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Body of hiker lost found, officials say

By Arielle Mitropoulos

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    FRANCONIA, New Hampshire (WMUR) — The body of a hiker who was last seen Sunday morning was found Wednesday, Fish and Game officers said.

Officials said the body of Emily Sotelo, who would have turned 20 Wednesday, was found just after 11 a.m. on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette in Franconia.

Officials said tracks and items belonging to Sotelo were found at the headwaters of Lafayette Brook. As a plan was being made to concentrate search efforts in that area, her body was found at 11:15 a.m.

A New Hampshire Army National Guard helicopter was able to help bring her body out of the area.

Sotelo was dropped off Sunday morning at Lafayette Place campground near Franconia Notch and had not been seen since. She had planned to hike three peaks that day.

Officials said the search for Sotelo began Sunday evening and lasted through the night after a family member reported her missing. Searchers were hampered that night by high winds, cold temperatures and blowing snow.

Several agencies assisted in the search, and other hikers said they were keeping an eye out for her.

Officials said hiking trails in the White Mountains can be treacherous, particularly in the fall and winter.

“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. “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.”

They said hikers should also be aware of their limitations and know when to turn around and try again another day.

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