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Missing teen hiker found frozen to death after conquering 48 peak goal

Emily Sotelo was dropped off on a hiking trail and didn’t return when her family expected her (Photo: Facebook)

A teenage girl who completed her goal of hiking all 48 peaks in a US state before she was 20 was found frozen to death on a trail.

Emily Sotelo, 19, went for a solo walk last Sunday morning and didn’t come back when her family expected her. The body of Sotelo, who turns 20 this week, was found on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

Rescuers recovered her body after a three-day search in freezing temperatures. Her friends who paid tribute to her said that she accomplished her goal of hiking, but that she had a tragic end.

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“She climbed the three peaks she wanted to reach, and unfortunately, she missed out on the role, which is hard to find on a windy day or just in general,” said her friend, Brian Garvey, according to the Daily Mail.

Emily Sotelo plans to hike Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume in the White Mountains

Emily Sotelo plans to hike Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume in the White Mountains (Photo: New Hampshire Game and Fish Law Enforcement)

This has happened before in the exact same area I moved out of in 2021.

“Fortunately, these guys managed to get rid of the ice by defrosting their cell phones under their armpits and search and rescue (search and rescue) found them before they froze.”

Sotelo’s mother drove her to the trailhead at the Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia. Police said they plan to climb Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume in the White Mountains.

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Search and rescue teams went out to search for Sotelo Sunday night, when temperatures on the hills dropped to around zero.

Search and rescue teams searched for Emily Sotelo for three days before finding her body

Search and rescue teams searched for Emily Sotelo for three days before finding her body (Photo: WMUR)

“Due to severe weather conditions, the search began Sunday evening and (through) the night,” the Division of Fish and Game Law Enforcement and Operation Game Thief said Wednesday. “The researchers were hampered by high winds, cold temperatures and snow blowing.”

On Tuesday, researchers found traces and some of Sotelo’s belongings in the headwaters of Lafayette Brook. They discovered her body on Wednesday morning. The cause of her death has not yet been released.

A hiker who knew Sotelo, Jessie Callahan, described her as “sweet and so happy to be out in the woods”.

“She was young and ready to put up with anything,” Callahan wrote on Facebook.

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