Hiker missing in sub-zero temperatures two days after solo trek

(FRANCONIA, N.H.) — A 20-year-old hiker has not been seen in more than two days in zero degree temperatures after vanishing during a hike and not returning from her route.

Emily Sotelo was dropped off on Sunday morning at Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia, New Hampshire, with the intent of hiking Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, according to a social media post by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division and the anti-poaching program Operation Game Thief.

“Sotelo is described at 5’3, 115 lbs, brown hair, blue eyes,” officials said. “She was last seen wearing a brown jacket, and exercise pants.”

Three search teams were sent out on Sunday night when Sotelo didn’t make her anticipated return. The Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, which coordinated the initial search and rescue efforts, said in a statement that the “temperature along the ridge [where she was hiking was] about zero, [and] 30 to 40 mph winds [made] the chill factor -30” degrees. The elevation of the mountain range is more than 5,000 feet at its highest parts.

As of Monday night, Sotelo still had not been found and the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team said in a statement that there were “over 60 ground searchers, plus air support and incident command, representing multiple governmental agencies and NH SAR teams.”

“[We] wish we had good news to report, but there is no news,” the team added. “The missing hiker has not been located as of 5:00 pm EST … we will all be out again tomorrow.”

New Hampshire conservation officers are also seeking the public’s help in locating Sotelo. Any hikers who may have encountered her along the intended route should notify the New Hampshire State Police Dispatch at (603) 271-1170.

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