountain Ski Area, NH Fish and Game said.
She was dropped off Sunday morning at the Lafayette Place Campground, officials originally said.
Sotelo was a sophomore at Vanderbilt University where she majored in biochemistry and chemical biology, a college spokesperson told The Tennessean.
The Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, which was part of the effort, said Monday in an update that more than 60 ground searchers were combing the area with the help of helicopters when the weather permits.
“The biggest lessons learned in a tragedy like this is when you’re hiking in New Hampshire, especially in the White Mountains, be prepared for the unexpected,” said Fish and Game Maj. David Walsh, according to WMUR.
“Be prepared with knowledge. Know the weather conditions. Dress for the weather conditions. Have extra clothes. Have extra food, water. Have a headlamp map, a compass.”
An official cause of death was not reported Wednesday.