Emily Sotelo, a 19-year-old hiker, was found dead around 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 23, 2022. Her body was found on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette after she went missing on November 20, 2022.
After extensive searches over three consecutive days, Sotelo’s body was found in the mountains of New Hampshire. Items belonging to Emily were found on the trail, which eventually led searchers to her body. At the time of her disappearance, Emily Sotelo was wearing a brown jacket and sweatpants.
The exact cause of death was initially unknown to the authorities. They later came to believe that Emily died from exposure to the harsh climatic conditions.
Massachusetts resident Emily Sotelo was found dead on a hiking trail
Emily was reportedly last seen by her mother, Olivera, at the Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia at 5am Sunday. The teenager was supposed to hike a popular hiking trail in the area. Olivera said the teenager had previous experience hiking in the summer but had not done so in the cool climate.
The search task was conducted by multiple agencies including the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team, Mountain Rescue Service, Lakes Region Search and Rescue, Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team, New England K-9, the New Hampshire Army National Guard, Civil Air Patrol and the White Mountain National Forest.
NH Fish and Game Conservation released a statement saying searchers spent two days searching for the teenager before finding items that belonged to her. Emily’s tracks and some of her belongings were found near the headwaters of Lafayette Brook.
The statement added that they were planning to focus their search on the area on Wednesday when they found the teen’s body around 11:15 a.m. They also noted that due to the low temperatures, snow, and high winds, searchers faced many problems in their search for Emily Sotelo.
After finding Emily’s body, authorities reportedly had to call in a New Hampshire National Guard helicopter to retrieve her.
David Walsh, a major with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement, said that when hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected.
He added that hikers need to know the weather conditions and dress appropriately for the weather. Walsh said hikers should have extra clothing, food and water, as well as a headlamp, compass and map to stay safe. He also stated that hikers should understand their limitations and turn back whenever necessary.
Sotelo was a sophomore at Vanderbilt University
According to WSMV-TV, Emily Sotelo was a student at Vanderbilt University. She studied biochemistry and chemical biology. Sotelo was a resident of Westford, Massachusetts. Emily reportedly went to New Hampshire with her mother to spend Thanksgiving.
GL Black, Vice Provost and Dean of Studies at Vanderbilt University, said Emily is an active member of the university community. She was the Community Service Chair for the DORE Initiative and the Public Relations Chair for the Big Dore Lil Dore.
Sotelo’s mother described her as someone who enjoyed hiking. According to Emily Sotelo’s mother to the Globe, the teenager had four or five mountains left to tick off her list.